China’s South China Sea Policy after the Arbitration Ruling

Dr. Zhang Feng
18 May 2017

This talk explore China’s response to the Philippines v. China arbitration ruling of July 2016. The sweeping nature of the ruling had a very paradoxical effect on Chinese policy. Although it has led to the hardening of China’s claims, it has also raised a new readiness among Chinese policymakers to renew negotiations, now focused on a code of conduct for the South China Sea. In this lecture, Dr. Zhang Feng also examines China’s internal debates about the South China Sea. Three major camps – the pragmatists, hardliners, and moderates – are now dominating these debates. The future of Chinese policy will depend on the intellectual and policy competition among the three camps inside China.

About the Speaker: Dr. Zhang Feng (PhD, LSE) is a Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. His research focuses on Chinese foreign policy, Asia-Pacific security, and international relations theory. He is the author of Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015). His articles have or will appear in Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Australian Journal of International Relations, Chinese Journal of International Politics, East Asian Policy, European Journal of International Relations, International Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Review of International Studies, and Survival. He is currently an adjunct professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China, and has received visiting research fellowships from the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Guangdong Institute of International Strategy in China. Prior to ANU, he taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Murdoch University in Perth. He is a regular contributor to international media and policy forums including Financial Times (Chinese version), Foreign Affairs (US), Foreign Policy (US), ChinaFile (US), The Strategist (Australia), International Public Policy Review (Singapore), The Paper (Shanghai), and The Straits Times (Singapore).