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On the 8th of May the Henry Jackson Society welcomed Wu Shichun, President of the National and senior research fellow Institute for South China Sea Studies. Dr Shichun, whose research interests cover the history and geography of the South China Sea, maritime delimitation, maritime economy, international relations and regional security strategy, discussed the new Chinese initiatives, such as One Belt One Road, and further explained the potential impact on the Eurasia region.
Dr Shichun opened by stating that China’s main goal was building a common society with a shared future, and strengthening economic ties between China, Russia, Europe and Central AsiaHe then moved to explain the One Belt, One Road project, linking China to South, South East, and Central Asia and ultimately Europe through new infrastructure projects. He stressed that more than 40 countries were willing to participate in this initiative involving energy pipelines, ports, and railways, and welcomed this international cooperation.
Dr Shichun also pointed out that the Chinese government had recently announced that it would hold the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation would be held in Beijing in later this month. He praised this initiative and noted that thousands of delegates from various countries would meet together and discuss issues concerning cooperation. In this regard, China would then expect to sign numerous cooperative documents in terms of trade, investment, and infrastructure. Dr Shichun welcomed this bolstered cooperation and the job opportunities it would be likely to create for each of the countries involved.
Nonetheless, Dr Shichun reminded the audience that major uncertainties remained, especially regarding the United States and China relationship, especially regarding competition in the South China Sea. According to him, the competition between the two will continue, as from China’s prospective, this competition is a natural defence for China’s national security. He then wondered about the current United States-China dynamics, and most of all, wondered how the United States would be likely to proceed in the coming years. He placed the onus on US to determine the nature of the relationship in the years ahead.
Dr Shichun concluded that by discussing national security issues in the context of the South China Sea, stressing that the international community holds very high expectations for the C.o.C (Code of Conduct. He placed great confidence in the future of China-ASEAN discussions, and suggested that a focus on co-operative development should be prioritised, thereby setting aside questions of sovereignty.