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The South China Sea as China’s Core Interest: What Role for ASEAN?

On March 23, 2011, the ASEAN Studies Center, together with AU’s Center for Asian Studies, Vietnamese Students Association, and Chinese Students and Scholars Association, welcomed renowned scholar Carl Thayer of the Australian Defense Force Academy to American University. Dr. Thayer gave a presentation on China’s interests in the South China Sea and the strategic and policy implications of its recent assertive claims on disputed maritime territories for both ASEAN and the United States. He also highlighted the intra-governmental and public tensions within China itself regarding its maritime claims that give rise to much of the ambiguity surrounding Chinese policy on these matters. The presentation captivated the audience, which was drawn from the AU campus, as well as guests from the Washington area academic community.