The US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted the fourth annual seminar on the East Sea in Washington on July 10, bringing together leading world scholars from the US, China, India, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The scholars performed an in-depth analysis of the recent developments in the East Sea following the illegal placement by China of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf and the Philippines' lawsuit against China in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
At the seminar, participants gave recommendations, particularly with the US on measures to deal with the increasingly aggressive actions by China aiming to ease tension and maintain stability in the region.
During the two-day seminar, two Vietnamese researchers - Tran Truong Thuy from the East Sea Research Foundation (ESRF) and Vu Hai Dang from the Vietnam Lawyers' Association - in their capacity as major speakers said that China's illegal stationing of its giant drilling platform in Vietnam's territorial waters is a turning point signifying a new level of China's assertiveness.
The two scholars asked the US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take the lead in formulating a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and support the use of peaceful means to resolve disputes including judgment through an international arbitration mechanism.
Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that US diplomatic strategy with China in the East China Sea has proven ineffective so far. The more the confrontation in the East China Sea is prolonged, the more likely armed conflict will occur.
He emphasizes that his nation not only strengthens its alliances and existing friendly relations, but also needs to build new relationships in Asia, both in terms of trade and security. He also urged the US Government to raise a stronger and direct voice about diplomacy with China.
Scholar Patrick Cronin, CSIS Asia-Pacific Security Program Director suggested Washington should continue to maintain its presence in the region and closely coordinate with concerned parties to change China's coercive intentions.
Christopher Johnson, CSIS Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has changed view on China's foreign policy, making it more difficult to predict than that of President Hu Jintao.
According to Christopher Johnson, China will continue to "ignore" concern of its neighbors in the East Sea and could use economic power as leverage in relations with these countries. In addition, Beijing will also seek to prevent ASEAN from reaching a consensus through economic dependence.
On July 11, the seminar will continue discussing the prospects of US policy towards the East Sea and cooperation and confidence building to help resolve this hot and thorny problem.
the law of the sea, the east sea, haiyang shiyou 981, exclusive economic zone, vietnam lawyers association, code of conduct, east china sea, east sea, the us, the philippines, illegal placement, oil rig, haiyang shiyou, economic zone, continental shelf
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