July 26, 2017 to July 28, 2017
Provincetown, MA

At this round of our maritime Track II dialogue, held in Provincetown, Massachusetts, 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 National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS). 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, political and military 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 role of international law in dispute resolution, territorial sovereignty and joint development, the legal and strategic meaning of China’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, maritime jurisdiction 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 during this crucial period of uncertainty. Our participants agreed that the overall relationship between the United States and China has many areas of cooperation and even co-dependence. These should help serve as stabilizing forces if tensions in the maritime domain become too severe. Therefore, it is important for the United States and China to accept that the South China Sea will be a zone of overlapping strategic interests and to devise effective mechanisms to maintain stability between us despite this new aspect of competition in our relationship. 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.

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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