The United States has played a pivotal role in driving several international law developments at the poles. In contrast, China, as a rising power, has only been actively involved in polar governance in recent years. US-China relations, however, have entered into a new era of strategic rivalry. From trade to cyber security, from the South China Sea to outer space, the existing international order is being shaped by competition between the United States and China—even at the ends of the Earth. This presentation will examine the US-China relationship as it pertains to the development of international law in the Polar Regions. It first assesses the legal and policy implications of China’s rise in the Arctic and Antarctic. Then the presentation turns to US-China competition in the Polar Regions. The presentation concludes with some predictions about the future of polar governance in the context of the escalating US-China strategic rivalry.
Nengye Liu is a Senior Lecturer at Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide. He was educated in Wuhan, China (LLB and LLM) and Ghent, Belgium (Doctor of Law). He has lead-edited two books and published more than 40 refereed articles and book chapters. His current research centers on China's role in global ocean governance, with a particular focus on the Polar Regions.