The achievements of China's space industry have captured worldwide attention – riding this wave of success, the country should further promote the exploration and development of marine resources and strengthen related industries. This was the consensus of deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) during their ongoing annual sessions in Beijing, Xinhua News Agency reported on March 11.
Chen Mingyi speaks in the Second Session of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference held in Beijing on March 7, stressing it will be a significant forward move for China to step up the development and protection of offshore territorial resources. [Photo from Xinhua News Agency]
"Blue territory" is a popular topic as everyone attaches great importance to the safety and peaceful development of the high seas, Xinhua reported.
Chen Mingyi, a CPPCC member, said oceanic development had become a strategic focus in the 21st century to gain new resources, expand living space and promote economic and social development. "It will be a significant forward move for China to step up the development and protection of offshore territorial resources."
"The sea occupies 71 percent of the total area of the earth, and 70 percent of the waters are open seas," said Chen. "Many countries are actively developing marine technology in order to take the lead in exploring the ocean bed and polar regions."
Chen revealed China has started the exploration of international submarine resources and designated a 75,000-square-km area of the Pacific Ocean as a mineral development area. "The country has conducted a series of polar explorations in recent years but done little on the high seas," Chen added.
During last year's sessions, deputies and members warned that six problems threatened the security of China's marine rights: territorial rights, resources, transportation, maritime information, the environment, and exceptional marine safety issues.
The topic is especially urgent for Hainan Province, Xinhua reported. It has jurisdiction over 2 million square kilometers of sea, accounting for two-thirds of the national total. The province is considered a leading platform for island and maritime economic development.
Deputies from the province put forward a proposal to the NPC this year for a law on the development and management of marine resources. According to the proposal, as a resource-rich country with a marine area of 3 million kilometers, China should not only protect the peaceful and fair use of a common human heritage, but also enjoy its own share of this resource.
The proposal explained that, compared with developed countries like the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Japan, and Italy, China is comparatively backward in legislation on the development of international seabed mineral resources. Without legislation, it is not advantageous for China to conduct research and development activities, said the proposal.
Deputies and members from Hainan also suggested that the mainland and Taiwan strengthen cooperation in promoting cross-Straits maritime development.
"The two sides have successfully held six seminars on marine science in recent years," said Chen. "The two sides should consider further cooperation in the joint survey and development of resources in the Taiwan Straits."
The delegates from Hainan agreed that the strengthening of cross-Straits cooperation in this field would be advantageous in terms of the common interests of the Chinese people. They suggested that, in the near future, scholars of the two sides conduct cooperative research on major marine issues like black tide, the Taiwan warm current, China's offshore ecology, and regional climate change.
CPPCC member Liang Jiyang, who is also a researcher from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the development of marine resources is a strategic choice for China to solve its problem of resources.
"China should undertake the development of marine resources as an important strategic plan for economic development," Liang stressed. "It should quickly incorporate the protection of the maritime environment, the development of marine resources, and the expansion of marine industry into the state's main development strategy."
(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong, March 12, 2009)