Best Quotes from the Second International Workshop on the South China Sea

November 11-12, 2010

Su Hao & Ren Yuan-Zhe

“It is hoped that East Asian countries and countries outside the region will work together to turn the South China Sea into a peaceful sea, a communicative sea as well as a sea to advance common development through the promotion of the East Asian integration process. Let the rising seawaters of regional cooperation in East Asia overwhelm the disputed reefs in the South China Sea!”

Bronson Percival

“US policy with regard to the South China Sea has remained consistent for at least fifteen years, but US interest in this area has waxed and waned. As the local strategic situation has evolved, the US has reacted pragmatically and in accordance with long-standing policy.”

Stein Tonnesson

“The most important long term national interests are best served by a policy that does not rely on the use of force, but on pushing for a resolution of the disputes based on international law…it claims that if the top national leaders in the region give sufficient strategic attention to the South China Sea,  fully understand what the law of the sea actually says about maritime delimitation, and act in accordance with their overall national interests, then we are likely to see a resolution of the disputes within the next ten-twenty years.”

Peter Dutton

“Achieving a lasting situation of regional stability will require new approaches. The current pursuits of sovereignty, jurisdiction, and control are win-lose approaches that may result in a settlement based on power alone,  but such settlements may not be final because they do not account for the long-standing mutual interests of others.”

Mark J. Valencia

“The best that can be expected under the current political circumstances- including US pressure and Indonesian leadership of ASEAN beginning in 2011—is to formalize a code of conduct.”

Leszek Buszyknski

“Tensions are indeed rising in the South China Sea which has become a pivotal area for a test of wills between a China that is apparently convinced that America is a declining power, and the US that is determined to prove otherwise.

Tran Truong Thuy

It is high time for China and ASEAN to fully implement the DOC and Beijing should accept a binding regional Code of Conduct, which would protect smaller parties from being intimidated and make them more confident in proceeding with the cooperative activities in the South China Sea, thus preventing other major powers from interfering in the issue.”

Carlyle A. Thayer

“There is likely to be some progress in implementing confidence building measures in the South China Sea but that sovereignty claims will remain intractable.”

Fu-Kuo Liu

“China could face increasing pressures to consider discussion the South China Sea issues on an appropriate multilateral forum.”

Geoffrey Till

“The South China Sea dispute is about the legal and historic status of the islands and waters of the area. But for both China and the US much bigger issues are involved as well.”

Zou Keyuan

“Artificial islands are not only related to territorial and maritime disputes such as in the South China Sea, it concerns as well with maritime security as well as the survival of human beings due to climate change and environmental degradation.”

Robert C. Beckman & Tara Davenport

“If China were to clarify its claim in the South China Sea, it would enhance the legitimacy of its claim and provide a setting for discussions with its neighbors on the only viable long-term solution in the South China Sea, namely, the setting aside of the sovereignty disputes and the establishment of provisional arrangements of a practical nature in the South China Sea, including joint development of the natural resources.”

Erik Franckx & Marco Benatar

“As a matter of international law, the U-line lacks as solid basis, and thus poses problems if maintained as part and parcel of PRC as well as ROC official policy…our hope is that claimant states abandon unilateral cartographic assertions and focus their energies on mutually beneficial outcomes as regards the South China Sea.”

Nguyen Thi Lan Anh

“It would be better for the parties in the South China Sea dispute to shelve the sovereignty claims and cooperate with each other to develop a joint cooperation regime in the doughnut area.”

Ramses Amer

“Despite positive developments a number of bilateral disputes remain to be settled. Some multilateral disputes situations are also unsettled and the situation in and around the Spratly archipelago is considered the most serious from a regional perspective.”

Nguyen Hong Thao

“Any solution to the problems of the South China Sea would attract global attention. Any moves undertaken without considering the interests of other countries will caught public attention and provoke balancing acts aiming at maintaining peace and development in the region.”

Henry S. Bensurto, Jr.

“While the South China Sea, with all its complexities, is a potential conflict area, it may also be an area of cooperation with vast potential benefits to the different stakeholders.”

Rodolfo C. Severino

“Tensions, instability, volatility and the likelihood of conflict could be reduced if each claimant were to bring its position closer to compliance with UNCLOS and if all of them were to arrive at further agreement on each of the elements of the DOC.”

Alberto A. Encomienda

“It is about the bottom-line being sovereignty issues that could take infinity to reach a settlement. Sovereignty issues must be put aside in the South China issues to move on.”

Ian Storey

“Tensions are rising in the South China Sea due to a combination of factors including the failure of ASEAN and China to implement cooperative confidence building measures outlined in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).”

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