Dealing with China’s Gray-Zone Strategy in the South China Sea


About the Webinar

China has increasingly employed gray-zone tactics, including deploying its coast guard and maritime militias, to assert its sovereignty and jurisdictional claims in the South China Sea. While staying below the threshold of armed conflict, these gray-zone operations have steadily altered the status quo in China’s favour, bolstering Chinese strategic advantage while eroding the presence and position of other claimant states. Recent developments, including the Philippines’ successful resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands despite China’s attempts to prevent them, shed light on the growing intensity of gray-zone and counter-gray zone warfare in regional waters. This webinar will explore the unfolding dynamics of China’s gray-zone operations in the South China Sea and offer insights into the strategies and measures adopted by affected claimant states in response to China’s manoeuvers.

About the Speakers

Dr. Collin Koh is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, based in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has research interests on naval affairs in the Indo-Pacific, focusing on Southeast Asia. Collin has published op-eds, policy and academic journal articles as well as chapters for edited volumes covering his research areas. He has also taught at Singapore Armed Forces professional military education and training courses. Besides research and teaching, Collin contributes his perspectives to various local and international media outlets and participates in activities with geopolitical risks consultancies.

Dr. Evan A. Laksmana is Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Military Modernisation at the Asia office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore. He previously held senior research positions at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia. His research on civil-military relations, military change, and Southeast Asian defence and foreign policies has appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals and global media outlets. He earned his PhD in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University as a Fulbright Presidential Scholar.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Lan Anh is Director General of the East Sea Institute, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV). She is an expert in international law and the law of the sea. Her research area includes issues related to ocean law and policy, maritime boundary delimitation, maritime security and safety, and Vietnam’s foreign policy with a focus on the South China Sea. Dr Nguyen regularly offers legal and policy advice to the government agencies of Vietnam as well as international and regional organisations in different legal and foreign policy issues.

Rear Admiral Rommel Jude Ong (Ret) was Vice Commander of the Philippine Navy and is currently Professor of Praxis with the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) where he is Program Director of the Masters in Public Management (MPM) Twinning Program in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He is also Senior Research Fellow with the Ateneo Policy Center where he is a co-lead investigator in a study on political warfare. He was a graduate of the Philippine Military Class of 1987. His other career trainings were undertaken at the US Naval War College and the National Defense College of the Philippines. He completed his Masters in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Oct 05 2023


10:00 am - 11:30 am

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