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The 7th U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Affairs and International Law Held in the U.S.

2018-07-29 20:51:08       source:NISCSS

On 26-27 July 2018, the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS) and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR) co-hosted the 7th U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Affairs and International Law in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the United States.


Initiated by the NISCSS and the NCUSCR jointly in October 2014, the U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Affairs and International Law aims to provide an institutionalized platform for maritime policy communication between China and the United States. This round of closed-door Dialogue focused on a series of maritime issues such as the “current geopolitics of the South China Sea”, “law enforcement operations, military activities and international law”, as well as “legal issues and pragmatic cooperation on the sea.” More than 30 experts and scholars from various think tanks, research institutes, universities and government agencies from China and the U.S. participated in this two-day program, including the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Institute for China-America Studies, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, Xiamen University, Office of the Legal Advisor of the U.S. Department of State, Center for Naval Analyses, Naval War College, Yale University, Stanford University, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University.


Wu Shicun, President of NISCSS, and Stephen Orlins, President of NCUSCR, delivered opening remarks and keynote speeches. Dr. Wu briefly introduced the China’s Sea-power Nation Strategy and analyzed the status quo and future development of the South China Sea as well as the prospect of the “Indo-Pacific strategy.” He believes that the China-U.S. military competition has gradually become the dominant factor in the evolvement of the South China Sea situation; and the U.S. military presence in this region would be further strengthened by increasing frequency and scope of the freedom of navigation operations, close-in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, military drills, port calls, enhancing military cooperation with other claimant states of the South China Sea, among other forms of military activities. He further pointed out that while the China-U.S. competition over the sea powers in the Western Pacific region and the dominance of regional order is on a long-term basis, Japan and Australia would become new uncertainties in development of the South China Sea situation. Both countries play active roles in the US led Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is intended to balance against China. However, with regard to the “Quad”, Dr. Wu argued that whether its implementation would be effective depends on India. He stressed that since India has always been seeking independence in foreign policy, it will probably not completely follow the other three countries in antagonizing China. As indicated in Prime Minister Modi’s speech at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue, India does not want to make the Indo-Pacific Strategy an exclusive military bloc targeted at a third-party, though it may embrace such strategy to certain extent.