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KAS and Partners Stage Maritime Security Forum

Posted: 2017-12-04


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Last November 24, 2017, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC) and the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB), held a conference entitled Changing Realities of Regional Security: Political and Economic Perspectives from Asia and Beyond at the New World Hotel, Makati City.

The conference served as a venue for various stakeholders to discuss and debate recent developments in maritime security, particularly in light of the current situation in the West Philippine Sea.

After opening remarks delivered by KAS Resident Representative for the Philippines Benedikt Seeman and AIM RSN PCC Executive Director Dr. Jamil Paolo Francisco, Department of Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, Jr. delivered the keynote address on behalf of Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The morning session on The Political Implications of Maritime Security Within Asia and on EU-ASEAN Interregional Relations was opened by Dr. Jay Batongbacal, Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea at the University of the Philippines College of Law. He discussed the legal issues of maritime security, focusing on the July 2016 decision by the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal on the Philippines' sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

Dr. Sebastian Bersick, Professor of International Political Economy of East Asia and Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies of Ruhr-Universität Bochum, discussed the nature of EU-ASEAN relations and security issues. He noted how the EU is becoming increasingly involved in ASEAN affairs despite its geographical and political distance.

Ms. Theresa Fallon, Director of the Centre for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies, focused on interregional relations between the EU and ASEAN in light of China's recent foreign policy. Finally, Lt. Gen. Datuk Dr. William Stevenson, Senior Deputy Director of the National Strategy Unity of Malaysia's Ministry of Finance, emphasized trade relations between the EU, ASEAN, and China. He also covered Malaysia's maritime security strategy. A lively open forum, moderated by Professor Julio Teehankee of the De La Salle University, followed where participants and panelists discussed the potential of joint development of resources in the South China Sea among other topics.

The afternoon session covered the Effects of Maritime Security on Economic, Social, and Cultural Development within Asia and on EU-ASEAN Relations. Dr. K.S. Balakrishnan, Senior Lecturer with the Department of International and Strategic Studies at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, discussed the historical context of tensions in the South China Sea and the strategy of ASEAN and individual Asian economies in dealing with China.

Dr. Naila Maier-Knapp, SEATIDE Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics, Magdalene College and King's College, University of Cambridge, covered the history of diplomatic and economic ties between ASEAN and the EU, beginning with the 1978 ASEAN-European Community Ministerial Meeting. Dr. Ronald Mendoza, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government discussed how the Philippines might adapt to its increasing economic dependence on China, with particular focus on developing the mining processing sector. Finally, Dr. Tim Summers, Senior Consulting Fellow of the Asia Programme at Chatham House discussed examined China's increasing assertiveness in regional affairs. According to him, China’s tough position can go one of three ways: a status quo of oscillating tensions, an increase in China’s aggression, or an improvement in negotiations.

The second open forum was moderated by Mr. Richard Heydarian, Non-Resident Fellow at ADR-Stratbase Institute, and featured discussion on domestic polictics in Malaysia and how China's assertiveness may affect the ongoing process of ASEAN integration.

Department of Foreign Affaird Undersecratary for International Economic Relations Manuel Antonio Teehankee synthesized the day's discussions and delivered the event's closing remarks.


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