The 8th Session of “Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies”: A Review of the Restructuring of Regional Order and the Issue of South China Sea
On the morning of December 11th, 2020, Zhang Jie, Professor of the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (NIIS CASS), gave a lecture entitled “A Review of the Restructuring of Regional Order and the Issue of South China Sea” to doctoral candidates of Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building of Tsinghua University. This lecture was also the 8th session of “Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies”.
The lecture was comprised of four parts, namely the overview of the South China Sea issue, the transition and restructuring of regional order after the Cold War, the re-examination of the South China Sea issue under the Indian-Pacific strategy, and China’s response. First of all, Prof. Zhang reviewed the situation of the islands in the South China Sea in terms of geographical composition, pointing out that the key point of the South China Sea issue is territorial sovereignty and related maritime rights and interests. Later, she drilled down into the transition and restructuring of regional order after the Cold War and elaborated that the transition took place in two stages. The first stage was from 1989 to 2010, during which a security order dominated by US and a multi-polar economic order were formed. The second stage started in 2010, during which the competition between China and US has intensified, the “dual structure” is prominent, and the dispute of regional order is manifested in the game between China’s plan and US’ India-Pacific strategy. In the third part, Prof. Zhang re-examined the South China Sea issue in the context of India-Pacific strategy, stressing that US has positioned the South China Sea issue as the core security agenda of its India-Pacific strategy, thus enhancing the strategic position of the South China Sea in the regional pattern. The game between China and US has become a key factor in determining the situation in the South China Sea. The differences between China and US on the positioning of the South China Sea issue is not conducive to China’s effective response to US’ containment. Finally, she put forward the idea of a strategic response to US’ strategy, that is, to re-recognize and deal with the South China Sea issue from the perspective of rule-making, system construction and regional order planning.
Prof. Zhang Jie serves as Professor of the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and holds a PhD of History from Peking University. She is also Deputy Director of The Center for Regional Security Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Director of The Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Distinguished Research Fellow of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies and Member of the Editorial Board of Pacific Journal. Her research interest includes China-Southeast Asia relations, South China Sea issue, Southeast Asia country studies and China’s peripheral security studies.
By: Qin Yi