May 24, 2024

Larus Participates in Seminar on South China Sea Disputes

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Larus

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Larus

Elizabeth Freund Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, participated in the seminar “Regional and Global Implications of Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea,” at the University of Warsaw, Poland, on February 21, 2020. Dr. Larus joined scholars from the University of Warsaw, the Warsaw School of Economics, and Marie Curie-Skłowdowska University for a discussion of legal aspects of the disputes and the increasing militarization of the South China Sea. Guest speaker Professor Stanislaw Pawlak, a judge on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, commented on the Philippines’ case against China’s claims, and the landmark 2016 arbitral decision in favor of the Philippines. Dr. Larus commented on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent decision not to renew the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States. Dr. Larus claimed that the failure to renew the VFA was the most serious threat to the nearly 70-year military alliance that the United States has with the Philippines. She continued that the U.S. loss was China’s gain, and that the lack of VFA threatens the Philippines’s domestic security as well as the security of the Asia-Pacific. Professor Larus also commented on recent Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea carried out by the UK’s Royal Navy. She claimed that the UK has maintained interest in Southeast Asia since the colonial era, and as a sea power, is determined to maintain freedom of the seas, even after Brexit. Comments were followed by discussion with scholars from Poland, the United States, and New Zealand.