Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2015.
By Anders Corr, Ph.D., and Matthew Michaelides
Today, 100 participants gathered at the Harvard Club of New York City for the Journal of Political Risk’s Conference on the South China Sea to discuss all aspects of the ongoing territorial dispute between China and the Southeast Asian states of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Papers given at the presentation will be among those compiled and released in a forthcoming book on the South China Sea dispute.
The event opened with a discussion of some of the recent actions taken by China in the South China Sea. Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia (Yale University Press, 2014), spoke on China’s recent island-building operations on several disputed reefs and islands in the South China Sea, including Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross Reef. Mr. Hayton noted that China acts as it does because it genuinely, albeit wrongly, thinks of itself as the rightful owner of maritime territory within the 9-dash line. He noted that China did not claim new features in the recent island-building, rather it built on features occupied for 20 years or more. Lastly, Mr. Hayton predicted that China would continue to expand, provoking further conflict.
Speakers at the event proposed several constructive proposals for resolving the dispute presently facing the Southeast Asian region.