The 5th Ocean Dialogue: ASEAN Cooperation in the South China Sea
On 18. June 2019, KAS Vietnam and its partner, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), hosted the fifth Ocean Dialogue. The event consisted of a thorough discussion between regional and international experts which discussed the possibilities and difficulties of ASEAN cooperation concerning the South China Sea dispute. Geographically, the dispute lies at the heart of ASEAN and is troubling the region ever since. At the centre of the discussion were traditional key issues such as the high-military equipment and the Sino-US competition in the region as well as non-traditional issues, for instance environmental-pollution and how a future cooperation in the region could look like. Mr. Edcel Ibarra, from the Philippines' Foreign Service Institute, elaborated two possible future senarios: The ASEAN + and the ASEAN – cases. In the first one, the non-claiming states would be engaged in multilateral agreements and discussions while in the second one, only claiming states would participate in the talks, which would have a huge risk of marginalizing the other states. Participants had the opportunity to share their opinions and raise questions in the end.
The dispute remains topical which is why KAS and its partner (DAV) are looking forward to the next Ocean Dialogue.