Conference Program


(Ha Noi, 16-17 November 2020)

Venue: Grand BallRoom (5th Floor), Intercontinental Hanoi Landmark72, Pham Hung Street, Hanoi

16 NOVEMBER 2020




Local/Ha Noi


1:30 - 2:25 GMT/UTC

Opening Session (by invitation only)





Photo Session


Local/Ha Noi



2:30 - 3:45


Session 1: The South China Sea in the time of turbulences

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

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.

Mr. Greg Poling, Director, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), USA

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

H.E. Amb. Bilahari Kausikan, Former Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, Singapore

Dr. Philips J. Vermonte, Executive Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia

Professor Anne-Marie Brady, Professor in Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


Coffee Break


Local/Ha Noi





4:00 – 5:15


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

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

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?

Mr. Muhd Shahrul Nizzam Bin Umar, Director, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHBIDSS), Brunei

Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Indonesia

Dr. Chheang Vannarith, President, Asian Vision Institute, Cambodia

Mr. Shahriman Lockman, Fellow, Foreign Policy and Security Studies Division, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia

Dr. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Senior Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Thailand

Mr. Richard Javad Heydarian, Fellow, ADR-Stratbase Institute, Philippines




Local/Ha Noi

6:45 – 7:15



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


Coffee break


Local/Ha Noi





7:30 – 8:45



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

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

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 debate” 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.

Ms. Nguyen Thanh Ha, Vice Secretary-General, Viet Nam Society of International Law, Viet Nam

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

Prof. Lei Xiaolu, Lecturer, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University, China

Dr. Damos Agusman, Director General, International Law and Treaties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Indonesia

Mr. Andrew Murdoch, Legal Director at the UK Foreign,  Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom

Mrs. Sandrine Barbier, Deputy Director Legal Affairs, French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France

Commander Jonathan G. Odom, Military Professor of International Law, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, USA


Coffee Break


Local/Ha Noi







9:00 – 10:15


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

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

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?

Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran, Senior Columnist, The Diplomat and Fellow, Wilson Center’s Asia Program, USA

Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro, Center Fellow, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, USA

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

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

Ms. Kristin Huang, Correspondent, China desk, The South China Morning Post, China

Mr. David Hutt, Southeast Asia Columnist, The Diplomat


18:30 – 21:00

Local/ Ha Noi


 Welcome Dinner (By invitations only)

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

17 NOVEMBER 2020


Local/Ha Noi







2:00 – 3:15


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

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

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.

Prof. Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales (UNSW), and Director of Thayer Consultancy, Australia

Prof. Pan Junwu, Vice Dean of the School of International Law, Northwest University of Political Science and Law (NWUPL), China

Ms. Ksenia Kuzmina, Program Manager (Head of Program) for Asia Pacific. Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Russia

Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), Director General, National Maritime Foundation (NMF), India

Vice Admiral Yoji Koda (Retd), Former Commander in Chief, Japan Self Defence Fleet (JSDF), Japan

Capt. Martin A. Sebastian, Former Senior Fellow/Centre Head, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), Malaysia




Coffee Break



Local/Ha Noi






3:30 – 4:45


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

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

Protecting the fish stocks, developing fisheries, and supporting and managing fishermen activities are three different aspects of the 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.

Dr. Ricardo Federizon, Senior Fisheries Management Coordinator, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

Prof. Stein Tonnesson, Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway

Dr. Yi-Che Shih, Assistant Professor, National Cheng Kung University, Chinese Taipei

Mr. Gilang Kembara, Researcher, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia

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

Mr. Alex Douglas, Project Manager, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue




Local/Ha Noi






6:30 – 7:45


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

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

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 stakeholders 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.

Prof. Marie Antonette Meñez, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines

Dr. Nguyễn Chu Hồi, Retired Assoc. Prof. Dr. of Viet Nam National University (VNU) and is Standing Vice-Chairman of Viet Nam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS), Viet Nam

Dr. Sukjoon Yoon, Retired Captain of the Republic of Korea Navy, Senior Research Fellow at the Korea Institute for Military Affairs (KIMA), Republic of Korea

Dr. Peter Townsend Harris, Managing Director, GRID-Arendal, Norway

Mr. James Borton, Non-Resident Fellow Tufts University Science Diplomacy Center, USA

Dr. Erik Franckx, Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Acting President of the Belgian Society of International Law, Belgium


Coffee Break


Local/Ha Noi







8:00 – 9:15


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

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

Developing a 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's 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?

Dr. Ding Duo, Deputy Director, Research Center for Oceans Law and Policy, National Institute for South China Sea Studies, China

Ms. Fanny Quertamp, Viet Nam Senior Advisor, Project “Rethinking plastics-circular economy solutions to marine litter”

Cdr (Dr) Kapil Narula, Honorary Adjunct Fellow, National Maritime Foundation, India

Dr. Lance Beath, Senior Fellow, Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Dr. Koldunova Ekaterina, Associate Professor, Department of Asian and African Studies and Senior Expert, ASEAN Centre, MGIMO University, Russia

Cdr Ang Chin Hup (Retd), Senior Researcher, Centre for Maritime Economics & Industries, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) - Malaysia


Coffee Break


Local/Ha Noi



9:30 – 10:00


Special Session: Young Leaders’ Perspectives

Moderator: Mr. Lai Anh Tu, Research Fellow, Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam

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

Mr. Nguyen Huy Son, Student, Faculty of International Communication and Culture, Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam

Ms. Dita Liliansa, Research fellow, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore

Ms. Lee YingHui, Associate Research Fellow, Maritime Security Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore

Mr. Aristyo Rizka Darmawan, Center for Sustainable Ocean Policy, Faculty of Law, Universitas Indonesia

Mr. Daisuke Kawai, Research Fellow, The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Japan

Ms. Ariel Stenek, Director, Young Leaders Program, Pacific Forum, USA


Concluding Session