As promised in my last post, here is another report on what happened during my recently-completed spring semester. Two weeks ago my class on contemporary Asia participated in a simulation I created on the South China Sea dispute. Students prepared for the simulation with one of my authentic writing assignments:
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Limits in the Seas, “No. 143 China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea,” 5 December 2014.
- Jeff Himmelman, “Game of Shark and Minnow,” The New York Times, 27 October 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/10/27/south-china-sea/
- Council on Foreign Relations, “China’s Maritime Disputes,” http://www.cfr.org/asia-and-pacific/chinas-maritime-disputes/p31345/#!/.
- The New York Times, “Territorial Claims in South China Sea,” http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/31/world/asia/Territorial-Claims-in-South-China-Sea.html.
- Permanent Court of Arbitration, “The South China Sea Arbitration,” 12 July 2016.
You are Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. The President’s senior advisers on the National Security Council (NSC) seek information on conflicts around the world that may affect U.S. foreign policy interests. Your task is to write a policy memo to the NSC that is no longer than three pages. The memo must identity which country has the best claim under international law to territory in the South China Sea and explain why that claim is the best. The territories are:
- Second Thomas Shoal/Ayungin in Reed Bank, Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Scarborough Shoal in the Spratly Islands, and
- Woody Island and Triton Island in the Paracel Islands.
In my next post, I’ll describe how the simulation worked.