Re­gional mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion would reap re­wards

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

The China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive meets the world’s needs for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, peace, pros­per­ity, open­ing-up, in­no­va­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which is why it has gained the sup­port of over 100 coun­tries and re­gions.

The prin­ci­ple of achiev­ing shared growth through dis­cus­sions and col­lab­o­ra­tion on an equal foot­ing, and the foun­da­tion of in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity, have been a strong im­pe­tus for the ini­tia­tive, in which the en­vi­sioned 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road tra­verses the oceans.

To ad­vance the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, it is nec­es­sary to de­velop the mar­itime econ­omy and mar­itime tech­nol­ogy.

China should co­op­er­ate with other coun­tries to fur­ther de­velop the mar­itime econ­omy. In par­tic­u­lar, it should en­hance its co­op­er­a­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions in mar­itime fields with low sen­si­tiv­ity and im­prove co­or­di­na­tion with the ASEAN mem­bers to re­al­ize a mar­itime green econ­omy.

Mar­itime in­dus­try is a main pil­lar of the mar­itime econ­omy, which in­cludes de­vel­op­ment, uti­liza­tion and pro­tec­tion of mar­itime spa­ces and re­sources. Fish­ing, ship­ping and sub­ma­rine oil and gas ex­ploita­tion uti­lize mar­itime space and mar­itime re­sources, while ship­build­ing, steel, me­chan­ics and elec­tron­ics are fun­da­men­tal ser­vices for these mar­itime in­dus­tries. The co­op­er­a­tion of China and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to de­velop the mar­itime econ­omy will also help achieve the goal of a new type of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions based on mu­tual ben­e­fit and rec­i­proc­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the China Marine eco­nomic sta­tis­tics bul­letin (2013-2017) of China’s State Oceanic Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the added value of China’s mar­itime econ­omy is con­cen­trated in the ter­tiary sec­tor, es­pe­cially coastal tourism, and tra­di­tional in­dus­try such as mar­itime trans­porta­tion and fish­ery. Data for the first half of 2018 re­leased by the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral re­sources show an up­ward trend of mar­itime emerg­ing in­dus­tries, such as re­new­able en­ergy, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and bi­o­log­i­cal prod­ucts and de­sali­na­tion.

Im­prov­ing the oceanic in­dus­try by means of com­ple­men­tary co­op­er­a­tion is im­por­tant for China-ASEAN co­op­er­a­tion.

Four mea­sures should be taken to pro­mote mar­itime eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion. There should be an in­ter­na­tional plat­form for mar­itime in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Coun­tries should col­lab­o­rate on key mar­itime tech­nol­ogy to merge ad­van­tages to ac­cel­er­ate joint re­search, as well as re­duce costs and de­vel­op­ment risks in emerg­ing in­dus­tries.

Co­op­er­a­tion among coun­tries re­quires a co­or­di­nated man­age­ment sys­tem. Coun­tries should ar­range train­ing and ex­changes to cul­ti­vate spe­cial per­son­nel to im­ple­ment and im­prove the co­or­di­nated man­age­ment sys­tem.

Af­ter all the prepa­ra­tion, coun­tries should put up a rat­ing sys­tem to eval­u­ate the re­sults of mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. Coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing in re­gional mar­itime in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion there­fore need uni­fied cri­te­ria to man­age, eval­u­ate and im­prove their co­op­er­a­tion.

Co­op­er­a­tion at dif­fer­ent lev­els and scales in the mar­itime in­dus­try would not only en­hance mu­tual trust among coun­tries and in­crease the achieve­ments of the mar­itime econ­omy, but also pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road. China and the ASEAN should agree on the goals of mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion and make con­crete ef­forts to achieve them.

The au­thor is a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Law, Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, and di­rec­tor of the Marine Strat­egy Re­search Of­fice at the China Ocean De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter.

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