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Territory and Conflict: Island Disputes vs. Continental Disputes

Issue Briefings 17 • 2017

By Philip Streich

Territorial disputes are the most frequently cited cause of wars in history, but do states fight as frequently over islands? This article shows that island disputes are less likely to escalate into deadly conflict.

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Guest Lecture with Bill Hayton: “The Modern Origins of China’s Claims in the South China Sea”

On September 8, 2017, the South China Sea Think Tank hosted a Guest Lecture with Bill Hayton (@bill_hayton) on “The Modern Origins of China’s Claims in the South China Sea”. Hayton is an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House, a BBC journalist, and the author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia.

The event was attended by over 70 people, including local and international scholars, government and military officials, graduate students, and media. Supporting organizations included the Asia-Pacific Policy Research Association, Taiwan Center for Security Studies, Institute of Marine Affairs and Policy, and Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University.

Opening remarks were given by Jonathan Spangler (@jsymmetry), Director of the South China Sea Think Tank, and Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu (劉復國), Executive Director of the Taiwan Center for Security Studies. Hayton’s lecture focused on how China’s claims emerged between 1909 and 1948 under different governments in response to the actions of other countries. He has also stressed that his findings are not the last word in writing the story of the South China Sea disputes.

During the roundtable following the lecture, Yann-huei Song (宋燕輝), a Research Fellow with the Institute of European and American Studies at Academia Sinica, and Dustin Kuan-Hsiung Wang (王冠雄), Secretary General of the Institute of Marine Affairs and Policy, offered their responses to Hayton’s remarks and contributed to an active dialogue among the speakers and audience members at the end of the session.

South China Sea Think Tank, along with our distinguished guests and institutional partners at the event, encourages active debate on the issue in line with its mission of promoting dialogue, research, and education. All are welcome to join the dialogue by submitting to Issue Briefings or making a proposal for one of our other publications.

For more information about the event, check out the following links:

Presentations from the International Conference on Maritime Challenges and Market Opportunities

Maritime disputes have emerged as major potential flashpoints in the Asia-Pacific region. The tense confrontations that have threatened regional security and stability are fueled by the complex historical relationships between countries, disagreement over maritime sovereignty issues, divergent understandings of international law, and many countries’ relentless pursuit of their national interests. Yet oceans need not be a source of regional tensions. On the contrary, these vast maritime expanses provide opportunities for cooperation among all relevant stakeholders. Oceans are crucial to international trade, global development, and human wellbeing and will play an increasingly significant in the global economy in the future.

To broaden our knowledge of the relationship between regional maritime and global economic issues, Taiwan Center for Security Studies (TCSS) hosted the International Conference on Maritime Challenges and Market Opportunities: “Facilitating Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific” on August 29–30, 2017, which was attended by domestic and foreign participants from academia and industry. In addition to maritime security and geopolitical issues, the conference also explored other key topics related to maritime affairs, including the sustainability of the ocean economy, fishing, shipbuilding, maritime energy (e.g. tidal power, offshore wind energy), seabed resources, emerging blue-water technologies, maritime startups, marine environmental protection, marine tourism, and the oceanic cultural and creative industries.

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HNTv: China warns US to remove warship from South China Sea

UNI: US Navy conducts first freedom of navigation operation under Trump

CNN: USS Dewey guided missile destroyer sails in South China Sea

Reuters: Manila soothes concerns over ‘war’ with China

Philippine Daily Inquirer: Duterte says China threatened war if he presses the Philippines’ claim

CGTN: Can a new framework on South China Sea bring Beijing and Manila closer?

CGTN: China’s first gas hydrate extraction successful

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