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MIMA-CIISS International Conference: ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook and Security Cooperation in the South China Sea

18 – 19 December 2019

Sanya, Hainan Province, China  

The above conference was co-hosted by the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS). The conference was a Track II diplomacy setting attended by scholars, policy planners, and other representatives from agencies in efforts to produce meaningful findings through pragmatic discussions to sustain peace, stability, and prosperity in the South China Sea. Academics and practitioners from China and various ASEAN countries participated in the conference, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore.

In her Opening Remarks, MIMA Fellow, Sumathy Permal noted that initiatives such as this help to promote the free exchange of ideas on maritime matters to support discussions on the South China Sea as a sea of cooperation, connectivity, and community-building.

The Vice-Chairman of CIISS, Major General Gong Xianfu remarked that this conference serves as a significant way forward for promoting stability and security by forming the South China Sea as a sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation for both ASEAN and China.

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Organisers and participants gather for a group photo after the opening ceremony.

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Sumathy Permal delivering the conference’s welcoming remarks.

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Major General Gong Xianfu giving opening remarks for the conference.

The conference was divided into three plenary sessions on the regional security outlook of the Indo-Pacific, the security cooperation in the South China Sea, and the prospects for and approaches for a multilateral cooperation, respectively. Speakers elaborated ways to operationalize the ASEAN Indo-Pacific outlook and to enhance cohesion as well as trust within the Outlook. Discussions did not only emphasize the importance of promoting maritime security and economic development in the South China Sea, but also explored other fundamental aspects, such as the environment in long-term developments.

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Delegates gather for a group photo at the Sanya Rescue Fleet Base

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During the briefing session

A field visit to the Sanya Rescue Fleet and Bureau Security System was organized for a better perspective on security and safety measures in the Sanya Bay. Delegates were briefed on the real-time information system of the city, and on ensuring the safety of the ship, cargo, personnel and port facilities.

Overall, the conference achieved its objectives by providing a platform for enriching discourse among participants, in exploring the latest perspectives on the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook and Security Cooperation in the South China Sea at the regional level.

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