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The 28th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea

Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
9-10 September 2018

The above Workshop was co-organised by the Policy Analysis and Development Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Centre for Southeast Asia Studies, Indonesia.The workshop was attended by 64 participants from ASEAN, China and Chinese Taipei. This is the only multilateral fora where Chinese Taipei meets ASEAN. The funding for the Workshop comes from China, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei. Projects are approved through the Workshop series and funding requests are channelled to the Centre for Southeast Asia Studies, Indonesia.

Capt. Martin A. SEBASTIAN RMN (R), Senior Fellow/Centre Head, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, participated in the Workshop.

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Fig 1: 28th Workshop Group Photo with the futuristic Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Building in the background

The opening session for the Workshop was delivered by the Director General of the Policy Analysis and Development Agency, Dr Siswo Pramono. He underlined the objectives of the Track 1.5 Workshop, which was founded in 1990, to develop confidence building measures through functional and technical cooperation. He stressed the importance to innovate cooperative measures through projects, which will build trust between the participating members of this workshop.

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Fig 2: A glimpse of the CTI Building foyer

In his Welcoming Remarks, the Secretary of the North Sulawesi Province, Mr Edwin H. Silaen, conveyed the warm welcome from the Governor. He took the opportunity to introduce several features of the province, including its strategic location straddling the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas and the Pacific Rim.

The Vice Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia delivered the Keynote Address for the Workshop. He acknowledged the engagements, as well as efforts of every member of the workshop series for the past 28 years. He highlighted that the workshop reflects convergence of interests by all parties in managing the dynamism in the South China Sea through concrete projects. 

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Fig 3: Capt. Martin presenting on the 5th Regional Maritime Law Enforcement Workshop conducted in Malaysia

During the projects presentation session, Capt. Martin presented on the 5th Regional Maritime Law Enforcement Workshop that was held in Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia from the 18th to 20th April 2018. MIMA collaborated with the Malaysian Coast Guard to conduct this workshop. The theme for the Workshop was Comprehensive Approach to address Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, focussing more on fishery related crimes. The workshop was a success as it continues to draw participants from ASEAN, China and Chinese Taipei.

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Fig 4: The 5th Regional MLE Workshop and participants

In 2019, Capt. Martin proposed for the Mass Rescue Operations workshop, to be held in Kuala Lumpur from the 8-12 April 2019. The Co-Chairs China, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam approved the project.

The 28th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea managed to garner a few other projects from participating countries, focussing  on technical cooperation to build trust. The continuation of the Worshop series is a testimony to that parties are willing to come together in the search for peace in the South China Sea region.

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