Viribus Mari Victoria? Power and Law in the South China Sea - Peter Dutton, U.S. Naval War College

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Prof. Peter Dutton is a Professor of Strategic Studies and Director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. Professor Dutton's current research focuses on American and Chinese views of sovereignty and international law of the sea and the strategic implicationsto the United States and the United States Navy of Chinese international law and policy choices.

Selected recent publications include: Military Activities in the EEZ: A U.S.-China Dialogue for Security in the Maritime Commons (December 2010), Caelum Liberam: Air Defense Identification Zones Outside Sovereign Airspace (American Journal of International Law, October 2009), Charting a Course: US-China Cooperation atSea (China Security, April 2009), Scouting, Signaling and Gate-Keeping: Chinese Naval Operations in Japanese Waters and the International Law Implications (China Maritime Studies Monograph, April 2009), and Carving Up the East China Sea (Naval War College Review, Spring 2007). Additionally, Professor Dutton has testified before the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission on Chinese Perspectives on Sovereignty and Access Control (February 2008) and on the Implications of Chinese Naval Modernization (June 2009). Additionally, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Maritime Disputes and Sovereignty Issues in East Asia (July 2009). Professor Dutton also researches and lectures on topics related to international law of the sea issues in the East and South China Seas, East and Southeast Asia, the Arctic, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and Maritime Strategy. He is a retired Navy Judge Advocate and holds a Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary, a Master's of Arts (with distinction) from Naval War College, and a Bachelor's of Science (cum laude) from Boston University.

Chinese Aerospace Development: Comprehensiveness, Converging Sectors

Andrew Erickson, Professor at the US Naval War College

Andrew EricksonOn April 16, 2014, Professor Andrew Erickson from the US Naval War College spoke on China's aerospace development. Prefacing his talk, he emphasized that, In conducting his research, he does not review any classified documents in order to lecture and write freely about Chinese aerospace development.

In recent decades, Chinese aerospace industry has improved at a rapid pace. Although the technological capabilities remain uneven, the gap has closed dramatically since the Cold War. It is no puzzle why China wants to advance their aerospace program. For one, there is a huge demand for aerospace technology in civil and military markets. The Chinese feel like they have to play in the Chinese domestic market in order to tap into growth.

Unfortunately, there are many obstacles Chinese aerospace companies will have to overcome before they fill the needs of their domestic markets. Aircraft is incredibly hard to develop. Many Western analysts remain pessimistic about China’s aviation sector arguing that China must be transformed before they can found a successful aviation program. However, Dr. Erickson disagrees with these analysts, purporting instead that China is at a place where it can achieve advancements in aerospace technology. Dr. Erickson explains that in the aerospace industry, development is a result of sophistication (technology mastered) and resources (people, time and money). China has the resources to commit to aviation development and has had success targeting other areas for technological development.

Currently, China has enough resources to fund projects across the board and has access to outside technology. The large parent organization for the Chinese aviation industry is extremely well resourced and has a sophisticated level of organizational innovation. However, this organizational innovation has not translated into technological innovation. Most of the aircraft models being produced in China are clones of foreign models. This is but a temporal stage as China is running into some of the same problems that the US aviation industry faced during the Cold War. However, with the amount of resources and manpower that China is willing to commit to the task, the learning curve will be steep. Even so, there is the possibility that China will always lag behind in the technological timeline. China may be moving ahead but the rest of the world also pushes forward. The principle question now is not whether China can make strides in aerospace, but rather what sort of timeline is possible for developing this.

Political Mobilization Among ethnic Tibetans in China and International Implications

Dr. Enze Han, Senior Lecturer - Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London

Enze HanDr. Enze Han gave a talk April 2nd of the “Dynamics of Political Resistance in Tibet and Its International Implications.” He divided the talk into two sections: one part dedicated to understanding the problem of the 2008 protests and the complications the political uprisings cause with other countries.

The Tibet issue has its roots in a complex history. Although the Mongol Dynasty maintained good relations with Tibet, it was not until the Chin emperor that an institutional influence spread over Tibet. In 1951, Tibet signed a written agreement with Beijing. However, political turmoil followed after the exile of the Dalai Lama since 1959. CIA influence and guerilla warfare continued until the early 1970s. After mass protest movements in late 1980s, Tibet was put on martial law.

The recent 2008 protest movement is the largest movement since the late 80s. Although the protests were not uniform across the county, more than 100 protests erupted, most close to the border between Tibet and China Proper. The timing of the movements was not random. They occurred on March 10th—the anniversary of 1950s revolt. They happened the year that Beijing was set to host the Summer Olympics, which made China the center of international focus. The use of technology, especially cell phones, made information easier to obtain and spread. Although timing is an important explanation for the protests, the movements still have root in the religious oppression that Tibetan Buddhists face from the Chinese government.

Dr. Han’s research shows that counties with more monasteries experienced more protests in 2008. Areas with more Han Chinese experienced less protests, a phenomena consistent with theory of ethno-conflict. Tibet holds political significance to American foreign policy as it influences the policies and relationships that the United States maintains with China.

Why the US Cannot Count on China to push North Korea to Denuclearize

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Director of Asia-Pacific Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace

Stephanie Kleine-AhlbrandtOn Wednesday, February 12th, Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Director of Asia-Pacific Programs at the United States Institute of Peace gave a talk on “Why the US Cannot Count on China to Denuclearize North Korea.”

