Maritime state to maritime power

Updated: 2013-08-05 07:03

By Jin Yongming (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

More efforts should be made to build China into a maritime power, President Xi Jinping said on July 30. Speaking at a study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Xi, who is also the Party general secretary, said oceans and seas have a very important role to play in a country's economic development and opening-up strategy, and global competition. The seas play a crucial role in safeguarding a country's sovereignty and security, and its development interests.

Xi's remarks enrich China's maritime power strategy, which was outlined in the key report to the 18th CPC National Congress in November and calls for making more efforts to exploit marine resources, protect the marine environment and safeguard the country's maritime rights and interests. Xi has also stated the basic principles and specific objectives of building China into a maritime power.

The implementation of China's maritime power strategy will be in accordance with international and domestic situations and changes. It is a timely and important strategy, which is not only integral to the country's policy of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, but also conducive to its peaceful development. Therefore, the process of building China into a maritime power should suit the country's specific national conditions.

China's maritime strategy is peaceful in nature. That means it will adhere to the path of peaceful development and use peaceful means to implement its maritime strategy, which is fully in line with the trend of the times and conforms to its new security concept (of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation).

While safeguarding its maritime rights and interests, China will take other countries' reasonable demands and concerns into consideration, and pursue common interests in the development of the seas for mutual benefit. But since one country alone cannot deal with all maritime issues given their complex nature, promoting mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation with other countries remains the best way of furthering China's maritime goals.

China will never abandon its legitimate rights and interests in maritime territorial disputes with other countries. And because of the sensitive and complex nature of such disputes, they should be resolved in a fair and equitable manner when conditions permit. Until a resolution is reached, however, China will adhere to the policy of "shelving disputes and carrying out joint development" in areas over which it has sovereign rights.

Besides, China also has to take effective measures to ensure that navigation in international waters is safe, for which it has to carry out regular anti-piracy operations.

Although China's maritime power strategy conforms to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, it has to better publicize its policies to change other countries' misconceptions about its motives.

The country's leadership has been taking well-organized steps with the aim of safeguarding its maritime rights and interests in a peaceful manner to distinguish China from traditional maritime powers that depended on military strength, including establishment of military bases overseas, to expand the ambit of and consolidate their hegemony.

In other words, China will use all its strength - political, diplomatic, economic, legal, cultural and military - to safeguard its maritime rights and interests. It will develop its navy in proportion to its overall strength and gradually overcome the difficulties and meet the challenges that emerge during the process.

The country will follow the principles and requirements that the international community holds close to its heart to develop high-end marine technologies, improve its capability of exploiting as well as managing marine resources, and build its naval forces.

The implementation of the maritime power strategy is of great strategic value and significance for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China has to better manage maritime development in order to transform itself into a maritime power.

Keeping in mind the importance of a harmonious relationship between the marine environment and human being, China should cultivate common interests with other countries to reap mutual benefit from the exploration and exploitation of marine resources. For that, it has to put forward ideas and values that are easy to be accepted by the international community.

The author is director of the Center for China Marine Strategy Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

(China Daily USA 08/05/2013 page12)