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The 12th South China Sea International Conference “Maintaining peace and cooperation through time of turbulance”

Arrival of participants

Registration

Opening Session

Online participation by invitation only

Photo Session

Session 1: The South China Sea in time of turbulences

Global turbulences, such as those caused by the Covid-19 virus has had major implications to the world and will continue to be a major factor influencing global order in ways still not yet fully comprehensible. The South China Sea is one of the theatres where many of these strategic implications of the pandemic emerged. This Session will assess new developments in the South China Sea resulting from both interstate and intrastate tensions caused by Covid-19 in the Indo-Pacific region. Experts in this Session are expected to discuss the state of play in the South China Sea in 2020, to review the latest policy changes and activities of the related parties, and assess the impacts of these changes to the South China Sea and the broader region.

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Pham Quang Vinh, Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the USA

Speakers:


1. Mr. Greg Poling, Director, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), USA
2. Dr. Euan Graham, Senior fellows for Asia-Pacific Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), former Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University, Australia
3. H.E. Amb. Bilahari Kausikan, Former Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, Singapore
4. Dr. Philips J. Vermonte, Executive Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia
5. Professor Anne-Marie Brady, Professor in Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Coffee Break

Session 2: ASEAN’s post-2025 vision: What are the roles ASEAN is expected to play in the South China Sea?

The South China Sea is poised to be regarded as one of the key challenges for the ASEAN Community towards 2025 and beyond. Rather than ignoring that reality, ASEAN needs to squarely tackle the issue by having a clearer outlook on how it envisages the range of issues in the South China Sea to evolve, the implications to ASEAN and its Member States, and the possible roles ASEAN could play to handle the issue. This Session will address the following questions: How would the South China Sea impact the strategic environment of the region after 2025? How does ASEAN envision itself in the regional security architecture, especially in addressing both traditional and non-traditional security issues in the South China Sea? What roles best fit ASEAN: an observer, a facilitator, or an actor that plays a central and active role in managing the situation and promoting cooperation? How could ASEAN enhance its role?

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Nguyen Duc Hung, Former Vietnamese Assistant Foreign Minister, Former Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore, Former Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada

Speakers:


1. Mr. Muhd Shahrul Nizzam Bin Umar, Director, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHBIDSS), Brunei
2. Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Indonesia
3. Dr. Chheang Vannarith, President, Asian Vision Institute, Cambodia
4. Mr. Shahriman Lockman, Fellow, Foreign Policy and Security Studies Division, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia
5. Dr. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Senior Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Thailand
6. Mr. Richard Javad Heydarian, Fellow, ADR-Stratbase Institute, Philippines

Luncheon

Keynote Address

Keynote Address by Rear Admiral Juergen Ehle, Senior Military Adviser to European Union External Action (EEAS)

Coffee Break

Session 3: The Note Verbales debate and the future of COC negotiation and cooperation in the South China Sea

The Note Verbales debate is a new development in the South China Sea in 2020. There has been more than 20 diplomatic notes and statements clarifying the legal stances of both regional and extra-regional countries with regards to the various aspects of the South China Sea. These newly clarified positions would not only have far reaching legal implications but also affect future activities and cooperation in the South China Sea. This Session is expected to discuss the significance of “the Note Verbales battle” to the trajectory of events in the South China Sea, its implications to the COC negotiations and the prospect of cooperation in the South China Sea.

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Dr. Guido Hildner, German Ambassador to Viet Nam

Speakers:


1. Ms. Nguyen Thanh Ha, Vice Secretary-General, Vietnam Society of International Law
2. Prof. Jay L. Batongbacal, College of Law, University of the Philippines, and Director of the University’s Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Philippines
3. Prof. Lei Xiaolu, Lecturer, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University, China
4. Dr. Damos Agusman, Director General, International Law and Treaties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Indonesia
5. Mr. Andrew Murdoch, Legal Director at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom
6. Mrs. Sandrine Barbier, Deputy Director Legal Affairs, French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France
7. Commander Jonathan G. Odom, Military Professor of International Law, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, USA

Coffee Break

Session 4: The narrative competition: How the media is shaping the South China Sea discourse?

