The risk of armed conflict escalating from relatively minor events to direct naval confrontation has increased in the South China Sea (SCS) and East China Sea (ECS) since 2009. Asian littoral states with long-standing sovereignty and territorial disputes now seem less amenable to bilateral negotiations or collective agreements, particular since recent US declaration of national interest in enforcing the freedom of navigation in South China Sea. With the recent UN Arbitral Tribunal award in favour of the Philippines’ claims against China, maritime Asia will see escalating militarisation leading to a “normal state” of heightened geopolitical tension stemming from superpower competition.
Our research programme poses a set of empirical questions aimed to critically examine the mainstream realist understanding of regional politics and power transition. Specified below, these questions look back in history to explore alternative logics of maritime order. Leading with historical analysis, we argue that realpolitik in Asian seas is mediated by ocean governance structures – conceptualized by James Rosenau as a framework of regulation and interdependent relations in the absence of overarching political authority in the international system – that limited power projections and shaped public and private interests in conflict or cooperation. Geopolitically and in the national consciousness of Asian powers, the maritime domain embodies unique vulnerabilities and risks for state and non-state actors that require different solutions than those prescribed by the rules of stable spatial control over land.
Hence our central investigation can be stated as: What ocean governance structure in the Pacific Asia would likely emerge from a fundamental regional power shift of China’s rise? How would it address the common interests in liberal commerce, sustainable development, and the security dilemma of nation-states? Is there any room for political autonomy and foreign policy entrepreneurship for secondary powers caught between the great power politics of US and China?
Drawing on leading maritime scholars in Cambridge and CRP’a Asian, American and European networks of maritime history, law, and security experts, we explore arguments that Europe’s past could inform China’s future as a transitioning land power, facing US as an established naval hegemon and guarantor of regional security pacts. Comparative historical and international relations analyses examine origins of maritime governance, tracing formative processes such as the convergence of stable notions of national sovereignty over ocean spaces, roots of state-building that shapes military and regulatory capacities, and learning and contention of the law of the sea.
Director of Research
Kun-Chin Lin is a university lecturer in politics at the University of Cambridge. He received his BA from Harvard and MA and PhD from UC Berkeley, and was a Leverhulme postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. He has taught at King's College London and the National University of Singapore. He serves on the advisory and editorial boards of top academic publications including Business & Politics and the Political Economy of Public Policy Series (Palgrave MacMillan). He is a member of the Frost Sullivan’s Board of Economic Advisors, the academic board of the newly established Growth, Innovate and Leadership (GIL) University in Malaysia, and a collaborating partner of the Global Biopolitics research group based at King’s College London. He frequently offers expert opinions for the media and at conferences and events around the world on topics of the political economy of China, infrastructure and energy policies, regulatory diffusion, and regionalism in Asia.
Senior Research Fellows
Steven Haines has been Research Professor of Public International Law at the University of Greenwich since 2012. Prior to that he had been a member of the Management Board of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (2008-12) and the founding Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations and Professor of Strategy and the Law of Military Operations at Royal Holloway College, University of London (2003-8). Before commencing his full time academic career in 2003, he was for 32 years an officer in the Royal Navy (RN), serving in a variety of surface warships and latterly within the Ministry of Defence in London and on the Executive Board of the British Armed Forces doctrinal 'think tank' at Shrivenham. In that latter appointment, he was the author of the RN's maritime strategic doctrine (British Maritime Doctrine, 1999) and the overarching defence doctrine for the UK's Armed Forces (British Defence Doctrine, 2001). His operational service included UN maritime embargo operations, maritime counter-terrorism and coastal security operations and fisheries enforcement. He also deployed for service on operational joint staffs, with NATO forces in Pristina, Kosovo and with the British Joint Task Force in Sierra Leone. His research is now focused principally on Ocean Governance, Maritime Security and related subjects. He has an inter-disciplinary approach, focusing on law but relating that to broader historical and political contexts.
Maximilian Terhalle is currently Reader in International Politics at the University of Winchester. Before joining Winchester, Maximilian taught and conducted research at Yale, Columbia, Cornell and Oxford Universities between 2007 and 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he worked at the Universities of Potsdam, Berlin, Jena and Hagen (Germany). Maximilian received his DPhil from the University of Bonn (Germany) and master’s degrees from the Universities of London and Bonn. He obtained his Habilitation from Potsdam University. Since 2009, he has published ten peer-reviewed journal articles (e.g. in Security Studies, Review of International Studies, International Studies Perspectives, Climate Policy), three peer-reviewed monographs and edited volumes, and two peer-reviewed edited Special Issues. Moreover, Maximilian has received fully funded early- and mid-career research fellowships from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (three years) and a pre-doctoral fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (one year). – Besides his academic publications, he has also written commentaries for the Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, Die Welt and the Financial Times as well as policy-related analyses for Survival and Middle East Policy. Prior to his academic career, he worked for the German Council on Foreign Relations and the Defense Department. As for his military commitment, he holds the rank of a Major (reserve) and regularly undertakes trainings at the Defense Department’s Political Division.
