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150058 SE Strategic Gaming: South China Sea (2019S)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work

Für das EC Interkulturelle Kompetenz Ostasien: Ersatz-LV für VU History of East Asia


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The date of the introductory meeting (4 hours) is 12 April 2019, 9:45-13:45, HS A (Campus Altes AKH)
The two game days will be held on 25 and 26 May 2019, 9:00-18:00

Friday 12.04. 09:45 - 13:45 Hörsaal A UniCampus Zugang Hof 2 2F-EG-32


Aims, contents and method of the course

In the South China Sea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei dispute about overlapping territorial claims. Being supposedly rich in oil and gas resources as well as minerals and fish, these nations claim “islands”, reefs and rocks. Most claims, though, are legally and politically contested, notably the U-line claimed both by Beijing and Taipei. Despite the aim of ASEAN and China to draft a Code of Conduct the disputes are far from being resolved, not at least because of China´s preference for bilateral negotiations and its allegedly assertive behavior. As the South China Sea is a globally important sea line of communication, externals actors such as the US, Japan, India and the EU have a strategic interest in maritime security, further complicating the overall security situation.
This course takes place as a strategic game. A strategic game simulates a real-world scenario in a controlled setting. Simulating a complex conflict from the realm of international relations, participants form groups representing states or organizations. Groups simulate the role of their respective actor and interact with other actors with the aim of fulfilling a 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 game day.

Day 1 (five hours): Introductory presentations. Students will get practical information on strategic gaming (J.F. Loher) as well as on the disputes in the South China Sea (A. Gerstl) and negotiation skills. At the end of day 1, students will form actor groups.

Day 2: 09:00-17:00: Preparation in groups, bi- and multilateral negotiations (formal and informal), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in the afternoon.
Day 3: 09:00-17:00: Evaluation of ARF meeting in groups, bi- and multilateral negotiations (formal and informal), final ARF meeting in the afternoon, feedback & evaluation.

Day 2 & 3 (weekend): At the beginning of day 2, each group will first need to formulate certain targets and then define 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 into bi- and multilateral negotiations in order to then negotiate a common agreement at the Asian Regional Forum 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.

Assessment and permitted materials

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. Please note that type of assessment as well as ratio of assessment differs depending on your study program:

Assessment #1:

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.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

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 and positions of the parties concerned
- Developing skills to enhance strategic thinking and acting and negotiating in complex situations.

In our case of the South China Sea dispute, students will form groups representing the key actors with between 3 and 7 students (depending on the total number of students). These groups will include the main regional and external actors (i.e. China, USA, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan ...) and an international organization (ASEAN/ARF).

Examination topics

Reading list

Gerstl, Alfred and Strasakova, Maria (Eds.) (2017): Unresolved Border, Land and Maritime Disputes in Southeast Asia. Bi- and Multilateral Conflict Resolution Approaches and ASEAN's Centrality. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:35