Seminar: Southeast Asia’s Responses to the Arbitral Tribunal Award on the South China Sea

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague announced its award on the Philippines’ submission on its South China Sea dispute with China. The Tribunal ruled mostly in favour of the Philippines.  The ruling has led China to embark on a two-pronged approach of ignoring the ruling and going on an intense diplomatic and media offensive to reiterate its claims in the disputed waters. As such, there is no end in sight to the tensions in one of the most strategically vital waterways of the world, including for the Southeast Asian states that surround the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping claims with each other and with China, whereas Indonesia has had to fend off Chinese fishing vessels in its EEZ near the Natuna Islands. This seminar will discuss the responses to the award by these three states and seek to assess what lies ahead.

About the Speakers

Richard Javad Heydarian is an Assistant Professor in political science at De La Salle University, and, most recently, the author of “Asia’s New Battlefield: US, China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific” (Zed, London). He is an Opinion Writer for Aljazeera English, and a regular contributor to Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). The Manila Bulletin, a leading national daily, has described him as one of the Philippines’ “foremost foreign affairs and economic analysts”. He has contributed to global think tanks such as Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and has written for or/and interviewed by ABC, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel, The Straits Times, The Nation, among other major publications. He is currently working on a book on “Obama’s Asia policy” (Palgrave, Macmillan).

Le Hong Hiep is Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Hiep earned his PhD in Politics from the University of New South Wales in 2015. Before becoming an academic, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam from 2004 to 2006. Hiep’s scholarly articles and analyses have been published in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Asian Politics & Policy, Southeast Asian Affairs, Korean Journal of Defence Analysis, ASPI Strategic Insights, American Review, and The Diplomat.

Evan A Laksmana is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta, where he coordinates the Military, State, and Society research cluster. He is also a PhD candidate at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His writings on defense and foreign policy has appeared in Asian Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Defence Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Jakarta Post, and others. He tweets at @EvanLaksmana

Registration
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 22 August 2016.

 

Seminar: The Outlook for the 2016 US Elections and Beyond

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 

About the Seminar

Kyle Kondik, an internationally-cited expert on American politics, will speak about the 2016 United States presidential and congressional elections. He will explain the factors that will help determine the outcome of the election and what the results may mean for the future of American policy. He will also discuss the major figures in American politics and the state of public opinion in the United States.

About the Speaker

Kyle Kondik is Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ authoritative, nonpartisan newsletter on American campaigns and elections. Kyle’s analysis of presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial politics has been cited by the BBC, New York TimesWall Street JournalBuzzFeed, and numerous other publications, and he is a frequent contributor to Politico Magazine. He also serves as the Center’s communications director and is based in Washington, where he manages the Center’s DC office. He is author of The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.

Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 16 August 2016.

 

Seminar: The Implications of the Arbitral Tribunal Award in the Philippines vs. China Case on the South China Sea

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will issue its final award in the Philippines vs. China case concerning maritime rights and entitlements in the South China Sea. Initiated by the Philippines in January 2013, the Tribunal was asked to rule on three main issues: first, whether China’s claim to “historic rights” within the so-called “nine-dash line” is compatible with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); second, the status and entitlement of geographic features occupied by China; and third, whether certain Chinese activities in the South China Sea violate the Philippines’ sovereign rights under UNCLOS. The Tribunal was not asked to determine issues of territorial sovereignty or maritime boundary delimitation. In February 2013, China rejected the jurisdiction of the Tribunal and adopted a policy of non-appearance and non-participation. In October 2015, however, the Tribunal ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the case and that both parties were bound by compulsory dispute settlement procedures. Since 2013, the final award has been much anticipated.

The panel of international experts on the South China Sea will discuss the background to the award, the essence of the ruling, and its implications for China’s bilateral relationships including with the Philippines and other countries.

