YPFP Events

YPFP London & Stephenson Harwood LLP: A bridge over troubled waters? Resolving the South China Sea dispute

July 17, 2013 07:00 pm


Stephenson Harwood LLP
1 Finsbury Circus
EC2M 7SH London
United Kingdom

The potential for military conflict in this region is a cause for concern. Global business, international policy and wider military strategy all stand to be affected.

Overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea have been a source of friction in Asia for decades. In recent years, the political dimensions of the issue have been magnified, with the potentially oil and gas-rich waters lying at the centre of the dispute. Naval manoeuvres have become increasingly antagonistic, while straying fishing vessels have sparked wider diplomatic squabbles.

As China’s new leadership seeks to prove its mettle and establish its military prowess, ASEAN—which includes many of those involved in the dispute—lies divided over prospects for resolution. The situation has become a source of increasing international concern given its potential to ignite broader conflict. America's pivot to Asia puts the territorial claimants in a particularly delicate position.

Is international arbitration the way forward? Or will China’s insistence on bilateral negotiation bear fruit?

Join YPFP London and Stephenson Harwood LLP for a special panel event where we will discuss the dynamics of the dispute, in particular the prospects for resolution and the ramifications for international relations, trade and security. The discussion will be followed by a drinks and networking reception, kindly hosted by Stephenson Harwood.


Speaker profile:

Commodore Neil Brown of the Royal Navy is a barrister and former director of Naval Legal Services. He was the lead military legal adviser in contingency planning for the invasion of Iraq. From 2004 he served as the senior military legal adviser to the Chief of Joint Operations for ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the DROC and the UK’s military response to the tsunami. His three-year appointment as Director of the Royal Navy’s Legal Services saw unprecedented naval legal engagement in operations in Afghanistan, the Arabian Gulf and the Horn of Africa.

Judge David Anderson is a former Second Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Judge of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (1996-2005). He was a member of the UK delegation at the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (1973-1976), and was the leader for UK delegations for maritime boundary negotiations (1982-1996). He has negotiated over a dozen maritime boundary treaties in several different seas and oceans, including the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, the Pacific and the North Atlantic. He is an arbitrator under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Christian Le Mière is the Senior Fellow for Naval Forces and Maritime Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Before joining IISS, he was the editor of Jane’s Intelligence Review and Jane’s Intelligence Weekly, after serving as an Asia analyst at Jane's. Christian has written and spoken extensively on the South China Sea dispute, and his articles have been published in The Guardian, Foreign Affairs and The Independent, among others.

Duncan Innes-Ker heads up a team of analysts covering Asia for The Economist Intelligence Unit. He is also the lead China analyst, and produces the EIU's economic forecasts for the country. Duncan is a frequent commentator for news services such as the BBC and Reuters. He often presents at conferences and events on topics such as the business impact of China's leadership transition in 2012-13, and the rising activity of Chinese corporations overseas. Duncan has also been invited to share his perspectives with a number of senior corporate executives, academics and diplomatic officials.

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