MIMA – Japan Maritime Cooperation: Law of the Sea Workshop 2018

18 October 2018
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Maritime Institute of Malaysia co-hosted the above workshop on contemporary Law of the Sea with the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The workshop gathered international law practitioners, government officials and policy researchers engaged in ocean affairs to analyze and assess the perspectives, interpretations and challenges to the rules-based order in resolving maritime disputes especially in areas of overlapping claims. The workshop was officiated by Mr Hiroyuki Orikasa from the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia and Captain Dr Mohamad Halim Ahmed, Under Secretary, Maritime Division of the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia. Participants from Malaysian government agencies, the Japanese Embassy, and representatives from several ASEAN countries joined the discourse.

Group photo of the workshop

In his opening remarks, Mr Hiroyuki Orikasa emphasized that the sea as a facilitator of global commerce must be open for the use of all and in all conditions, and that activities at sea must be conducted in accordance with applicable international laws including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He also hoped that the workshop will serve as an avenue for ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

Opening remarks by Mr Hiroyuki Orikasa

Captain Dr Mohamad Halim Ahmed, in delivering the Welcoming Remarks, noted that this workshop was a major milestone in Japan-Malaysia maritime cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He believed that the deliberations would provide solid takeaways for addressing rule based order and dispute settlement mechanisms and contribute to more stable and peaceful maritime domains.

Welcoming remarks by Captain Dr Mohamad Halim

The first session of the workshop examined the rules-based order within the meaning, interpretation, and practices for resolving maritime disputes as well as discussed challenges and the way forward for claimants as a prerequisite in the dispute settlement mechanism. The following session examined the application of activities conducted based on the spirit of the Declaration of Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and UNCLOS 1982.

Dr Adina binti Dr. Kamarudin chairing the second session

The workshop addressed unresolved gaps and ambiguities in relation to the concept of freedom of navigation in the region which will require continuous debate and discussion for better resolution. The importance of marine environmental protection and biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) was also discussed towards ensuring better cooperation from regional coastal states while managing maritime disputes settlement in the region.

MIMA will produce a report on the workshop that may serve as a guide for the future for both Japan and Malaysia on issues pertaining to the Law of the Sea.

Captain Shaiful Nizam Abdul Manan RMN presenting at the Workshop

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