About the Speakers
Professor Jay L Batongbacal is the Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea at the University of the Philippines. He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, and holds a Masters degree in Marine Management and a Doctorate in the Science of Law, both from Dalhousie University in Canada. His career spans across diverse fields of marine policy research, including marine territorial and jurisdictional issues, international maritime boundary negotiations, high seas fisheries, seafaring, shipping, marine environmental protection, coastal resource management, maritime security, and archipelagic studies. Professor Batongbacal has played an important role in several of the Philippines’ submissions in the international legal scene, including the Benham Rise Region case with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), and the recent landmark South China Sea case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Dr Ian Storey is a Senior Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He specializes in Asian security issues, with a focus on Southeast Asia. Ian is the editor of ISEAS’ flagship academic journal Contemporary Southeast Asia. His primary areas of research are Southeast Asia’s relations with the major powers and maritime security issues, particularly the South China Sea dispute. He is the author of Southeast Asia and the Rise of China: The Search for Security (Routledge, 2011). His latest edited book is The South China Sea Dispute: Navigating Diplomatic and Strategic Tensions (with Cheng-yi Lin) published by ISEAS in May 2016.

Registration
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 22 July 2016.

 

Seminar: U.S. Policy and Chinese Influence along ASEAN’s Northern Tier

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 

About the Seminar

Analysts of Southeast Asia have long discussed the possibility of a strategic divide whereby China develops primacy on land and the United States remains ascendant at sea. In recent years, China’s expanding economic and political footprint on the peninsula has given credence to the notion of an incipient Chinese sphere of influence across ASEAN’s “northern tier” of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The launch of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation forum in 2015 gives an institutional embodiment to China’s leadership and contributes to a widespread sense that China’s power and proximity are subjecting its peninsular neighbors to an ever-greater gravitational pull. However, as this presentation will emphasize, neighbors’ acceptance of Chinese influence cannot be deduced deterministically from their relative capabilities or positions on a map. Proximity renders them potentially exposed to domination, but it simultaneously gives them added impetus to seek countervailing forms of protection. The extent to which they accommodate China thus arises as much from their spatial and political distance from other nodes of power as their nearness to Beijing. This presentation will emphasize how U.S. policies in particular have sometimes undermined America’s appeal as a hedging partner, stunted the mainland states’ ability to diversify and integrate into the ASEAN-centered institutional matrix, and left them more inclined to lean on China and to bear the resultant risks. This presentation will survey the mainland states before presenting a more detailed illustrative case from Cambodia, a country now considered by many to be China’s “closest friend” in the ASEAN region. The talk will conclude with brief policy implications, including the potential impact of enhanced U.S. activity in the South China Sea and the importance of consistency and credibility as an incoming U.S. administration reviews the “rebalance.”

About the Speaker

John D. Ciorciari is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. His research focuses on international politics and law, particularly in Southeast Asia. He is the author of The Limits of Alignment: Southeast Asia and the Great Powers since 1975 (Georgetown University Press, 2010) and co-author with Anne Heindel of Hybrid Justice: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (University of Michigan Press, 2014). He is currently part of the inaugural class of Andrew Carnegie fellows and is pursuing a research project on UN sovereignty-sharing arrangements with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Before joining the Michigan faculty, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University (2007-09), policy official in the U.S. Treasury Department (2004-07), and visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore (2003-04). Since 1999, he has been a legal advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia. He has a J.D. from Harvard and D.Phil. from Oxford.

Registration
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 18 May 2016.

 

Seminar: Making Sense of Indonesian Foreign Policy Under Jokowi

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

ABOUT THE SEMINAR
In October 2014, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was inaugurated as Indonesia’s president, succeeding President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Jokowi had no personal, career, class, or political ties to the outgoing administration. He was viewed from a national policy-making perspective as a newcomer, thought to be uninformed and ill-prepared, lacking the attributes and requisites considered necessary for the leader of a self- and internationally-labelled “rising middle power.” This paper explores one policy area – foreign policy – in which particular concerns were raised about the future directions and constancy of Indonesian foreign policy and the suggestions that Yudhoyono’s outward-looking, globalist internationalism would be replaced by Jokowi’s inward-looking nationalism. The prospect of an Indonesian policy discontinuity and unpredictability in post-Yudhoyono foreign policy raised concerns for Indonesia’s neighbours and international partners. The argument presented here is that Jokowi’s foreign policy, while conducted in a lower key than its predecessor, does not appear to be fundamentally different in objectives or deviating from the general course of foreign policy in post-democracy Indonesia. There are changes in style and priorities but the bedrock foundations for policy remain unchanged, and in the conduct of policy, Indonesia still adheres to the principles of bebas dan aktif (independent and active). Under Jokowi, Indonesia continues to be a responsible, cooperative international partner, sharing interests in economic growth and regional peace and security.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

