Centre for International Law Podcasts

CIL Podcast: In Conversation with Dean Simon Chesterman

April 28, 2020

Dr Romesh Weeramantry, Head of International Dispute Resolution at CIL, speaks to the Dean of the NUS Law Faculty, Professor Simon Chesterman, about The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Asia and the Pacific, which Dean Chesterman co-edited with Judge Hisashi Owada and Professor Ben Saul. The podcast also covers current issues such as the regional strategic competition between the U.S. and China, and the international response to COVID-19, as well as Dean Chesterman’s advice to young scholars on research and writing. 


One of the many subjects covered in the podcast relates to the role international law can play in international affairs. Dean Chesterman observes that he sometimes sees international law as:


‘[T]he grammar of international relations. If you break grammatical rules, you don’t go to prison but you make less sense… you are less able to persuade people to come onto your side and as a result costs ensue…. I hope that international law will provide the kind of language that will encourage the better angels of the great powers like the United States and China… to avoid a major fight…. And the hope is that international law can provide a convening space where the United States, China and others can get together, but also [provide] a mediating forum where the tensions can be resolved without a rift and certainly one hopes without a war.' 



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