The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), in partnership with the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the AFP Office for Strategic Studies and Strategy Management (OSSSM), conducted the 5th Heneral Antonio Luna Colloquium on 18 April 2017 at the Carlos P Romulo Library, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The theme of the Colloquium was “Peaceful Resolution of Territorial and Maritime Disputes: the Arbitration Case between the Philippines and China.” Dr Krista Wiegand of the University of Tennessee delivered a lecture entitled “Strategic Selection: Philippine Arbitration in the South China Sea dispute.”
In her lecture, Dr Wiegand praised the Philippines for having made the “bold move” of filing and eventually winning an arbitration case against China with regard to maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. She said that the Philippines now has a legal advantage in international law, which matters to the international community in the long run. Dr Wiegand also opined that the arbitration case was filed by the Philippines in order to “level the playing field” against China. She noted, however, that the ruling of the arbitral tribunal favorable to the Philippines has no enforcement mechanism.
Dr Krista Wiegand is a professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Director of the Conflict Processes track of the Global Security Program at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in the same university.
In his closing remarks, NDCP President Rear Admiral Roberto Q Estioko AFP (Ret) PhD MNSA expressed agreement with Dr Wiegand, saying that the ruling “will go down in history as a vital international maritime law document that will serve as a key reference for future arbitration cases all over the world.”
Dr Estioko, however, stressed that the disputes in the South China Sea are not just about international law. Dr Estioko, a former Vice Commander of the Philippine Navy, shared that the Sea “represents an intersection of international power play, domestic dynamics, economic motivations, and security imperatives.”
The activity was the 5th in the series of colloquia co-organized by NDCP, FSI, and OSSSM, which provides an open forum for free academic discussion of issues affecting Philippine defense and security.