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ASEAN Think Tank Dialogue Series: Trend of Asia-Pacific Geopolitics and South China Sea Issue


On December 30, 2022, Grandview Institution organized an online dialogue on "The Trend of Asia-Pacific Geopolitics and the South China Sea". Dr. Li Mingjiang, Senior Researcher at The Grandview Institution and Associate Professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore chaired the dialogue. Zhu Feng, Executive Director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea at the Nanjing University; Carl Thayer, Professor Emeritus from University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia; Ang Chin Hup, Researcher from Center for Maritime Economics and Industry at Maritime Institute of Malaysia; Rommel C. Banlaoi, Executive Director at Philippines Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research; and Liu Xiaobo, Director of the Center for Maritime Studies at The Grandview Institution participated in the dialogue.


The dialogue explored China's concerns and policy options on the South China Sea issue in the context of the evolving geopolitical landscape in the Asia-Pacific/"Indo-Pacific" region, as well as how Australia, Malaysia, and the Philippines view the linkages between regional geopolitics and the South China Sea disputes.


Participating experts also discussed the recent occurrence of close contact between Chinese and U.S. military aircraft over the South China Sea, arguing that the dangerous proximity of air and sea forces between China and the U.S. is highly prone to collisions between ships and aircraft, and even miscalculations and conflicts, which could have a disastrous impact on Sino-U.S. relations and even the regional security situation. This danger is particularly acute in the current situation where strategic mutual trust between China and the U.S. is at a low point and most of the communication channels between the two militaries are suspended.


When it comes to the consultation process of the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea", experts believe that an "effective and substantive" code can play an important role in maintaining security, peace and stability in the South China Sea. However, 20 years after the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, there are still many challenges in the implementation of the Declaration, and the future consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea will need to overcome many difficulties.