On Oct 28, 2022, Collin Koh from RSIS, NTU, Lucio Blanco Pitlo III from Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, Waffaa Kharisma from CSIS, Hoang Thi Ha from ISEAS- Yusof Ishak Institute, Susannah Patton from Lowy Institute, Ma Bo from Nanjing University, Hu Bo Peking University and Liu Xiaobo from Grandview Institution attended the Grandview Virtual Roundtable of Minilateral Security Arrangements and Their Impacts on the South China Sea Disputes. Dr Li Mingjiang from RSIS, NTU chaired the dialogue.
The dialogue discussed the different perceptions of regional minilateral security arrangements, such as QUAD and AUKUS and the trend in regional security architecture and impacts on security in Indo Pacific region, etc.
Experts think that new minilaterals like the QUAD and AUKUS have arisen, not to replace the ASEAN framework but rather to supplement it.
But some experts are concerned about the regional stability and peace, the heightened risk of incidents, unsafe intercepts as the regional maritime domain has become more congested and crowded, with major powers stepping up their military deployments in the region. "It is about the institutional challenges that these minilateral arrangements would pose and have been posing to ASEAN and so called proclaimed ASEAN centrality", one participant said.
Chinese experts believe that there are many problems in mini-lateralism such as its sustainability, the uncertainty and the concerns of the internal countries.
On the South China Sea issue, Chinese experts pointed out that the statement issued on July 16, 2006 comprehensively expounded China's maritime claims in the South China Sea, and China's overall attitude towards relevant disputes has not changed.
Experts believe that China's growing strength has triggered strategic anxiety in Vietnam and the Philippines. At the same time, changes in geostrategic power on a global scale have inspired Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries to claim rights in the South China Sea. The United States promotes rebalancing strategy in the the Asia-Pacific region and the Indo-Pacific strategy, which also makes some countries hope to use the United States to provoke China.