On September 22, AMTI and the CSIS Southeast Asia Program hosted Bill Hayton, associate fellow at Chatham House, for a discussion of the muddled origins of China’s claims to the South China Sea in the early twentieth century. He showed evidence that China’s claim to islands first emerged in 1909 and was further developed after 1933. He explained how Chinese academics and officials came to draw the “U-shaped line” by copying Western maps—and in the process incorporated mistakes and misunderstandings with consequences that still trouble the region decades later.
Dr. Michael Green is senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Executive Advisor to AMTI. Gregory B. Poling is a senior fellow for Southeast Asia and director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS.