ADRi vTHD: “Reinforcing the 2016 Arbitral Victory: The West Philippine Sea in the Convergence of Strategies”

The Indo-Pacific region and its strategic geographical position have proven that “cohesion in diversity” is possible. States including middle powers such as Japan, Australia, and India have demonstrated their ability to function within a broader, global system despite differences in politics, culture, and development levels. With the higher concentration of economic growth opportunities, the Indo-Pacific has become an increasingly contested area as states continue to pivot their foreign policies to maximize engagement and advance their strategic interests. The inherent plurality of the region has also proven to be timely as the heightened tension between the leading global powers has led to more uncertainties, especially as China continues to pursue its expansionist agenda in the West Philippine Sea and increase its efforts to shape the regional order.

Southeast Asia, whose role has been heavily emphasized by the strategies and policy documents related to the Indo-Pacific, is in the middle of all these important developments. With economic growth and security alliances in the balance, Southeast Asia has continued to echo the need for a long-term regional strategy and multilateral mechanisms in order to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Despite the promising developments of states within and outside the region, however, the sustainability of this strategy relies heavily on legitimate leadership and their ability to maintain the course of its implementation.

Just as how unilateral acts of a state against another are damaging, the lack of reciprocity and continued disregard of evolving security threats is just as damaging. It contributes further to the deterioration of norms and institutions that govern the region. The convergence of security strategies and policies equally demands an alignment of values and vision.

In celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Philippines’ Arbitral Award, the Stratbase ADR Institute organized a virtual international conference entitled, “Reinforcing the 2016 Arbitral Victory: The West Philippine Sea in the Convergence of Strategies”, as part of its 2021 Foreign Policy Forum: Indo-Pacific Discussion Series, where experts and leaders from around the globe will come together and discuss the importance of reinforcing the 2016 arbitral victory and the various security challenges affecting the future of the Indo-Pacific region. The virtual international conference will also serve as a platform to explore the significance of multilateralism and strategic partnerships in maintaining a rules-based international order.


Statement by Stratbase ADR Institute

Opening Remarks
Amb. Albert del Rosario
Chairman, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

Alliance Building in a Time of Uncertainty

Multilateralism and the US Indo-Pacific Strategy
Amb. Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
Former US Ambassador to the Philippines;
Kissinger Senior Fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University;
Trustee, The Asia Foundation

Australia’s Defense Reposturing in an Era of Strategic Competition
The Hon Julie Bishop
Former Australian Foreign Minister;
2021 Kissinger Fellow, McCain Institute;
Chancellor, Australian National University

Strengthening Security Cooperation: Japan’s Key Role in a Multipolar Indo-Pacific
Amb. Kenichiro Sasae
Former Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
President, Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)

India’s Evolving Foreign Policy and Indo-Pacific Vision
Amb. Lalit Mansingh
Former Foreign Secretary of India;
Founder, Chairman and Managing Trustee, Kalinga International Foundation

Key Developments in the West Philippine Sea
Ms. Liz Derr
Founder and CEO, Simularity

Indo-Pacific Region in the Balance

Leading the Free and Open Indo-Pacific
Dr. Masashi Nishihara
Former President, Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS);
Former President, National Defense Academy of Japan

Redirecting Southeast Asia’s Indo-Pacific Strategy
Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony
President’s Chair in International Relations and Security Studies and
Head of Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

Philippines’ National Security Strategy, Ways Forward
Dr. Renato de Castro
Trustee and Program Convenor, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Professor, International Studies Department, De La Salle University-Manila

Closing Remarks
Justice Antonio Carpio
Former Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Atty. Anthony Abad
Host, “Political Capital”, ONE News;
Professor, Ateneo de Manila University School of Law

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