Public awareness and opinion have become an important aspect of the South China Sea. The media (e.g. journalists, scholars, film directors, etc.) are no longer mere observers but have become stakeholders in the South China Sea issue with powers to influence public perception and countries’ policies. There has been a growing tendency by different players to use the media to tell different narratives of the South China Sea with the aim of shaping public perception and opinion and favour of one’s own policies. For the first time, the South China Sea Conference is inviting members of the Media to participate at the Conference as ‘insiders’ of the South China Sea issues. The speakers are expected to focus on the following issues: (i) the similarities and differences in the narratives promoted by different stakeholders; (ii) the roles and limitation of the media, especially the social media in helping convey the “right message” to the public, and how to deal with the limitations (e.g. how to deal with fake news and disinformation); (iii) what roles the media can and should play to promote peace, stability and the rule of law in the South China Sea?

Moderator:

Mr. Rodion Ebbighausen, Managing Director (Asia) of the Deutsche Welle, Germany;

Speakers:


1. Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran, Senior Columnist, The Diplomat and Fellow, Wilson Center’s Asia Program, USA
2. Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro, Center Fellow, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, USA
3. Mr. Humphrey Hawksley, Former BBC Beijing Bureau Chief, and author of “Asian Waters, The Struggle over the Indo-Pacific and the Challenge to American Power”, USA
4. Prof. Tomohiko Taniguchi, Graduate School of System Design and Management, Keio University and Special Adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet in charge of Japan’s international strategic communications, Japan
5. Ms. Kristin Huang, Correspondent, China desk, The South China Morning Post, China
6. Mr. David Hutt, Southeast Asia Columnist, The Diplomat

Welcome Dinner

By invitations only
Keynote address by Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence of Canada

Session 5: Unplanned or Planned encounters: Building codes to prevent incidents at sea

This Session will discuss the potential formation of regional norms and codes to prevent confrontations and mitigate unplanned incidents in the South China Sea. The speakers will evaluate the existing Codes relating to preventing incidents at sea; opportunities and challenges in developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) between: (i) Maritime Law Enforcement vessels at sea (MLE); (ii) between MLE vessels and naval and other government ships; and (iii) between MLE and civilian vessels operating in the South China Sea. The speakers are expected to propose practical measures to gradually realise an acceptable code of conduct in the region to manage incidents and set out safe interactions between these vessels in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. The speakers are also expected to scrutinize the challenges, difficulties, in particular the differences in the views of the stakeholders.

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Robyn Mudie, Australia’s Ambassador to Viet Nam

Speakers:


1. Prof. Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales (UNSW), and Director of Thayer Consultancy, Australia
2. Prof. Pan Junwu, Vice Dean of the School of International Law, Northwest University of Political Science and Law (NWUPL), China
3. Ms. Ksenia Kuzmina, Program Manager (Head of Program) for Asia Pacific. Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Russia
4. Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), Director General, National Maritime Foundation (NMF), India;
5. Vice Admiral Yoji Koda (Retd), Former Commander in Chief, Japan Self Defence Fleet (JSDF), Japan
6. Capt. Martin A. Sebastian, Former Senior Fellow/Centre Head, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), Malaysia

Coffee Break

Session 6: Fish - Fishing – Fishermen: The interplay between the Environment, the Economy and Empathy

Protecting the fish stocks, developing fisheries, and supporting and managing fishermen activities are three different aspects of a same issue. Addressing each aspect is related to and inseparable from the others. How to come up with appropriate policies to achieve all three goals: protecting the environment, developing fisheries, and supporting and managing fishermen activities to maintain livelihoods in legitimate and sustainable ways? This Session will analyse the inter-relationship among fish stocks conservation, marine environment protection, security and safety of fishermen at sea, and fighting against IUU fishing activities and other types of crimes related to fishing activities. This Session will look into best practices from around the world on how best to meet these multiple goals. Based on the findings, the speakers are expected to envision appropriate models of fisheries management/cooperation suitable for the South China Sea.

