ADRi Virtual International Conference: “A New Regional Order: Effective Alignment through Strategic Partnerships”

Pubmat_14 July 2020

Four years have passed since the Philippines legally won the South China Sea arbitration case which invalidated China’s claim to historic rights over resources within the West Philippine Sea. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, however, China continues to assert its claim in the disputed waters in the South China Sea while disregarding the legal victory of the Philippines. The award, however, has been internationally recognized and used as a basis for rightful claims over the South China Sea, and to exercise freedom of navigation. Vietnam has sought to take action through legal means with its overlapping claims with China using the award as its basis. Most recently, Indonesia shunned the historical claims of China by citing the Award in its diplomatic protest regarding the Natuna Islands. Naval powers, such as the US, Japan and Australia, have actively recognized this Award with their freedom of navigation and overflight operations emphasizing the international customary norm and undermining China’s concept of it and its maritime rights in the South China Sea.

With the global pandemic, the region expected China to tone down on its coercive behavior in the contested waters to address the public health emergency. However, China utilized this opportunity for its maritime expansionist agenda over the South China Sea. It has unilaterally declared administrative districts over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands in its overlapping claims with Vietnam to push for de facto control. China has also launched two research stations on the reclaimed islands in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) further expanding surveillance and access for research vessels and Chinese Coast Guards (CCGs). On the more coercive side, the BRP Conrado Yap (PS39) crossed paths with a Chinese warship within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) where a radio challenge and gunpoint incident unfolded. In addition, Australia and the US had to intervene in a standoff between Chinese vessels and Malaysian oil exploration vessels in the Malaysian EEZ which lasted for months.

Through its comprehensive use of national power and political instruments, China’s pursuit of a new normal does not equate to dominance through the use of force but through the normalization of tolerance towards their hard power projection and the instigation of a defeatist attitude towards their sharp power capabilities which cuts across both traditional and non-traditional security.

In line with this, the Stratbase ADR Institute has teamed up with leading international experts and scholars discussed the need for strategic alignment to push a rules-based international order in a virtual international conference entitled, “A New Regional Order: Effective Alignment through Strategic Partnerships”, held on 14 July 2020, Tuesday, from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm (Manila Time).

The conference served as a platform to foster discussion about the need to strengthen existing regional bodies, and the increasing role of smaller and middle powers in the context of China’s growing influence in the region.

Program

Welcoming Remarks
PROF. DINDO MANHIT
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Opening Remarks
AMB. ALBERT DEL ROSARIO
Chairperson, Stratbase ADR Institute

Keynote Address
SEN. PANFILO “PING” LACSON
Chairperson, Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, Senate of the Philippines

The Uncontested Claims Over the West Philippine Sea

MS. MARITES DAÑGUILAN VITUG
Author, “Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China” (2018)

Contextualizing China in the Current Order

DR. MATTHEW KROENIG
Deputy Director, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Director,
Global Strategy Initiative;
Professor, Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

DR. RENATO DE CASTRO
Trustee and Program Convenor, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Full Professor, International Studies Department, De La Salle University – Manila

The Discrepancy in China’s “Peaceful Rise” and Neighborhood Diplomacy

MR. RUPERT HAMMOND-CHAMBERS
Managing Director, Defense & Security, BowerGroupAsia;
President, US-Taiwan Business Council;
Member, Board of Directors, Project 2049

DR. MELY CABALLERO-ANTHONY
Professor of International Relations and Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

ASEAN Moving Forward: Institutionalizing Change and Redefining Consensus

MR. MURRAY HIEBERT
Head of Research, BowerGroupAsia;
Non-Resident Senior Associate, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS;
Author, “Under Beijing’s Shadow: Southeast Asia’s China Challenge” (2020)

AMB. NGUYEN VU TUNG
President, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam;
Ambassador-designate to South Korea

MR. AARON CONNELLY
Research Fellow in Southeast Asian Political Change and Foreign Policy,
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS);
Former Director, Southeast Asia Project, Lowy Institute – Australia

Maintaining the Freedom of the Seas in the Indo-Pacific

DR. JAMES KRASKA
Chairman and Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law,
Stockton Center for International Law, US Naval War College;
Visiting Professor of Law, John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization,
Harvard Law School

AMB. KAZUHIDE ISHIKAWA
Adjunct Fellow, Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA);
Former Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines

Rise of the Indo-Pacific: Strength in Collaboration and Minilateralism

PROF. RORY MEDCALF
Head, National Security College, Australia National University;
Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.

DR. CARL THAYER
Southeast Asia Regional Specialist;
Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales – Australia

DR. JAGANNATH PANDA
Research Fellow and Coordinator, East Asia Centre, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), New Delhi;
Series Editor, Routledge Studies on Think Asia;
Author, “India-China Relations: Politics of Resources, Identity and Authority in a Multipolar World Order” (Routledge, 2017);
Author, “China’s Path to Power: Party, Military, and the Politics of State Transition” (Pentagon Press, 2010)

Presentation of Social Weather Stations (SWS) July 2020 Survey Results

DR. MAHAR MANGAHAS
President, Social Weather Stations (SWS)

Closing Remarks
JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO
Former Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Closing Statement
PROF. DINDO MANHIT
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Thank You (14 July 2020)

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