A New Look at Asian Relationships

The Sino-Indian border. The rise of China. The shift to the sea. A disorganised continent.

On 18 January, The Hague Institute for Global Justice hosted a discussion on Sino-Indian relations. The discussion featured two presentations, by Willem van Eekelen and Henk Schulte Nordholt.

Willem van Eekelen, a diplomat turned politician, obtained his doctorate  in 1964 ‘cum laude’  at Utrecht University with a study on ‘Indian Foreign Policy and the Border Dispute with China’. In November 2015, Brill Publishers issued an updated and enlarged edition in its series Nijhoff Classics in International Law.  It describes the transition from the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to the 1962 war (between a non-aligned state and a communist power), which in India never became the subject of a published inquiry and did not even produce an exchange of maps on the ‘Line of Actual Control’. As a result, troops are facing each other in previously uninhabited lands and incursions take place almost daily. At the same time official visits take place at the highest level ,which create the impression that the conflict has been shoved onto the back burner. However, on the ground it may flare up any time. Legally an issue within the overall dispute is the question whether Tibet had treaty making powers when it participated in the Simla Conference of 1914 and signed the McMahon line as its border with northeast India.

Henk Schulte Nordholt, sinologist and publicist with 20 years experience in China, just published “China en de Barbaren” (in Dutch). He describes how the Communist Party of China aspires to a one party state as the only way to maintain the territorial integrity of the country and to ‘complete China’ by integrating all territories which once belonged to the Chinese empire. In his presentation he will discuss the possibility of a ‘third way’ between the current line and Confucianism.

Nikola Dimitrov, Distinguished Fellow at The Hague Institute, will provide the opening remarks. Following the presentations, Dr. Joris Larik, Senior Researcher at The Hague Institute, will moderate a discussion.

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