Trouble in the South China Sea no more ‐ or more to come?

ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
map of pacific islands

Event details


Date & time

Monday 25 July 2016


Griffin Room, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Professor Hugh White, Dr Lowell Bautista, and Dr Imelda Deinla, moderated by Professor Hall Hill, ANU.


6125 3948

Additional links

On 12 July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and that China encroached on these rights with its fishing and petroleum exploration and by constructing artificial islands.

Numerous country claims over the South China Sea have been a source of territorial and diplomatic contention for several decades. The tension between China and the Philippines escalated in a tense but bloodless confrontation off the Scarborough Shoal in 2012. After decades of contentious claims among neighbouring countries, the Philippines brought to the international court the case against China in 2013.

But what does the ruling really mean? Does it matter?

China has oft‐repeated that it does not recognise the Court’s authority, refused to take part in the process, and as expected, rejected the tribunal’s ruling.  The court has no legal authority to enforce the ruling so what happens next?  On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping pronounced that China is “committed to resolving disputes with its neighbours”. Likewise, newly‐elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is open to bilateral talks with China.

Will this small victory for the Philippines embolden other country‐claimants? Will the ASEAN community band together to support its member countries’ claims against China and usher in a new order of cooperation in the region? Or will the Hague ruling be a source of further escalation of tension among interested countries?

Join us in this seminar to deliberate the prospects and implications of this landmark ruling. ANU Crawford School Emeritus Professor Hall Hill will moderate the panel discussion.

This event is hosted by RegNet and The Philippines Project, a joint initiative between the College of Asia and the Pacific and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

About the Speakers

  • Professor Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU.  
  • Dr Lowell Bautista is a Lecturer at the School of Law and a Staff Member at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)  of the University of Wollongong.
  • Dr Imelda Deinla is a Postdoctoral Fellow at RegNet.

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team