Ms. Kleine-Ahlbrant first discussed on the amount of influence China holds over North Korea. The North Koreans are completely dependent on China in terms of trade. Forty-five (45) percent of food and eighty (80) percent of consumer goods come into North Korea by way of China. The Chinese supply all the external energy, like jet fuel and coal, for the country in mostly off-the-books transactions. Chinese companies have also moved to set-up mining operations in North Korea. Chinese businessmen, particularly those from the DongBei province near the border, make a substantial amount of money running high-risk trades that yield high returns. Because no one else does business with North Korea, the businessmen can set arbitrarily high prices.

Although there are financial sanctions that are currently being used against North Korea, Ms. Kleine-Ahlbrant noted that China has a say in the details of the sanctions and use their influence to engineer significant carve-outs. These financial sanctions have almost no effect on trade and drive more economic activity underground.

The United States has pushed for China to do more to contain North Korea’s nuclear threat in recent history. However, North Korea’s activities do not have as high a priority on China’s agenda as it does on the US agenda. Although the Chinese government does not view Kim Jung Un favorably, they are nervous of asserting influence over the North Korean governments actions fearing the country’s collapse or the possibility of North Korea becoming an ally with the United States. China is prepared to live with a nuclear North Korea as long as the project remains small and does not increase American influence in the region. Because China is suspicious of US intentions in Asia, they are reluctant to flex their diplomatic muscles to force North Korea into denuclearization.

US policy makers must think of new ways to approach the North Korea question, as current situation does not produce effective results.

China and the Challenge of Maritime Disputes

Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor at MIT

Taylor FravelOn November 6, 2013, Professor Taylor Fravel gave a talk on the challenges China faces in maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and the nation's growing maritime power, which has helped cause controversy with several neighboring states.

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China, Global Governance, and the Making of a Distant Water Fishing Nation

Tabitha Mallory, CWP Postdoctoral Fellow

Tabitha MalloryOn October 17, 2013, Tabitha Mallory gave a lecture entitled “China, Global Governance, and the Making of a Distant Water Fishing Nation.”

Fisheries are important for a variety of reasons. Fish is an important source of food, and is the primary source of protein for over one billion people, thus fisheries are important for food security. As one of the most highly traded food commodities, fisheries contribute significantly to the global economy with fish trade being worth $106 billion annually. Fish are also important for biodiversity and for scientific research. But fisheries are under severe strain, with 87 percent of global fisheries fully exploited, overexploited or depleted as of 2010.

China is the world’s largest producer of seafood, and therefore China’s fishing activities have significant implications for the sustainability of the world’s fish stocks. While much of China’s seafood production is from aquaculture and domestic marine production, China’s fishing activities in areas beyond China’s national jurisdiction, for example on the high seas and in Africa and Oceania, has been expanding. China’s “distant water fishing” (DWF) industry was launched in 1985 and today is the world’s largest in terms of vessel numbers. While China largely follows international rules on fisheries management, China tends to comply more with the letter of the law than cooperate with the spirit of the law. For example, even though China is a member of a number of regional fisheries management organizations according to international laws, Chinese fishing fleets vastly underreport their DWF catch and operate illegally in more countries than they have licenses for. Measures like removing fisheries subsidies; enacting port-state legislation, which would make it illegal to import fish caught illegally; and encouraging China to participate in multilateral coast guard partnerships are some policy recommendations that would ameliorate this problem, though developed countries also need to examine how their own fishing behavior has contributed to depleted fish stocks as well.

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Hedging in International Relations: ASEAN States' Responses to a Rising China

Cheng-Chwee Kuik, Associate Professor at the Strategic Studies and International Relations Program, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Cheng-Chwee KuikProfessor Kuik gave a lecture on October 16, 2013, on ASEAN states' reactions to a rising China, a topic based on his project which aims to operationalize the term “hedging” as an alternative conceptual tool to “balancing” and “bandwagoning” for analyzing weaker states’ alignment choices under the condition of uncertainty. He suggests that hedging is best conceived as a strategic behavior that entails three elements: (a) an insistence on not taking sides; (b) a practice of adopting opposite and counteracting measures; and (c) the use of the contradictory acts with an aim to cultivate a fallback position. He argues that while the prevailing structural conditions in the post-Cold War era have compelled all ASEAN states to hedge (except the Philippines under President Aquino III), the weaker states have chosen to hedge in different manners and to different degrees, as a result of their elites' differing pathways of domestic legitimation.

China's Search for Security

Andrew Scobell, RAND Senior Analyst

Andrew ScobellOn October 2, 2013, Andrew Scobell spoke on China's seach for security as it grows as a nation. Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. Understanding China’s foreign policy means fully appreciating these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country gains increasing influence over its neighbors. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell analyze China’s security concerns on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia. By illuminating the issues driving Chinese policy, they offer a new perspective on the country’s rise and a strategy for balancing Chinese and American interests in Asia.

Status (In)security: Taiwan, China and the Politics of International Law

Jacques Delisle - Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science Penn Law

Jacques DelisleOn Sept 30, 2013, Jacques deLisle gave a talk on Taiwan and cross-straits relations. Jacques deLisle’s research and teaching focus on contemporary Chinese law and politics, including: legal reform and its relationship to economic reform and political change in China, the international status of Taiwan and cross-Strait relations, China’s engagement with the international order, legal and political issues in Hong Kong under Chinese rule, and U.S.-China relations. His writings on these subjects appear in a variety of fora, including international relations journals, edited volumes of multidisciplinary scholarship, and Asian studies journals, as well as law reviews. DeLisle is also professor of political science and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Penn and director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has served frequently as an expert witness on issues of P.R.C. law and government policies and is a consultant, lecturer and advisor to legal reform, development and education programs, primarily in China.