March 28: China’s Gray Zone Challenges to Territorial Sovereignty and the Response in Taiwan and the Region

March 28: China’s Gray Zone Challenges to Territorial Sovereignty and the Response in Taiwan and the Region

Thursday, March 28, 2024 from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (ET) (9:00 PM – 10:30 PM Taipei and Manila)

Webcast Only

About this event

The Global Taiwan Institute (GTI) is pleased to invite you to an online seminar discussion titled “China’s Gray Zone Challenges to Territorial Sovereignty and the Responses in Taiwan and the Region.”

The early months of 2024 have seen a number of dramatic steps taken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to further challenge the territorial sovereignty of its neighbors in the Indo-Pacific region. In relation to Taiwan, these actions have included unilaterally declared changes to civil aviation flight routes in the Taiwan Strait; aggressive maritime militia presence and coast guard “patrols” in the waters surrounding Taiwan’s offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu; and continuing military aviation and naval activity in the airspace and waters surrounding Taiwan.

Such coercive maritime “gray zone” activity has also been directed at the PRC’s other regional neighbors—most notably the Philippines, which has recently experienced a series of aggressive moves by Chinese Coast Guard and other Chinese-controlled vessels to challenge Republic of Philippines (ROP) sovereignty over Scarborough and Second Thomas Shoals in the South China Sea—including ramming incidents and assaults with water cannons that damaged ROP vessels and left sailors injured.

On March 28, GTI will convene a public on-line seminar to discuss these recent Chinese actions, and what they reveal about the PRC’s coercive gray zone tactics—as well as the responses being taken by the governments of Taiwan and the Philippines in response.

Panelists will include: Dr. Jung-Ming Chang (Institute for National Defense Security Research, Taipei); Dr. Renato Cruz DeCastro (De La Salle University, Manila); Sze-Fung Lee (independent analyst on Chinese political warfare issues); and Thomas Shattuck (Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania). The event will be moderated by GTI Deputy Director John Dotson.

The event will be live-streamed on our website and YouTube beginning on Thursday, March 28 at 9:00 AM (EST). Questions for the panel may either be sent by e-mail to contact@globaltaiwan.org, or through the chat function on the YouTube page.


Dr. Jung-Ming Chang(章榮明) is an assistant research fellow in the Division of Cyber Security and Decision-Making Simulation within the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR, 國防安全研究院), a think tank affiliated with Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. Dr. Chang’s areas of research expertise include US-China-Taiwan relations, the Oceania region, international conflicts, and quantitative analysis. He holds a PhD degree from the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. Previously, he worked for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Renato Cruz De Castro is a distinguished professor in the International Studies Department of De La Salle University (Manila, Philippines), and holds the Dr. Aurelio Calderon Chair in Philippine-American Relations. He has conducted professional courses on international relations and security studies in the National Defense College, Special Intelligence Training School of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Staff College of the Philippines, and the Foreign Service Institute. In addition to serving as a visiting fellow at institutions in Japan and the United States, Professor De Castro served as a consultant to the National Security Adviser of the National Security Council during the Aquino Administration (2010-2016). As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert Del Rosario Institute of Strategic and International Studies, he writes monthly opinion columns for the Philippine Star and Business World, and has written over 100 articles on international relations and security for scholarly journals. Dr. De Castro holds two masters degrees from the University of the Philippines, and obtained his PhD from the University of South Carolina.

Sze-Fung Lee was most recently an analyst at Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Foreign Ministry, and has previously held research positions at McGill University (Montreal). Lee is currently an independent writer and researcher on Chinese influence operations and hybrid warfare issues. Lee’s articles have appeared in a range of publications, including The Diplomat, Policy Option, Crossing, Modern Diplomacy, and Hong Kong Economic Journal. Lee holds a BA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and an MA in international security from the University of Warwick (UK).

Thomas Shattuck is the global order program manager at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, as well as a non-resident Research Fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute. Shattuck is also a non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), and a member of Foreign Policy for America’s NextGen Foreign Policy Initiative. He previously served as the deputy director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). His research focuses on cross-Strait relations, Taiwanese and Chinese domestic and foreign affairs, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, and the US role in the Indo-Pacific. His articles have appeared in Barron’s, Global Taiwan Brief, Defense Security Brief, Washington Post, National Interest, American Interest, Divergent Options, Taipei Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as the peer-reviewed journals Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs and Strategic Vision. He received a BA from LaSalle University in history and English writing, and an MA in international studies from the National Chengchi University (Taipei, Taiwan). 


John Dotson is the deputy director at GTI. A former US Navy officer and professional staff member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, he has performed extensive writing and research on a range of political and national security issues related to US policy in East Asia, to include Chinese propaganda and influence efforts, military-civil fusion efforts within the People’s Liberation Army, and patterns in military coercion efforts directed against Taiwan. He is a proficient Mandarin linguist, who has performed extensive original research in indigenous Chinese language sources. Dotson holds an MA in national security studies from the US Naval War College, and a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins-SAIS.