European Institute for Asian Studies
EIAS Webinar: ‘Bridges over troubled water’ - Security Situations in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea after the Hong Kong National Security Law
  • Start09:30 AM - Oct 28 2020
  • End12:30 PM - Oct 28 2020
  • Online Discussion
  • +3222308122


You can Watch the Webinar here

You can Download Mr Bill Hayton’s Presentation here

You can Download the Webinar Report here


Mr Bill Hayton also introduced his latest book “The Invention of China” which you can order here



9:30 – 11:00: Panel I: Security Dilemmas in the Taiwan Strait

Moderator: Xavier NUTTIN, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies

Ivan STEFANEC, Member of the European Parliament

Ketty W. CHEN, Vice President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy

Mathieu DUCHATEL, Director of the Asia Programme, Institut Montaigne


11:00 – 12:30: Panel II: The South China Sea’s Perils

Moderator: Serge STROOBANTS, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies

Anna FOTYGA, Member of the European Parliament

Ming-Yen TSAI, Taipei Representative to the EU and Belgium

Bill HAYTON, Associate Fellow Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House

Eva PEJSOVA, Senior Japan Fellow, VUB


Date: Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Time: 9:30 – 12:30

Format: Online Discussion

The Security Situation in East Asia

Maritime security is an issue of rising importance, especially in East Asia. The South China Sea, as well as the Taiwan Strait, have received special attention in this regard due to their central location. The adherence to international law in these areas, in particular with respect to the freedom of navigation, is increasingly seen as under threat. This is primarily due to a more intense militarization of sea lanes. The Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision has been advanced by countries such as the United States and Japan,while in Europe, France and Germany have respectively launched their Indo-Pacific strategies. However, China’s claim in these two regions is essential and a key variable to their peace and stability. Therefore, after the adoption of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, China’s possible next moves in these regions are drawing international attention and are critical for the reactions of relevant actors in the region, including the US, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and ASEAN countries. This conference will address how this friction will further develop. What current and future role should Europe assume in this critical context: that of a partner, a mediator, or a power in its own right?

Panel I: Security Dilemmas in the Taiwan Strait

As a waterway, the Taiwan Strait has recently seen mounting tensions. China and Taiwan appear to be drifting further apart after the landslide re-election of President Tsai in January, and the “resolution” of the Hong Kong problem by China through the National Security Law in June, which could lead to a more assertive stance towards Taiwan by China. Furthermore, the increasing capabilities of the Chinese military, in particular its naval and precision-guided missile capabilities, has called into question whether Taiwan could long withstand any serious offensive initiative even with outside help. Taipei, in turn, is also trying to strengthen its defences. In late August, the purchase of 66 of the latest model F-16 jets from the United States was formalized, the first sale of such technology since 1992. Added to this are the close relations between the US and Taiwan and the increased confrontation between the US and China. Can the EU play a mediating role in defusing the tensions in the region?

Panel II: The South China Sea’s Perils

Only few waters can claim the significance that the South China Sea carries for global trade. Around one fourth of worldwide shipping is estimated to pass through these sea lanes connecting the economic giants of Asia and Europe as well as energy hubs in the Middle East. Thus, all the more worrying are the periodic clashes between vessels in the area – such as the Chinese coastguard vessel’s collision with and sinking of a Vietnam fishing vessel this April and the lethal confrontation between Vietnamese fishermen and the Malaysian coastguard this August– as well as the growing militarization of disputed islands. What will be China’s next move under the current Sino-American military tensions? As for the EU, whose companies send hundreds of billions of US dollars worth of goods through the South China Sea each year, has professed the aspiration to become more active in regional security questions, most prominently in its Global Strategy. What is the future potential of European efforts and how can the tensions in the South China Sea be simmered down?


Photo Credits:

‘Maritime security is an issue of rising importance, especially in East Asia, including the South China Sea and the adjoining Taiwan Strait.

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