• Limits in the Seas: Unlawful PRC Assertions in the South China Sea

    Indo-Pacific Maritime Hour (via Zoom) --

    24 May 2022– 09:00 (Singapore/Manila), 10:00 (Tokyo)

    In January 2022, the United States Department of State released a Limits in the Seas study on the PRC’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. The Department’s Limits in the Seas studies are a longstanding legal and technical series that examine national maritime claims and boundaries and assess their consistency with international law. This most recent study, the 150th in the Limits in the Seas series, concludes that the PRC asserts unlawful maritime claims in most of the South China Sea, including an unlawful historic rights claim. Robert Harris and Nathan Nagy, key individuals involved in the development of the report will explain its basic findings and what it means for the region. Professor Jay Batongbacal will offer his comments before we open the conversation to audience questions and discussion points.


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    Robert Harris is Assistant Legal Adviser for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He has been a lawyer at the Department of State since 1985 and a member of the Senior Executive Service since 1992. In his time at the State Department he has served as legal adviser and as head of delegation to more than one hundred different bilateral and multilateral negotiations on topics ranging from alliance management and security with South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan, migration, international aviation, counterterrorism, anti-narcotics trafficking, extradition of criminal fugitives, maritime boundary delimitation treaties, the international law of the sea, global environment protection (including hazardous chemicals, marine and other pollution- control treaties, stratospheric ozone depletion, and biodiversity), sustainable development (lead U.S. negotiator in the “Rio-Plus 10” process), international human rights, diplomatic privileges and immunities, nuclear liability, and denuclearization talks with North Korea. Mr. Harris is a graduate of Stanford Law School (JD), the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs (MPA), and Cornell University (AB History).  He teaches international law at Columbia University Law School (Lecturer of Law) and at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.


    Nathan Nagy has been an Attorney Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State since 2011. He currently works in the Office of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs where his practice focuses on the law of the sea. He has also advised on nonproliferation sanctions, weapons of mass destruction terrorism issues, appropriations law, foreign military assistance, and employment law. Prior to his time at the State Department, he was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. He received his JD from Yale Law School, and a BA in Government from Cornell University.

    Jay L Batongbacal is a scholar with degrees in Political Science and law from the University of the Philippines, as well as Master of Marine Management and Doctor in the Science of Law, both from Dalhousie University (Canada). He has worked extensively on Philippine national and international maritime affairs since 1997, including serving as legal advisor to government delegations before the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the International Maritime Organization. He is a Professor of the University of the Philippines College of Law and was the Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea.

    Format: This event will be off-the-record.
    Moderator: John Bradford
    Webinar Cost: Free of charge

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