Troubled Waters: Tensions in the South China Sea

Griffith Asia Institute was pleased to host Dr Michael C Williams, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Chatham House, London on the 25 February 2013.

Dr Williams spoke to researchers and students about the tensions in the South China Sea. He explained that tensions in South China Sea between ASEAN members, especially Vietnam the Philippines, and the PRC are unlikely to dissipate in the next few years. As China builds up her navy, popular hostility towards Beijing within key ASEAN states and Beijing’s refusal to contemplate any outside mediation will continue to roil the region.

In addition to his role at Chatham House, he is also a Governor of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) and a Trustee of the BBC. He is also a member of the House of Lords. He served with the UN in Cambodia and the Balkans (1992-96) and was Director for Asia and the Middle East in the UN department of Political Affairs, New York (2005 – 2007). Between 1999 and 2005 he was Special Adviser to two British Foreign Secretaries, Robin Cook and Jack Straw. In his final UN posting (2008-2011) he was UNUnder Secretary General in the Middle East. His Ph.D from SOAS looked at Islam and revolt in colonial Indonesia. Last year he was a member of a UK parliamentary delegation to Indonesia.


Dr Michael C Williams and Professor Andrew O’Neil, Director, Griffith Asia Institute

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