The Carlos P Romulo Foundation in partnership with Ateneo de Manila University launched the Inaugural Ambassador Severino A Severino lecture on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. Experts in maritime security affairs and foreign and security policy, Dr Jay Batongbacal (UP Institute of Marine Affairs and IL), Dr Alma Maria O Salvador (Ateneo de Manila University Department of Political Science), Dr Ngeow Chow Bing (University of Malaya); Dr Ian Storey (ISEAS YII) and Prof Hon Gareth Evans (Australian National University) assess the strategic relevance of the Code of Conduct in advancing Philippine regional diplomacy and relations with China. Scepticism in the resolution of a Code of Conduct in 2021 marked the tone of the panel discussions given the lack of finality in an identified geographic scope, lack of dispute settlement and enforcement mechanism and a lack of recognition of the arbitral ruling. Most of the panelists however, were in agreement that the gains of a rules based order in the South China Sea far outweigh the shortfalls and that given these ASEAN member states should set their horizons on a regional Code of Conduct. The speakers also stress the significance of invoking the arbitration ruling and of deepening practical cooperation in communities of security practice in SAR, HADR and maritime domain awareness.
This event promotes the Department of Political Science’s advocacy for SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.