As seas provide natural resources and transportation routes, maritime security in East Asia is critical to the future development of all countries in the region. Nevertheless, in East Asia, many countries still continue to be locked in seemingly intractable maritime disputes with their neighbors. Traditionally exclusionist strategic policies, especially among the major powers, as well as armed and military supervised maritime borders in East Asia have served as obstacles to many potential opportunities in the region. In this context, countries in the region are faced with the task and challenge of resolving maritime disputes and using their seas peacefully.
By focusing on East Asia, the project addresses a region of the world with a long history of inter-state disillusionment and the enduring potential for violent conflict, where confidence and trust-building measures are urgently required. Specifically, novel approaches are needed to create win-win situations that enhance bilateral and regional cooperation for mutual benefit and dissolve conflict elements in a manner acceptable to all sides. Through this project, creating an opportunity for regional stakeholders, especially between scholars, military and policy-makers from China, Japan, Korea, the U.S. and ASEAN to engage in research and dialogues on the issue would provide a platform to explore ideas and ways to approach maritime disputes in East Asia and on how to develop the future of the sea as peaceful area for regional cooperation.
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Understanding China’s Position on the South China Sea Disputes
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