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Giorgio Aliberti, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Viet Nam

Speakers:


1. Dr. Ricardo Federizon, Senior Fisheries Commission Coordinator, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, Canada
2. Professor Stein Tonnesson, Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway
3. Dr. Yi-Che Shih, Assistant Professor, National Cheng Kung University, Chinese Taipei
4. Mr. Gilang Kembara, Researcher, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia
5. Ms. Naomi Clark-Shen (Wildlife Conservation Society): Current Ph.D student on shark and ray fisheries and biology in Southeast Asia, James Cook University, Singapore
6. Mr. Alex Douglas, Project Manager, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue

Luncheon

Session 7: Marine Science: How science and technology may impact the good order of the sea

The development of sciences and related technologies helps to expand new frontiers regarding how people understand, exploit, use and manage the ocean, thereby suggesting new opportunities for cooperation and new alternatives to address maritime issues. On the other hand, technological innovations have also resulted in increased competition, for example by fuelling efforts to gain control in open and undiscovered spaces. The disparity in the level of competency in science and technology by various stake holders in the region is a new dynamic of the South China Sea. This session will analyse new scientific achievements in oceanography and related topics, as well as assess the recent and future impacts of scientific and technological advances on the relevant aspects of the South China Sea disputes.

Moderator:

Mr. Ta Dinh Thi, Director General of Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands

Speakers:


1. Professor Marie Antonette Meñez, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines
2. Professor. Nguyễn Chu Hồi, Professor of Marine Science and Governance Policy, Vietnam National University and Chairman, Vietnam Association for Marine Environment and Nature
3. Dr. Sukjoon Yoon, Retired Captain of the Republic of Korea Navy, Senior Research Fellow at the Korea Institute for Military Affairs (KIMA)
4. Dr. Peter Townsend Harris, Managing Director, GRID-Arendal, Norway
5. Mr. James Borton, Non-Resident Fellow Tufts University Science Diplomacy Center, USA
6. Dr. Erik Franckx, Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Acting President of the Belgian Society of International Law

Coffee Break

Session 8: Sustainable maritime development – The future powers of the ocean

Developing maritime economy without destroying the living environment is a huge task of humanity. Only if this challenge is properly addressed, would the international community be able to sustainably utilize the vast resources of the ocean to improve its people living standards. This Session will address the following questions: (i) What are the challenges for sustainable blue economy development?; (ii) Measures to help promote the blue economy (policy, awareness, human resources, marine conservation, maritime spatial planning, etc.); (iii) Opportunity and challenges faced by the marine economic sectors (marine tourism, fisheries, sea transportation,…); (iv) Synergizing various initiatives to promote blue economy in the South China Sea and beyond?

Moderator:

H.E. Amb. Gareth Ward, British Ambassador to Viet Nam

Speakers:


1. Dr. Ding Duo, Deputy Director, Research Center for Oceans Law and Policy, National Institute for South China Sea Studies, China
2. Ms. Fanny Quertamp, Vietnam Senior Advisor, Project “Rethinking plastics-circular economy solutions to marine litter”
3. Cdr (Dr) Kapil Narula, Honorary Adjunct Fellow, National Maritime Foundation, India
4. Dr. Lance Beath, Senior Fellow, Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
5. Dr. Koldunova Ekaterina, Associate Professor, Department of Asian and African Studies and Senior Expert, ASEAN Centre, MGIMO University, Russia
6. Cdr Ang Chin Hup (R), Senior Researcher, Centre for Maritime Economics & Industries, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), Malaysia

Coffee Break

Special Session: Young Leaders’ Perspectives

Selected Young Leaders from the region and extra-regional countries attending the conference (online) will share their thoughts and outlook on the the South China Sea. They would each have 5 minutes to present their thoughts and suggestion for the way forward.

Moderator:

Mr. Lai Anh Tu, Research Fellow, Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

Speakers:


1. Mr. Nguyen Huy Son, Student, Faculty of International Communication and Culture, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam;
2. Ms. Dita Liliansa, Research fellow, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore
3. Ms. Lee YingHui, Associate Research Fellow, Maritime Security Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore
4. Mr. Aristyo Rizka Darmawan, Center for Sustainable Ocean Policy, Faculty of Law, Universitas Indonesia
5. Mr. Daisuke Kawai, Research Fellow, The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Japan
6. Ms. Ariel Stenek, Director, Young Leaders Program, Pacific Forum, US

Concluding Session

Speakers

Quotes