June 29, 2016 to June 30, 2016
New York, NY

At this year's dialogue, held in New York, the American delegation of legal experts was again led by Stephen Orlins, the National Committee’s president, and Jerome Cohen, professor of law and founder and co-director of U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University. The Chinese side was chaired by Dr. Wu Shicun, the president of NISCSS, and Major Gen. (Rtd) Qian Lihua, former director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. Accomplished experts on international law and maritime disputes composed both delegations.

The two sides met for a day and a half and all participants actively participated in candid and constructive discussions on legal and political aspects of China’s maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas. The issues these legal experts focused on included the present status and upcoming ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague on the Philippines’ UNCLOS Annex VII arbitration against China, territorial sovereignty, the legal and strategic meaning of China’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, maritime jurisdiction, international and institutionalized dispute resolution approaches as well as security issues in the East and South China Seas.

This dialogue allowed the participants to come to greater understanding of the motivations of the many players in this issue, providing insight that could inform Chinese and American official decision-making. We had also invited Robert Beckman, director of Centre for International Law and associate professor at National University of Singapore to be our dinner speaker to provide a different perspective. Furthermore, together the expert from both sides explored the function of international law and institutional dispute resolution mechanisms in helping resolve and manage the current disputes and raised important and creative recommendations for possible ways managing these disputes. Both sides felt the dialogue was significantly productive in advancing mutual understandings of the issues regarding maritime disputes, the U.S.-China relationship, and regional relations of current importance to both China and the United States.

NISCSS Participants (National Insitiute for South China Sea Studies)

  • Wu Shicun, President, National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS)
  • Qian Lihua, Former Director-General, Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defense; Member, National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
  • Zhang Junshe, Senior Researcher, People’s Liberation Army Naval Research Institute
  • Zhang Xinjun, Professor, Tsinghua University
  • Song Yann-Huei, Professor, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Kuan-Hsiung Wang, Professor, Graduate Institute of Political Science, Taiwan Normal University
  • Hong Nong, Executive Director and Senior Fellow, Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS)
  • Sourabh Gupta, Senior Fellow, ICAS
  • Aleksander Chance, Coordinator and Research Fellow, China-U.S. Cooperation Program, Institute for China-America Studies; Dialogue Rapporteur

American Participants

  • Jerome A. Cohen, Professor of Law and Founder and Co-Director, U.S. Asia Law Institute,  New York University;  Of counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Peter A. Dutton, Professor and Director, China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • M. Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science and Member of the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Julian G. Ku, Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law & Faculty Director of International Programs, Hofstra Law
  • Michael McDevitt, Senior Fellow, Strategic Studies, Center for Naval Analyses
  • Stephen A. Orlins, President, National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUSCR)
  • J. Ashley Roach, Captain, JAGC, USN (ret.), Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State (retired)
  • Haini Guo, Senior Program Officer for Law and Economics Initiatives, NCUSCR
  • Isaac Kardon, Ph.D. Candidate, Government Department, Cornell University; Adjunct Research Fellow, National Defense University; Dialogue Rapporteur
U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Issues & International Law

U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Maritime Issues & International Law

This dialogue convenes American and Chinese legal experts to explore the issues surrounding China’s recent maritime disputes and escalated tensions in the Pacific, better understand the impact on regional and U.S.-China relations, and provide suggestions for improving the management and settlement of current disputes.

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