January 15, 2018 to January 17, 2018
Sanya, Hainan, China

This round of our maritime Track II dialogue was held in Sanya, Hainan Province, China. The American delegation of legal experts was again led by Stephen Orlins, the National Committee’s president, and 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. The group continued its discussion of what process or processes might be undertaken to improve the situation in the South China Sea, to avoid crises, and to lead toward resolution of disputes and a mutually acceptable outcome.

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. More importantly, our participants came up with a list of ideas for managing tensions in this complex relationship that will be recommended to decision-makers on both sides.

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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