Universität Wien

150122 VU Strategic Gaming: The South China Sea Dispute (2022W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 50 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

To familiarize students with the South China Sea dispute, but also with the the format of a strategic gaming, there will be two introductory sessions on 6 October (on-site) and 12 October (hybrid). Thereby the lecturers will explain the background of a strategic game/simulation, how students should represent the actor they want to represent and how they should negotiate with other "diplomats". In addition, they will explain the reasons for the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and present current developments. Attendance at the first two sessions is mandatory.
The two gaming days will be held on 26 and 27 November, 9:00-18:00 each day. Participation at the introductory meetings and the two game days is compulsory for a positive grade.

* * * This class is usually in high demand with students. Therefore, if you find yourself on the waiting list, please make sure to attend the first session. We will try to accommodate additional students if possible.

* * * To get familiar with the South China Sea dispute, we recommend to attend this event: On 27 September, 9:00-10:00, Alfred Gerstl will discuss together with Alan Chong (Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore) the history of the dispute and current developments in the South China Sea. This online event is part of the lecture series “The South China Sea Explained” (27-29 September), organized by the University of Bergen. (Link to the program and Zoom: https://www.bergenglobal.no/events/the-south-china-sea-explained-the-history/).

Donnerstag 06.10. 18:00 - 21:00 Hörsaal D Unicampus Hof 10 Hirnforschungzentrum Spitalgasse 4
Mittwoch 12.10. 18:30 - 20:00 Seminarraum Sinologie 1 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-10
Samstag 26.11. 09:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum Ostasienwissenschaften 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-05
Seminarraum Sinologie 1 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-10
Seminarraum Sinologie 2 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-18
Sonntag 27.11. 09:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum Ostasienwissenschaften 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-05
Seminarraum Sinologie 1 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-10
Seminarraum Sinologie 2 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-18


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

In the South China Sea, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam dispute about overlapping territorial and sovereignty claims. Being supposedly rich in oil and gas resources as well as minerals and fish, these nations claim “islands”, reefs and rocks. However, most claims are legally and politically contested, notably the so-called nine-dash or U-line claimed both by Beijing and Taipei which covers about 90 percent of the South China Sea. China does not comply with the 2016 award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which rejects the legal base of the nine-dash line under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

As the South China Sea is a globally important sea line of communication, outside actors such as the US, Japan, India and the European Union have a strategic interest in maritime security, further complicating the overall security situation. The US responds to China’s land reclamation activities and the militarization of its artificial islands with dispatching its navy and regularly conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) to uphold international law. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have so far failed to draft the envisioned regional Code of Conduct to mitigate the territorial disputes. ASEAN, however, is not engaged in concrete talks to resolve the disputes, as China only negotiates on a bilateral level with the Southeast Asian claimant states.

This course is a negotiation simulation, simulating a real-world scenario in the controlled setting in the classroom. Simulating a complex conflict from the realm of international relations, participants form groups of “diplomats” (3–6 students) representing states and international organizations. Groups simulate the role of their respective actor and interact with other actors with the aim of fulfilling their set of objectives (“national interests”) utilizing a certain range of means. Interaction of actors is based on a fictional, yet realistic plot distributed to students before the game days.

Day 1 (3:00 hours): Introductory presentations. Students will get practical information about strategic gamings and negotiation skills (M. Mandl). The South China Sea dispute will be briefly introduced (A. Gerstl), and students will receive a comprehensive script about the background and key interests of the main actors to prepare for day 2. At the end of day 1, students will form actor groups, representing the key regional and external actors, namely ASEAN, China, the US, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Depending on the number of students additional groups can be formed (India, Australia, Russia, the EU …).

Day 2 (hybrid): The background of the South China Sea dispute will be explained in detail and the scenario for the two game days introduced (A. Gerstl).

Before the two game days, the country groups can meet on a voluntary base with the lecturers.

Day 3 & 4 (weekend, on-site): At the beginning of day 2, each group will formulate certain targets and the means of reaching these targets based on each actor’s individual position in the conflict, the overall strategic situation in East Asia and the scenario drafted in the plot. Groups will then be able to enter formal and informal bi- and multilateral negotiations in order to formulate a common agreement at a fictional ASEAN-organized meeting (taking place on both game days). Actors do not necessarily need to agree on a common solution, but rather continuously aim at enforcing their own interests.

The main aims of the Strategic Gaming are:
- Gaining knowledge of the complex constellations in the South China Sea disputes, the overall security situation in East Asia and of the impacts of different conflicts on each other
- Acquiring a deeper understanding of the interests, positions and policies of the parties concerned
- Developing skills to enhance strategic thinking, acting and negotiating in complex negotiation situations.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

See "Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab"

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

The grade will be determined based on the submission of two course-related papers (written in accordance with the standards of good academic practice) and active participation during the game.

Paper I: Analysis of the group's interests, aims and means: 30%
Active participation in the game: 40%
Paper II: Evaluation of the group’s performance during the game: 30%
Attendance of the introductory session, submission of papers and continuous attendance at both game days are a necessary pre-condition for a positive grade.
The types of assessment and assessment ratio may be subject to change if the epidemiological situation changes.


The grade will be determined based on the requirements listed above.


A comprehensive game plot and an introductory literature list will be available on Moodle for registered students. Students are also required to research additional literature to prepare for their actor’s role, game days and individual papers.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis


Letzte Änderung: Mi 21.09.2022 14:27