The ocean, which covers 71 percent of the earth's surface, is a basic component of the globaal bio-support system. It is also a treasure house of resources and an important regulator of the environment. It is inevitable that the development of human society will come to depend more and more on the ocean.

In the coming 21st century mankind will have new opportunities to develop and utilize the ocean. Upholding the principles of the international marine law as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maintaining the wholesomeness of the oceans, protecting the marine environment and guaranteeing the sustainable utilization of marine resources and maritime safety have become common norms for all the people in the world to abide by, and a collective mission for all mankind to undertake. As a major developing country with a long coastline, China attaches great importance to marine development and protection, and takes it as the state's development strategy. It is constantly strengthening comprehensive marine management, steadily improving its marine-related laws, and actively developing science, technology and education pertaining to the oceans. China has made positive contributions to international ocean development and protection by participating positively in UN marine affairs, promoting cooperation between countries and regions and conscientiously carrying out its obligations in this field.

The year 1998 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Ocean Year, and on this occasion the Chinese government would like to introduce the progress of China's work in this particular field to the world.