Dialogue, not confrontation

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How should conflicting claims in the South China Sea be resolved?
Preferably through peaceful means involving dialogue and consultation aimed at threshing out issues and concerns and then coming up with mutually acceptable solutions.
That was the idea behind the Inaugural Symposium on Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance held in Haikou, China from November 5-6, and it’s a step in the right direction, from where we sit.
The symposium was co-organized by the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea, Institute for China-America Studies and sponsored by the China Institute of the University of Alberta. It brought together over 500 participants from 30 countries and regions, including experts, scholars, diplomats, former politicians and representatives from international organizations either physically present in Haikou or virtually present via an online conferencing system.
The two-day symposium consisted of seven sessions, covering a range of topics: Global Ocean Governance and Regional Practices; Recent Developments and Hotspot Issues in the South China Sea; Maritime Security Cooperation and Risk Management; Regional Order Construction in the South China Sea; Maritime Cooperation: Current Practices and the Future; Frontier Research on Maritime Issues and Capacity Building for Ocean Governance; and New Ideas and Initiatives for Ocean Governance.
Among those who spoke in the symposium were former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; Ambassador Fu Ying, Chairperson of the Center for International Strategy and Security of Tsinghua University; and Michael Lodge, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority. Stephen Orlins, President of the National Committee on US-China Relations and Teresa Cheng, founder of the Asian Institute of International Law, also delivered keynote speeches on the future of China U.S. relations and dispute management in the South China Sea, respectively on different sessions.
In her remarks, Arroyo stressed the importance of China-Philippines relations, and the need to adopt a multifaceted perspective and multi-dimensional approach in dealing with bilateral relations in order to achieve mutually beneficial results.
She reviewed the trilateral cooperation on joint seismic undertaking among the Philippines, China and the Vietnam as well as the successful experience of joint development between Malaysia and Thailand.
The former president explained that joint development should not undermine the legal rights to the claims of related parties, and called for promoting functional cooperation, including fishery resources management among littoral countries of the South China Sea, in order to protect environmental sustainability and enhance prosperity.

https://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/about-town-by-ernesto-m-hilario/340309/dialogue-not-confrontation-20201124.html

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