Berlin Conference on Asian Security 2013

Territorial Issues in Asia - Drivers, Instruments, Ways Forward

A conference jointly organised by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP), Berlin, and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Berlin

Berlin, SWP, July 1-2, 2013

Venue: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Ludwigkirchplatz 3-4, D-10719 Berlin (Wilmersdorf)
Contact: Gudrun Wacker (++49-30-88007-265), gudrun.wacker(at), and Anja Bodenmüller (++49-30-88007-449), anja.bodenmueller(at)

The Berlin Conference on Asian Security (BCAS) serves as a forum for exchange between academics and practitioners from Europe, the United States and Asia. Its aim is to generate new ideas and discuss policy implications of evolving dynamics.

The Seventh BCAS will focus on selected territorial issues in the region. We will not only discuss present "hot spots" like Diaoyu/Senkaku or the South China Sea, but also past conflicts that have been either peacefully resolved or simply lost their relevance. We will identify the main drivers of the different conflicts, namely the specific mixture of interests involved for each claimant, e.g. national identity/legitimacy, resources and/or great power rivalry. The forms in which the problem manifests itself and is dealt with (political, economic, military/paramilitary) will also be analyzed.

We will address possible ways forward, based on solutions and approaches that have been successfully used in other cases in Asia or outside the region.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Arrival of overseas participants

Sunday, June 30, 2013

  Arrival of participants


Welcome dinner at KAS headquarters
Dinner speech: Ulrich Schlie, Director General Security and Defence Policy, Federal Ministry of Defence

Monday, July 1, 2013




Opening remarks by Volker Perthes (SWP) and Gerhard Wahlers, (KAS)


Session I: National Identity and Domestic Legitimacy

In this session we will discuss several territorial issues, in which national identity can be seen as the main driver: the Eastern border between China and Russia and the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over Preah Vihear. Which interests were involved on the respective sides? What were the conditions for finding a solution and how was it reached? How is the situation seen today: are all parties satisfied with the solution that has been found?

Chair: Volker Perthes (SWP)
China: Yang Cheng (East China Normal University, Shanghai), »Sino-Russian Border Dynamics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Era: A Chinese Perspective«
Russia: Alexander Lukin (Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow), »The Settlement of the Russian-Chinese Border Dispute«
Indonesia: Rosita Dewi (Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta), »Dispute Settlement of the Thailand – Cambodia Border (Case: Dispute over Preah Vihear Temple)«


Plenary debate


Buffet lunch, SWP lobby


Session II: Resources (Energy, Fishing) and Maritime Law

Session II will address the issue of the Gulf of Tonkin (involving China and Vietnam) and the long-standing problem of the South China Sea. In the latter case, two issues intersect: Firstly, conflicting territorial claims involving China and several ASEAN member states, and secondly, the freedom of navigation under international law (UNCLOS). What is the conflict constellation within the region and from an international perspective? What are the approaches of countries directly involved in the conflict and of non-claimant countries? What instruments have been tried to solve the issue and why have the failed? Would partial solutions be possible? Are there any lessons to be learned from the successful international settlement between Bangladesh and Myanmar?

Chair: Gudrun Wacker (SWP)
Europe: Stein Tønnesson (Peace Research Institute, Oslo), »Do the Sino-Vietnamese Tonkin Gulf agreements show ways forward in the South China Sea?« | Presentation: Do the Sino-Vietnamese Tonkin Gulf agreements show ways forward in the South China Sea?«
Bangladesh: Abul Kalam Azad (Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka), »Demarcation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar: Politico-Security and Economic Implications« | Presentation: »Demarcation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar: Politico-Security and Economic Implications«
Vietnam: Tran Truong Thuy (Institute for East Sea Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Hanoi), »Territorial Issues in the South China Sea: Politics, Resources and Maritime Law« | Presentation: »The South China Sea: Politics, Maritime Law and Dynamics of Development«
China: Su Hao (China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing), »Maritime Resources in the South China Sea and China's Management in the International Legal Context«
Philippines: Renato Cruz de Castro (De La Salle University, Manila), »Competing Approaches in Resolving Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea: Realpolitik versus Liberalism during the 2012 Scarborough Shoal Standoff «


Plenary debate


Coffee break, SWP lobby


Session III: Mixed Drivers

In session III we will identify the drivers of territorial issues involving Japan: Dokdo/Takeshima (Japan-South Korea); Senkaku/Diaoyu (China-Japan), Southern Kurils/Northern Territories (Russia-Japan). How important are national identity, resources and great power rivalry for the involved parties? What instruments have been tried to solve the issue and why have they failed? Would piecemeal solutions be possible?

Chair: Beatrice Gorawantschy (KAS)
Japan: Kazuhiko Togo (Kyoto Sangyo University), »Who are the drivers of the three territorial issues? Seen from a Japanese perspective« | Presentation: »Who are the drivers of the three territorial issues? A view from Japan«
Korea: Keun-Gwan Lee (Seoul National University), »Territorial Questions in East Asia in the Context of Changing Power Relations«
Russia: Andrey Ivanov (Institute of International Relations, Moscow), [comment], »Territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region: the Russian view, the Russian experience«
US: Bonnie Glaser (CSIS Washington), »US Interests in Japan’s Territorial and Maritime Disputes with China and South Korea«


Plenary debate


Dinner at SWP lobby

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Session IV: Great Power Competition

Session IV will address the issue of great power competition between the US and China in the region. What role does the U.S. play in the territorial issues discussed here? How important is the geo-strategic dimension in the different conflicts (first island chain, anti-access/area denial)?

Chair: Patrick Keller (KAS)
US: Andrew Nathan (Columbia University, New York), »Great Power Competition in Asia: An American View«
China: Wang Dong (Peking University, Beijing); »China's Assessments of U.S. Rebalancing to Asia «
India: Dipankar Banerjee (Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi), »Great Power Rivalry and Territorial Issues in Asia - A view from India«
Europe: Michael Reiterer (EU Asia and Pacific Department, Brussels), »Great Power Competition in Asia«


Plenary debate


Coffee break, SWP lobby


Paths to Solutions – Recommendations

This session will look at options to find peaceful solutions for territorial issues and will try to formulate policy recommendations for Asia, North America and Europe. Depending on the specific mixture of drivers at work in the conflict, a range of measures is possible to move forward or at least avoid escalation. Which regional actors or regional mechanisms can serve as mediator or broker? How could the issue at stake initially be addressed (high politics, track 1, track 2)?

Moderator: Stefan Friedrich (KAS)
Input: Hanns Maull (SWP)


General debate

Closing remarks by Stefan Friedrich (KAS) and Gudrun Wacker (SWP)


Buffet lunch, SWP lobby


End of conference
Departure of European participants

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Departure of overseas participants

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