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5th U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Affairs and International Law held in U.S.

2017-07-29 11:05:36       source:NISCSS

 

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On July 27-28, 2017, the NISCSS and the National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUSCR) co-organized the 5th U.S-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Affairs and International Law in Provincetown, Boston.

 

The two-day closed-door dialogue focused on the regional security after the South China Sea arbitration, Trump administration’s South China Sea policy and China-U.S. maritime crisis management, stability in the South China Sea and the role of international law. NISCSS President Wu Shicun and NCUSCR President Stephen A. Orlins addressed the opening ceremony and made thematic speeches.

 

In his keynote speech, Wu analyzed the features of the current situation in the South China Sea and the positive and negative factors influencing its future trend, including China-U.S. relations; the role of Japan, the U.S. and other countries in South China Sea disputes; China-Philippines relations; and China-Vietnam relations. Wu believed that the U.S. would continue to take "freedom of navigation" as its main pretext to incite Japan, Australia and other countries to interfere with South China Sea affairs. Japan has become a new variable in South China Sea disputes, and may work together with littoral countries in the South China Sea to intervene in the South China Sea affairs by conducting joint military exercises, bolstering cooperation in non-traditional security fields, offering military assistance and pressurizing China on multilateral international occasions. China should be mindful of Vietnam's recent policy pursuits regarding the South China Sea. Vietnam has, through its cooperation and coordination with the United States and Japan, continued to stir up the situation and contributed to chaos in the region. Since the latter half of 2016, China-Philippines relations have improved rapidly, and the disputes have returned to the track of settlement through bilateral consultation and negotiation, and an inter-governmental bilateral consultation mechanism has also been established. Duterte's government may be constrained by internal and external factors, which means future relations and maritime cooperation between China and the Philippines may not go smooth. To conclude, the current peace and stability is relative and temporary, and the future situation in the South China Sea is vulnerable to uncertainties.

 

The dialogue brought together over 20 scholars and experts from think tanks, universities and government agencies of China and the U.S., including the NISCSS, the ICAS, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, China National Defense University, Taiwan Academia Sinica, Taiwan Chengchi University, the NCUSCR, the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Yale University, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hofstra University and the Naval War College.

 

This dialogue was launched by the NISCSS and the NCUSCR in October, 2014 and five have been held so far. It provides an institutionalized platform for communication between the two countries in maritime policy, and has become one of the important channels for China to engage in public diplomacy related to the South China Sea.