Photo of APCSS and SIIS in session.An Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies team recently travelled to China to improve relations with academic and security practitioner counterparts and develop opportunities for future discussions.

APCSS Director Dan “Fig” Leaf travelled with a team of seven to China for exchanges of ideas and perspectives with partners, security practitioners, and alumni in several major cities from April 7-17. The theme of the discussions was “Securing Shared Prosperity,” which elicited enthusiastic participation from a broad range of institutions, including the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, Tongji University, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the Hong Kong Police Headquarters, the Hong Kong Marine Department, and the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. APCSS alumni events were also held in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.

“These meetings provided an opportunity to reconnect with previous partners and old friends, but also to begin developing relationships with a broader base of security practitioners in greater China,” said the team’s academic lead, APCSS professor Herman “Butch” Finley. “We also developed a deeper, more personal sense of the massive changes taking place in China.”

The trip was Leaf’s first visit to a foreign country as APCSS Director, and his first time to mainland China.

“This was a rich and productive trip,” said Leaf. “We had the opportunity to address complex issues in positive, thoughtful discussions. It was helpful for me to connect with several of our alums in China, and to gain both professional and personal insight into the country.”

Discussion topics ranged from maritime security, the South China Sea, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to regional organizations and their impact on security in Asia. Other discussions covered non-traditional security issues including energy, food, water, and cyberspace security.

This was the fourth in a series of annual visits by APCSS to China since 2009. The team gathered many useful insights, contacts, and ideas for further collaboration with Chinese partners on issues of common interest.