DONALD E. WEATHERBEE is Visiting Professorial Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also the Donald S. Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, and has been described as the dean of the American scholars of the International Relations of Southeast Asia. The various versions of his book, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy caps more than four decades of teaching, writing, and analysing politics and foreign policy in the region. He was awarded the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service medal for his contribution to strategic planning for post-Vietnam War Southeast Asian international relations. Professor Weatherbee is a close Indonesia-watcher. He has lived and taught in Indonesia for about four years and has been a frequent visitor. He also sits on the board of advisors to the United States-Indonesia Society. In addition to Indonesia, Professor Weatherbee has held teaching and research appointments in universities and institutes in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, England and South Korea. He received his PhD in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 4 April 2016.

 

Seminar: The Outlook for India-China and Vietnam-China Relations

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

ABOUT THE SEMINAR

The rise of China and India provides many economic opportunities for Asia. Also new trade and infrastructure initiatives such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and China’s own One Belt One Road (OBOR), are opening up new avenues for regional economic prosperity. Yet the countries of the region can fully avail themselves of these opportunities only if the region is free of tension and conflict. This seminar will focus on two key relationships which remain problematic, namely the India-China and the Vietnam-China relationships, despite cooperation in various areas.

Three eminent speakers will discuss the relevant concerns and issues and the prospects for their resolution or peaceful management.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Pan Zhenqiang has a deep understanding of China’s strategic outlook and relations with other countries. Major General (Retired) Pan is currently Senior Adviser to China Reform Forum (CRF). He is also Director of Research Institute for Strategy and Management of the Central University of Finance and Economics in China; and adviser to the College of Defense Studies, National Defense University, PLA, China among other responsibilities. General Pan joined the PLA in 1963, and served in the Department of the General Staff for over two decades. After 1986, he was research fellow, deputy director, and director at the Institute of Strategic Studies of the National Defense University (NDU) until his retirement in August 2001. General Pan has been research fellow at a number of US universities, including the U.S. National Defense University (1987), Stanford University (1988-1989), Harvard University (1999 and 2000 respectively), and University of Georgia (2014). He is Member of the Council of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), is a top Indian expert on China. Educated in Chinese studies in India and China with a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies, he was Chairman of the Centre for East Asian Studies, SIS, JNU twice from 2008 to 2010 and 2012 to 2014. He was a Visiting Professor at National Chengchi University, Taipei in 2004, a Visiting Fellow at China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Beijing in May 2007, an Honorary Professor at Shandong University, Jinan in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and at Jilin University, Changchun in 2014 and a Fellow at Salzburg Global Seminar in 2010. He has written two books (China’s Military: The PLA in Transition in 1999 & China’s Naval Power in 2001), co-edited three volumes (Asian Security & China in 2004; China and its Neighbours in 2010 & China’s Military and India in 2012) and is the author of a number of articles in journals and edited volumes – all on China. He received the K.Subramanyam Award in 2010 for Excellence in Research in Strategic and Security Studies.

Nguyễn Ngọc Trường is President of Center for Strategic Studies and International Development (CSSD) in Vietnam, a position he has held since 2014. Ambassador Trường was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Magazine of International Affairs (1989-1996), Ambassador to Mexico, Peru, and Panama (1996-1999), Director of Department for Diplomatic Studies (MOFA) (1999-2002), and Ambassador to Sweden and Finland (2002-2006). His publications, in Vietnamese, include The World at Crisis (2009), On South China Sea (2015), and co-authored publications, Vietnamese Diplomacy 1945-2000 (2001), and Ho Chi Minh Diplomacy (2002). Ambassador Trường was educated at the Institute of International Relations, Vietnam, and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Russia.

