Best Quotes from the Third South China Sea Workshop in Hanoi

Hanoi, 4-5 November, 2011

Rodolfo C. Severino, Head of ASEAN Studies Center, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

“The question ought to be asked: What if a claimant-country finds that the rule of law, to which all are committed, clashes with what it perceives as its vital or core national or regional interests?”

Geoffrey Till, Maritime Security Programme, RSIS, Singapore

“Given the possible impact of Sino-American strategic rivalry on the evolving South China Sea dispute, improving the relationship between those two countries and in particular on their military-military relationship through such the Military Consultative Agreement must be considered even more important”

Bronson Percival, Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center, Washington

“China has presented the United States with a golden opportunity to reaffirm a principled stand on South China Sea issues and thus strengthen its alliances and partnerships with other states in Asia.”

“The American pivot to Asia is inevitable, though it may not proceed quite as smoothly as predicted by Secretary Clinton”.

“lf it turns out that China is set on a path of “incremental imperialism” on the water, the South China Sea is likely to remain high on the American agenda in Asia”

Prof. Su Hao, China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing

“China and other claimant nations in the South China Sea should all “put their feet into other’s shoes.”

“China really and actually possesses abundant historical records to prove its sovereign rights over most islands in the South China Sea, can refer to sufficient legal principles in the international law to support its claims, and has enough economic and military power to realize its claims. Nevertheless, Chinese government still adopts rational attitude and responsible acts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

Vijay Sakhuja, Research Director at the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

“China is a competitor and would evolve to be a threat for India in the future as it consolidates its power potential.”

“India can play a constructive role in South China sea”

Evgeny Kanaev, Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, IMEMO RAS, Moscow, Russia

“Widening the spectrum of leverages to influence upon the issue in a calming way becomes an immediate priority. In this light, the potential of Russia’s contribution to moving towards this scenario is worth developing.”

Ha Anh Tuan, Unversity of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

“ASEAN has interests, responsibilities, and the ability to actively engage in the issue and contribute to the settlement of the dispute.”

Li Jianwei and Chen Pingping, Research Center for Maritime Law and Policy, National Institute for the South China Sea Studies, China

“Since China and Vietnam avow to settle the dispute in peaceful means through dialogues and negotiations on the basis of mutual respect as well as in line with the general principles of international, cooperation ware urgently need in coordination and cooperation to create an environment conductive to the final settlement. Cooperation in the media area should be promoted in the future.”

General (rtd) Daniel Shaeffer, French think tank Asie 21

“Unless a huge common diplomatic and political pressure is exerted on China, China will firmly want to extend and reinforce its grasp over the South China Sea.”

“South China Sea is an international waterways and such a statute must remain as such in its full integrity and not under the control of a single nation only.”

Tran Truong Thuy, Director of Center for East Sea Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

“To promote regional security and cooperation, China and ASEAN should finalize a legally binding regional COC, which would lessen the threat of intimidations for the parties concerned and enable them to be more confident to proceed with further cooperation activities in the South China Sea.”

Ian Storey, Senior Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

“In addition to China’s intransigence, conflict management and a resolution of the South China Sea dispute has been hindered by problems of inter-ASEAN dynamics, and especially the issue of consensus”

Prof. Ramses Amer, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Pacific Asia Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden

“The enhanced mechanism agreed upon in the “Agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues” and the Joint Statement between China and Vietnam, will reduce the risk of renewed tension and if tensions do occur the more sophisticated mechanisms to deal with such situations will have a positive impact.”

Prof. Carlyle A. Thayer, The University of New South Wales at the Australian Defense Force Academy

“Bilateral arrangements between China and other claimant states is a necessary but not sufficient condition for maintaining security in the South China Sea as long as China continues to assert “indisputable sovereignty” over the maritime area.”

Prof. Koichi Sato, College of Liberal Arts, J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo, Japan

“The fraternal China and the confrontational China, both of them are reality. If so, the East Asian neighbors and the United States may regard China a multi-headed dragon, so they cannot easily be unified.”

“The author hopes that China will be a responsible stake-holder for the peace and prosperity of East Asia.”

Prof. Renato Cruz De Castro, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

“China is using the following power-politics tactics with regard to its territorial claims: a) citing a historic claim; b) applying bilateral approach to weaken the ASEAN; c) relying on a divide and rule stratagem in dealing with individual ASEAN member states and creating a wedge between the ASEAN and the United States; and d) buttressing its naval capabilities to enable it resolve the territorial dispute according to its own terms.”

Dr S.D. Pradhan, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, India

“While the nations would come up with their version of COC, the involved nations must accept certain basic terms with a view to transform the South China Sea issue into a maritime control issue designed to promote peace, friendship and trade.”

Prof. Stein Tonnession, Peace Research Institute OSLO

“The law of the sea should be written at the convention of the law of the South China Sea for the South China Sea and at another convention for the East China Sea by the nations sharing the sea. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a product of justifying the Western Imperialism based on exploration and exploitation should not be factor to the Asian conventions.”

Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, Deputy Director of Center for East Sea Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

“The specific characteristics of the South China Sea show that the interpretation and application of the provisions of UNCLOS in good faith is vital but not sufficient. The littoral states, particularly the claimants to the dispute should be based on the Convention to develop a legal documents of the region, e.g. in the form of a legally binding code of conduct, to ensure the uniform application of UNCLOS and thereby effectively control and manage threats to security in the South China Sea.

Leszek Buszynski, Visiting Fellow, Strategic and Defense Studies Center, The Australian National University

“The involvement of the US may not be to China’s liking but it would reduce that pressure on the ASEAN claimants and create the conditions for an uneasy stability, which is the best one can hope for at present.”

Hasjim Djalal, Director, Center for South-East Asian Studies, Indonesia

“Third party mechanism for disputes settlement should also be explored and utilized, such as good offices, mediation, arbitration, and if necessary, adjudication, through the International Court of Justice of the Law of the Sea Tribunal.”

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