Friday, 25 August 2017 - Saturday, 26 August 2017 Seoul, Korea
I am very pleased to welcome you to the 6th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law in Seoul, Korea. I congratulate the Korea Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs for co-hosting this flagship event of the Society. I also want to thank my colleagues in the Planning Committee and the Secretariat of the Society for their contribution and collaboration in organizing the big event.
The theme of the conference, “Asia and International Law in Times of Uncertainty”, should give pause to anyone concerned with international law and international cooperation in our time. Look around the world, and we find waves of populism, nationalism, protectionism and isolationism on the march in various parts of the world. Is the era of economic and political progress through openness and engagement drawing to a close and is the world now entering into the new era of uncertainties? What would be the consequence of this troubling shift on the post-war international political, economic and legal system?
I believe that Asia, whose rise to prominence in the world owes, to a considerable extent, to the post-war liberal international system, is particularly vulnerable to the ongoing change that could make the world less stable and predictable. Then what should be the response of Asia to the challenges coming from the period of uncertainties? What should international lawyers do to preserve the legal and institutional pillars on which the rise of Asia has rested?
These are some of the questions the biennial conference in Seoul is expected to address. The overall theme of the conference, unlike those of the previous biennial conferences, is touched with a sense of concern and caution. This is due to the unwanted changes taking place to the world and the gravity of the turmoil such changes would cause. Admittedly there would be no easy answers to those questions but our discussion will help the region to find better ways to cope with the challenges coming from the uncertain period.
I thank and congratulate again the Korea Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing us with a timely opportunity to discuss various issues facing the world and our region in this challenging time. I look forward to the active participation and contribution of the members of the Society.
I wish the Seoul Biennial Conference every success!