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Development and Settlement of Disputes

The Asian way to settle disputes

The Asian way to settle disputes

Tommy Koh

The Straits Times

States in South and South-east Asia have settled disputes through the international legal process. China should do likewise, and consider consensual methods such as mediation.


China’s artificial island building on Mischief Reef of Spratly islands. Image credit: Victor Robert Lee and DigitalGlobe

First, Asians want their region to be peaceful, stable and prosperous. They want the rule of law to be strong and for all disputes between states to be settled peacefully, in accordance with the law and not on the basis that might is right.

Second, with the exception of China, Asians do not have a negative attitude towards settling their disputes by arbitration or adjudication. China should therefore reconsider its position in order to conform to the best Asian and international practice.

Third, in addition to arbitration and adjudication, we should also consider several consensual, win-win, methods of dispute settlement, such as fact-finding, mediation, conciliation and joint development.

Read the full analysis at http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/invitation/story/the-asian-way-settle-disputes-20150610

The writer is chairman of the governing board of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore.


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