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South China Sea-themed sub-forum of the BFA Echoed with Chorus of Cooperation

2015-04-07 19:51:13       source:NISCSS


“South China Sea: Dual-Track Approach and Win-win Cooperation” was successfully concluded at the town of Boao, Hainan on 29 March 2015 as a sub-forum of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference and was co-organized by the BFA Secretariat and the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS). The attendees included nearly one hundred officials and scholars from over ten countries and regions. It was chaired by Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the 12th National People's Congress, China. The speakers included Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies; Abraham D. Sofaer, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University; Jusuf Wanandi, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Indonesia); Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at National University of Singapore; and B.A. Hamzah, a research fellow at the Department of Strategic Studies of the National Defence University of Malaysia. The sub-forum, by being held on such a high-level international dialogue platform, was designed to gather consensus and wisdom from all parties concerned in order to seek peace and cooperation in the South China Sea.


This sub-forum embodied openness and locality in its agenda setting. In a candid, friendly and pragmatic manner, the officials and scholars exchanged ideas and built consensus around four panels—“Dual-Track Approach to the South China Sea Issue,”“International Cooperation in Enclosed & Semi-enclosed Seas: Practice & Inspirations,”“Asia-Pacific Maritime Cooperation: Experiences & Lessons,” and “China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation.”


The participants generally agreed that the South China Sea situation is undergoing profound and complicated changes and has become a hot spot in the international community. It has increasingly become an important factor behind the regional security situation. There are both opportunities and challenges in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. The parties need to further build consensus, dispel misgivings, strengthen dialogue and exchanges, look to each other's concerns, manage disputes effectively, and avoid complicating or intensifying the situation in the South China Sea.


NISCSS President Wu Shicun remarked that this year’s sub-forum was held based on the Institute’s and the BFA’s success last year in holding the first SCS-themed sub-forum. He especially noted three considerations: First, judging from the prospects of globalization, the BFA, of international and regional nature, should incorporate a similar sub-forum concerning the “marine century”, which is an important theme of development in the current times. Second, in order to alleviate disputes, promote regional maritime cooperation, and build a "maritime silk road" in the 21st century, it is necessary to hold such a sub-forum in the harmonious atmosphere of the BFA. Third, this sub-forum is consistent with the dual-track approach and so will contribute to dispute management and regional peace and stability,


President Wu further stressed that, after 10 years of development, the BFA has grown into one of the most influential dialogue platforms in Asia and even in the world, and that it is of more practical significance to discuss topics about cooperation in the South China Sea. Since China’s proposal of a “dual track approach“ has attracted attention and recognition from the parties concerned, it would be rewarding to further institutionalize and normalize the SCS-themed sub-forum for discussing more concrete and realistic topics. In this way, the parties concerned can take advantage of academic channels to explore how to settle disputes through negotiation and consultation, how to join China and ASEAN together in concerted efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, and how to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.