Charles I-hsin Chen (PhD, SOAS) is Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow of the Department of Politics & International Studies (POLIS). He is also a research associate in the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London. He received his BA in politics from National Taiwan University, MSc in development studies and PhD in economics from SOAS in 2014. His doctoral thesis identifies the driving forces behind the mass privatisation of Chinese state-owned enterprises from the late 1990s. Charles has served as the spokesman of Taiwan's Presidential Office (2015-16), and the spokesman and director of international affairs in the Kuomintang (KMT) party (2014-15). His main duties covered cross-Strait affairs and the South China Sea issues, including assisting in the historic meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and President Xi Jinping in Singapore in November 2015. Leading up to the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision on the Philippines vs. China in July 2016, Dr Chen coordinated government ministries and scientists to generate evidence-based discourses and legal actions to defend Taiwan's maritime rights in disputed water. Dr Chen’s research interest covers a wide range of topics in China’s economic reform in the state sector, Taiwan’s party politics and election campaigns, cross-Strait political and economic relations, and the sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas. His current programme in the CRP is to examine the legal and political impacts brought by the South China Sea arbitration on the formation of maritime governance in the South China Sea. He has over a hundred writings of editorials, columns, commentaries and letters published on Taiwan and international newspapers on various topics in recent years.
Imran Khan is a research fellow at the Centre for Rising Powers. He is also head of strategic affairs at Global Relations Forum, a Brussels based think tank. Mr. Khan is an experienced international relations professional with research interests in maritime security, energy security, geopolitical & geo-economic analysis, strategic affairs of India & Asia-Pacific. He also has experience in conceptualizing and organizing bilateral & multilateral dialogues. Previously, he has worked with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF). Prior to that, Mr. Khan worked with a leading global maritime company for twelve years in various managerial roles. He is also an associate member of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, Kings College, London. Mr. Khan holds a MPhil in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge.
He also holds a master’s degree in financial management from JBIMS,
Mumbai University, and bachelor degrees in law (hons) and commerce. He
has also attended a master module on shipping at the Lorange Institute
of Business, Zurich. More information and links to publications can be found on his professional LinkedIn profile.
Corine Wood-Donnelly is an interdisciplinary researcher in International Relations and geography, with research interests in issues and models of maritime governance, comparative policy, water politics and performative policy. Corine received her PhD and her MA in International Relations from Brunel University London in the Department of Politics, History and Law. She is also an Institute Associate at the Scott Polar Research Centre and Bye-Fellow in Geography at Downing College. She specialises in studies of the Arctic and making connections to global territorial and sovereignty issues, including maritime search and rescue, migration and energy/resource development. Recent work includes publications comparing different periods of energy development, effective occupation in policy practices of the Arctic states and an analysis of the Arctic Search and Rescue Treaty.
Graduate Research Fellows
Dylan Loh is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge and is a faculty member of the Public Policy and Global Affairs Division, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He was awarded the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences International PhD Scholarship in 2015 by NTU to pursue his doctoral studies. His research interests include ASEAN, Chinese Foreign Policy and sociological International Relations. Dylan was previously the country coordinator for Singapore in the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP).
Lan Nguyen is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Lan holds a BA in International Relations (summa cum laude) from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and an LL.M (First Class Honours) in International Law from the University of Cambridge. Lan has worked as a lecturer and reasearcher at the International Law Faculty, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and served as an intern at the Legal Office of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. She has also been a visiting fellow at the Netherlands Institute of the Law of the Sea (NILOS). Her research interests include law of the sea, settlement of international disputes and the management and resolution of maritime disputes in Asia, particularly the South China Sea disputes. Her PhD focuses on analysing the works and contributions of the dispute settlement system of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to the settlement of maritime disputes and the development of law of the sea.
