REPORT: Crisis Ahead: South China Sea Geopolitical Tensions

On the evening of June 6th, the JASON Institute, in partnership with De Balie, hosted a live broadcasted panel debate on the escalating geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea. The event took place in De Balie’s beautiful and sold-out Salon in Amsterdam.

The South China Sea is crucial for global trade and is rich in resources. The area is turning into a stage for the Sino-American great power struggle, as well as the clashing interests of other players like the European Union and several Southeast Asian nations. A mix of news correspondents, geopolitical analysts, and a former high-ranking Dutch Navy official formed our two panels for the evening. The experts explored the territorial claims, the strategic military interests of global powers in the region, and the role of the EU in these tensions.

Niels Woudstra offered a unique perspective on China’s strategy to expand its power without triggering a military escalation, framing the current conflict along the lines of Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations. This was responded to by Dr. Van der Putten, who broke the conflict down into two major questions. Firstly, should big states be able to impose their will on smaller countries? Secondly, how can two great powers manage their opposing interests without causing a war? Benedetta Girardi highlighted the significance of the developments in the South China Sea for Europe, while Saskia Konniger raised awareness of the diversity of nations in the Indo-Pacific region, which is also reflected in their varying approaches to this conflict. Dr. Van der Veere brought attention to Japan’s significant but often under-discussed role as the West’s strongest ally in the area, expressing concerns about the local population’s apprehension towards the growing conflict.

As the event concluded, the audience got the opportunity to ask questions. The conversation not only illuminated the complexities of the South China Sea disputes but also underlined the urgent need for strengthening Europe’s defense capabilities and enhancing thoughtful international cooperation.

The JASON Institute extends its gratitude to the panelists for their contributions and to the attendees for their active participation in a night of informative and engaging discussion. If you missed the event, you can find the recording under the following link ( 

Share this article


Join over 150,000 marketing managers who get our best social media insights, strategies and tips delivered straight to their inbox.