The strategic objective behind the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Maritime Silk Road-strategy aims to establish secure land and sea routes from its coast to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea as well as to create alternative supply routes overland. They will ensure a diversification of transport routes for its oil and LNG supplies, trade and secure access to foreign markets in the case of maritime supply disruptions. But despite China’s focus on new overland routes of railways and highways, most trade will also been conducted in the future via SLOCs and through the South China Sea. China’s BRI, MSR-strategy and its assertive South China Sea policies raise the question whether the future regional and global order will be based on commonly accepted rules (i.e. international law) that takes the economic and security interests of all countries into account or whether Beijing will follow its traditional rules and central role of a ‘middle Kingdom’ that seeks to define the future rules of the game unilaterally. While China’s energy-security nexus has been a key driver of its BRI, MSR-strategy and assertive South China Sea policies, this seminar will focus on the energy security policies and its nexus of major ASEAN countries as well as their implications for their national policies in regard to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, regional stability and their bilateral relations with China.
About the Speaker
Frank Umbach has been appointed as Adjunct Senior Fellow in RSIS with effect from 22 September 2017. Dr Umbach graduated from the University of Bonn with a M.A. degree in Political Science and a PhD (“Dr. phil”). He is presently the Research Director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College in London as well as a Senior Associate at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS GmbH), Munich and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw) in Poland, teaching on “EU External Energy Governance”. Furthermore, he is also a consultant for the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and Wikistrat.com. Since 2014, he is an independent “Subject Matter Expert (SME)” on international energy security of NATO’s annual “Strategic Forecasting Analysis (SFA)”. He’s an internationally recognised expert on global energy security, geopolitics, critical (energy) infrastructure protection/CEIP, and (maritime) security policies in Asia Pacific as well as Russia/Central Asia.
Previously, he was also a (Non-Resident) Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) in Washington D.C. between 2010 and 2015. From 2003 to 2007, he was a Co-Chair of the European Committee of the Council for Security Co-operation in Asia-Pacific (CSCAP-Europe). From 1996 to 2007, he was the head of the programmes “Security Policies in Asia-Pacific” and “International Energy Security” at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Bonn and Berlin; a research fellow at the Federal Institute for East European and International Studies (BIOst) from 1991 to 1994 and a visiting research fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo from 1995 to 1996.
Dr Umbach has done consultancy work and testimonies for the German Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence Policies; European Commission and European Parliament, US-State and Energy Departments, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (US-Congress), the Lithuanian Government, the House of Lords (British Parliament), the Polish Foreign and Economic Ministries, Hungarian Foreign Ministry, South Korean Foreign Ministry, NATO, OSCE, World Energy Council (WEC), Federation of the German Industries (BDI), energy and consultancy companies (incl. APCO and Roland Berger) and has advised international investors (via GLG). He is also the author of more than 500 publications in more than 30 countries worldwide, including being a contract author of the Geopolitical Intelligence Service (GIS) in Liechtenstein since 2011.