Christian Schultheiss is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. His PhD project analyses the various applications of maritime dispute settlement mechanisms in the East and South China Sea disputes under the supervision of Professor Marc Weller, director of the Lauterpacht Centre for international law. The application of dispute settlement mechanisms – joint fishery, joint development, multilateral approaches and others – is almost as old as the East and South China Sea disputes themselves. His research analyses the past 60 years of this practice and seeks to crystalize the factors that make the difference between success and failure. Christian Schultheiss graduated with distinction (MPhil) from Cambridge University in International Relations and he graduated with distinction (MA) from Tübingen University in Philosophy, Political Science and Literature. He has professional and research experience from positions at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, the German Embassy in Ankara and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore.
Tim BT Reilly is a PhD candidate at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge and the Founder of Arctic Advisory Group, an Arctic Risk Management and Research consultancy. He was also Board Adviser to the Board of a leading British Maritime Security company, specialising in anti-piracy planning and operations, for commercial shipping clients. Previous appointments include Government Affairs Adviser to Shell in the Caspian region, as well as working in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, and Ukraine, for companies such as Chevron and JKX Oil & Gas. His first experience of the Arctic was as a young paratroop officer where he spent three winters inside the Arctic Circle, training in Arctic warfare. Tim is a Russian speaker, and was educated at Cambridge, Durham, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. His PhD research is in the Sino-Russian relationship in the Arctic and Asia Pacific Rim, with the Northern Sea Route as model, and the oil & gas industry as main actor. He is also a Senior Associate Fellow at the Institute for Statecraft in London, where he is their resident Arctic expert. Tim was called as an expert witness to both the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on the Arctic, and more recently, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Arctic. His publications include the chapter on the “High North” for the British Army Review, and a commentary on Russian sanctions for the U.S. “Oil & Gas Journal”; in addition Tim was Editor of a leading oil & gas journal’s (MENAS ASSOCIATES) quarterly report, “Arctic Focus”. He has also been a regular contributor to BBC programmes on Arctic matters.
Nguyen, Lan, "The Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration: Has the scope of LOSC compulsory jurisdiction been clarified?" (2016) International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, Volume 31, Issue 1, p. 120 - 143
Haines, Steven, 'New Navies and Maritime Powers' in the four volume Anglo-French 'Oceanides' maritime history project, to appear in Volume 4 (Periode Contemporaine) edited by N Rodger, for publication in 2016 (Completed, Submitted)
Haines, Steven, 'The Influence of Law on Maritime Strategy', in D Moran and J Russell (Eds), Maritime Strategy and Global Order: Markets, Resources, Security (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2015)
Nguyen, Lan, "Some legal aspects of the Philippines v. China Arbitration under Annex VII UNCLOS" in Tran Truong Thuy, Le Thuy Trang (eds), Power, Law, and Maritime Order in the South China Sea (Lexington Books Publisher 2015) (co-author)
Haines, Steven, 'Does Law Influence Maritime Strategy?', in Naval Review, Vol.102, No.1 (Feb, 2014), pp.21-32.
Charles I-hsin Chen, ‘Taipei-Manila row: Three possible scenarios,’ The Straits Times (Singapore), 23 May 2013.
Lin, Kun-Chin, “Contemplating Chinese Foreign Policy: Approaches to the Use of Historical Analysis.” [with Jean-Marc Blanchard] Special Issue: Chinese Foreign Policy: The Quest for Power, Security, and Status. Pacific Focus 28(2): 145–169, August 2013.
Lin, Kun-Chin and Rory Miller, “Adapting to the Arab Spring: Chinese Economic Statecraft and the Quest for Stability in the Contemporary Middle East.” ‘Lessons Learnt’ Report for the ‘History of British Intelligence and Security’ research project,” AHRC Public Policy Series No. 7, December 2012.
Haines, Steven, 'Economic Warfare at Sea: Blockade and Guerre de Course in Maritime Doctrine and Contemporary International Law', in Naval Review, Vol.99, No.4 (Nov 2011), pp.315-322.
|CRP Roundtable on the South China Sea||2016/01/20 17:00:00 GMT||Mill Lane Lecture Room 7|
|CRP Research Seminar: 'The New U.S. Maritime Security Strategy in the Asia Pacific' by Prof Peter Dutton (China Maritime Studies Institute, Naval War College)||2015/09/24 13:00:00 GMT+1||War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07), 6th Floor, Strand Campus, King’s College London|
|Maritime Governance in 21st Century Asia: Perspectives from Taiwan on Maritime Laws and Regional Security||2015/06/25 09:30:00 GMT+1||National Chengchi University, Taiwan|
|Maritime Governance in 21st Century Asia: Historical precedents, legal foundations, and regional institutions in addressing common security challenges||2014/09/10 09:00:00 GMT+1|