07 Jul 2017 - 08 Jul 2017
[Colloquium on International Law] Common Future in Asia

Asian Academy of International Law (AAIL) and the Chinese Society of International Law (CSIL) have co-hosted the 2017’ Colloquium on International Law, inviting guests of honour and distinguished speakers to shed light on three topics: 1. One Country Two Systems: Interaction with International Law 2. Investment Collaboration: Opportunities & Challenges for Asia 3. Interpretation of Treaties and UNCLOS: The Regime of Islands, Rocks and Offshore Archipelagos

The rationale behind the design of the programme is succinctly elucidated by Prof Teresa Cheng SC (Chairman of AAIL), “all three sessions covered angles on which Hong Kong can have an impact. The implementation of One Country Two Systems brings into focus a number of international and inter-regional experiences. For instance, Hong Kong can negotiate trade and investment agreements that will have an impact on the business in Asia. With the growing collaboration in Asian jurisdictions on investment opportunities, how financing should be arranged, corporate structure established and disputes resolved are areas where Hong Kong has vast experience and the sharing in the second session will be of value to businesses and practitioners alike. Issues in South China Sea are crucial to regional peace and stability. Debate under the law of the sea is frequent, and hence the third session will enable the community to have a proper and better understanding of their respective positions."

After welcome remarks made by Prof Teresa Cheng SC, Dr Li Shi-shi (President of CSIL) and Mr Rimsky Yuen SC (Secretary of Justice of Hong Kong SAR), Prof Cheng led “Session I – One Country Two Systems: Interaction with International Law” with a panel of distinguished speakers, including Dr Margaret Chan (7th Director-General, World Health Organization), Prof Paul Haagen (Professor, Duke Law School), Mr Hans Michael Jebsen (Chairman of Jebsen Group, AAIL Founding Member), Prof Huang Jin (President, China University of Political Science and Law), Judge Shi Jiu-yong (Former President of the International Court of Justice) and Dr Xu Hong (Director General, Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PR China). 

As the guest of honour at the luncheon, Mrs Carrie Lam (Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR) warmly welcomed both local and overseas delegates. Moreover, Mrs Lam highly affirmed the significance of the Colloquium as well as the relevancy of the chosen topics within our contemporary context, i.e. cross-region collaboration as today’s norm which is perfectly exemplified by the worldwide positive response given to the Belt and Road Initiative.

On the first day of the Colloquium, there were also keynote speeches on “Importance of International Law and the Role of Asia in its Formulation” by Prof Zhang Yue-jiao (Former Chairman and Member of WTO Appellate Body), “One Country, Two Systems: 20 Years of Experience and Way Forward” by Hon Tung Chee-hwa GBM (Former Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR) and “Regional Cooperation in Asia and International Rule of Law” by Mr Liu Zhen-min (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, PR China).

In the afternoon, “Session II – Investment Collaboration: Opportunities & Challenges for Asia” featured eminent moderators and speakers as follows:

Panel 1
Moderator: Prof Dr Surakiart Sathirathai (Former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand)
Speakers (in alphabetical order):
Mr Vincent Lee (Executive Director of HKMA)
Mr Gerard Sanders (General Counsel, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank)
Mr Dieter Yih (Partner, Kwok, Yih & Chan)

Panel 2
Moderator: Mr Jose-Antonio Maurellet SC (Des Voeux Chambers)
Speakers (in alphabetical order):
Mr Adrian Lai (Barrister-at-law, Des Voeux Chambers)
Ms Li Yong-jie (Deputy Director General, Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Commerce, PR China)
Mr Robert San Pé (Adviser to Myanmar’s Attorney General)
Ms May Tai (Partner of Herbert Smith Freehills)
Prof Albert Jan van den Berg (Partner of Hanotiau & van den Berg)

On the second day of the Colloquium, another group of esteemed experts and scholars were invited to share their insights at “Session III – Interpretation of Treaties and UNCLOS: The Regime of Islands, Rocks and Offshore Archipelagos”.

Panel 1
Moderator: Judge Gao Zhi-guo (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea)
Speakers (in alphabetical order):
Prof Michael Sheng-ti Gau (Professor, National Taiwan Ocean University)
Prof Dr Roy S. Lee (Permanent Observer to the United Nations for the Asian African Legal Consultative Organization)
Prof Lucy Reed (Director of Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore)
Mr Chris Whomersley (Former Deputy Legal Adviser of Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK)

Panel 2
Moderator: Dr Wu Shi-cun (President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies)
Speakers (in alphabetical order):
Prof John Anthony Carty (The Cheng Yu Tung Chair Professor of International Law, School of Law, Tsinghua University)
Prof Dr Erik Franckx (Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Prof Jia Bing-bing (Professor of International Law, School of Law, Tsinghua University¬)
Dr Sophia Kopela (Lecturer, Lancaster Law School, UK)
Prof Yann-huei Song (Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei)

The Colloquium was closed by a special lecture delivered by one of the world's leading experts on climate change, Mr Xie Zhen-hua (Special Representative on Climate Change Affairs, PR China), who expounded on the significance of honouring and implementing the Paris Agreement and provided suggested response to issues of climate change.

As Mr Rimsky Yuen SC (Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong SAR) rightly stated in his welcome remarks, “international law is very important in that it allows states to enjoy their rights, and assumes their obligations and responsibilities on an equal footing. By participating in the making and interpreting of international law, it is conducive to promoting mutual respect among states and forging with world development.”

Asia has been gaining increasing attention of the international community in the recent decades, and it is anticipated that Asia will be playing an important role in shaping international law. While the chief objective of AAIL is to advance the studies, research and development of international law in Asia, AAIL shall continue to organise events and courses led by prominent legal professionals and academics of the world.