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2017 Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea held in Haikou

2017-11-11 21:51:12       source:NISCSS

On November 9 and 10, 2017, the NISCSS hosted the 15th Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea. The two-day forum covered a variety of topics such as “assessment of the current South China Sea situation”, “the international order and regional challenges after the South China Sea Arbitration”, “situation in the South China Sea and diplomatic challenges”, “new situation in the South China Sea and prospects for cooperation”, “Sino-American relationship and its impacts on the South China Sea”, and “current Cross-Strait relations and interactions on South China Sea policies”. More than 60 experts and scholars from the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan attended the forum.


Keynote remarks were made at the opening ceremony by NISCSS President Wu Shicun, Director Liu Fu-Kuo of the Center for Taiwan Security Studies of Taiwan Chengchi University and Counselor He Xiangqi of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. 


In his speech, President Wu Shicun stresses that although the situation in the South China Sea appears cooling down, core disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction remain unresolved. Besides, there are various uncertainties including the intervention of extra-regional powers such as the United States and Japan, on-going negotiations of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC) and unilateral activities conducted some countries in disputed waters. Regarding the cross-strait relations, President Wu pointed out that since the Democratic Progressive Party came into power, communication mechanisms have been suspended, and relevant channels blocked, which has inflicted serious damage on the cross-strait cooperation. That said, academic exchanges on the South China Sea issues need to persist. Relevant network as well as the communication and cooperation mechanisms should be well maintained, such as the Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea, South China Sea-themed Summer Camp for college students and the Joint Assessment Report on the South China Sea Situation. Meanwhile, the two sides could make better use of platforms such as the China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea, China-ASEAN Academy on Ocean Law and Governance, and Institute for China-America Studies to promote cooperation in fishing resources preservation and biological monitoring in the South China Sea.


Liu Fu-Kuo believed that given current circumstances, it is not easy to maintain the academic exchange mechanism across the Strait. It is hoped that with more tolerant spirits and open attitude, the two sides could continue to enhance exchanges and communication, jointly overcome obstacles and explore the potential for future cooperation in humanitarian aid, fishery as well as the collection and review of South China Sea historical documents.


He Xiangqi stressed that the territorial sovereignty and maritime rights of China in the South China Sea are common heritage of the Chinese nation, which should be safeguarded by people across the Strait through coordinated efforts.


Participants of the Forum agree that the new trend and features of the South China Sea situation have brought more challenges to the cross-Strait cooperation. Tsai Ing-Wen authority’s deny of the 1992 consensus and the setback of cross-strait relations have only made such cooperation even more difficult. Participants urge the Tsai authority to prioritize the common interests of the people across the Strait in South China Sea. They also suggest the two sides of the Strait continue with the institutionalized mechanism of academic exchanges and cooperation, so as to create favorable conditions for jointly safeguarding their common interests in the South China Sea.


During the workshop, President Wu also received an interview from the Taiwan Want Daily on the cross-Strait interaction over the South China Sea policy, COC consultation as well as Taiwan factors in the South China Sea situation.


Initiated in 2002, and co-organized by the NISCSS and Taiwan Chengchi University, the Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea has been held alternately in Hainan and Taiwan for 15 years. It serves as an institutionalized mechanism to facilitate exchanges and cooperation among experts and scholars specializing in South China Sea studies across the Straits.