The South China Sea is an ever-increasing source of
tension in the Asia pacific region—one that could even lead to direct
conflict between the United States and China. The recent ruling by the
tribunal in the Philippines vs. China arbitration case has attracted
global attention and generated a lot of discussion and concerns
regarding the future peace and security in the Asia Pacific region.
Diplomacy professor Zheng Wang
is an internationally recognized expert on the South China Sea conflict
and has been an active commentator on the recent new developments. Read
his most recent article here.
In his recent article following the ruling, Wang discussed several important lessons that China can learn from this arbitration case, especially regarding decision making, policy research, attitudes and perception, and communication. He believes that there exists a huge perception gap regarding the South China Sea disputes. To a large extent the current South China Sea disputes are built upon perceptions and misperceptions from the media, education, and social discourse both inside and outside China. Wang says, “Unfortunately, the ruling from the arbitration tribunal will not bring any solution to the tension in the South China Sea; most likely it will only add new uncertainties and danger to the situation.”
In another article, Wang reviews China’s negotiation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and how China advocated for the interests of third world countries in negotiating Exclusive Economic Zones through the UNCLOS in 1970s and 1980s. Wang says, “China’s negotiation of UNCLOS provides a good case study to understand China’s foreign policy making and its attitude toward international law and international treaties.”
Read the full article here.
Wang also published a Chinese article at The Financial
Times Chinese. This article urges China to improve its understanding on
international law. He also commented that conflict resolution is an
interdisciplinary new field of study has not been fully introduced in
China, and therefore people there are not very familiar with the
practice of arbitration and other dispute resolution techniques. This
article generated heated discussion inside China.
Read the Chinese article here.
A few weeks ago, Wang also published another op-ed which emphasizes the importance of dialogue and communication between the US and China on the South China Sea. One of his co-authors of this article is Sharon Burke, the former assistant secretary of defense.
Read the article here.
Wang is currently writing a book titled “Maritime Conflicts, Nationalism and China’s New Diplomacy,” with support from a New America Foundation fellowship that he received in 2015.
In recent years, Wang was also awarded visiting fellowships with research projects on the South China Sea disputes. These include a fellowship from the China Center for the South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University in Nanjing, China, in 2015, and another from the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore in 2012.
Wang has written several other articles on the South China Sea conflict in the past year, which were published in “Asian Survey,” an academic journal, and “The Diplomat,” a current-affairs magazine. He is the Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations.
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