 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

Dipankar Banerjee was Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He retired from the Indian Army as Major-General after 36 years of active service in August 1996. Before retiring he commanded an Infantry Division in Jammu & Kashmir at critical periods in the conflict. Over the last 27 years, he was involved with strategic planning at the national level. He was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi from 1987-1990 and later its Deputy Director from 1992-96. Subsequently he was the founder and Co-Director of the think tank the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi from 1996 to 1999. From May 1999-2002 he was the Executive Director of the Colombo based think tank, Regional Centre for Strategic Studies. He next spent a year as a Jennings Randolph Fellow at the US Institute of Peace, Washington, DC before reverting as the Director and Head of the IPCS.

Banerjee’s special areas of research interest are, India-China and India-Pak relations, confidence building measures, border security, China’s security and foreign policies, issues related to Indian security and disarmament, human security issues and security sector reforms.

REGISTRATION

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 18 January 2016.

 

Seminar: The Present and Future Trajectory of Sino-Japanese Relations

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

ABOUT THE SEMINAR

China and Japan have taken some positives steps toward improving their traditionally frosty bilateral relationship over the last few months. In October 2015 China, Japan and South Korea held their first three-way summit since 2012 where they agreed to accelerate talks for a trilateral free-trade agreement and to bolster cultural exchanges. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed the importance of developing an amicable and stable relationship between the two countries. However, thorns in the relationship remain. Tensions continue over contested sovereignty claims in the East China Sea where three Chinese ships recently sailed within the 12-mile exclusion zone of Islands which Japan has claimed. The question for 2016 is whether Beijing and Tokyo will be able to use recent improvements in their bilateral relationship to manage their stress points and effect an overall thaw or if military skirmishes and contested claims will derail the Sino-Japanese relationship.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Jia Qingguo is Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University. Professor Jia is a member of the Standing Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the China Democratic League. He is also Executive Director of the Institute for China-US People-to-People Exchange of the Ministry of Education, Vice President of the Chinese American Studies Association and Vice President of Chinese Japanese Studies Association.

Masashi Nishihara is an expert on Japanese foreign and security policy, and a key policy advisor to the Japanese government. Dr Nishihara is President, Research Institute for Peace and Security, based in Tokyo. In 1986-1995, he served on the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London. In 2001-2004, he was a member of Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi’s Task Force on External Relations. He was a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s consultative committee on the establishment of a national security council in 2013.

In Spring 2015, he served on Prime Minister Abe’s committee advising on the commemorative statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. He currently chairs Minister Eriko Yamanaka’s consultative committee on territorial sovereignty.

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 12 January 2016.

 

Seminar: The Failure of Political Institutionalization in China

 

REGIONAL STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 

ABOUT THE SEMINAR

Less than four years after Mao Zedong’s death, Deng Xiaoping declared that China needed to move away from an “over-concentration of power” by an individual leader to establish a more institutionalized system of governance. Xi Jinping’s ascension to power in 2013 promised a new era of reform of the Communist Party of China (CCP), specifically intended to preserve the party’s power. Rather than addressing governance issues, however, Xi’s actions, such as the anti-corruption campaign, have served to concentrate power in his hands, showing the weakness of political institutionalization in China after decades of collective leadership. While decision-making processes continue to be a black box, by reclaiming the CCP’s authority over policy-making, and by chairing CCP small leading groups, Xi appears to have moved China back to Mao-style authoritarian rule. The puzzles that remain are how personalistic authoritarian rule has returned to a country characterized by a growing middle class and a modern open market economy; and what this reversion to personalistic leadership tells us about the ambiguities of institutionalization in communist ruling parties.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Susan Shirk is the Chair of the 21st Century China Program, and Research Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. Professor Shirk is also Director Emeritus of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). Professor Shirk is a globally-esteemed expert on US-China relations and Chinese politics.


REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 8 January 2016.