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People's Daily Online>>Special Coverage >> China Studies >> Cooperation >> Marine Economy

The Growing Significance of the Ocean for China's Opening up (3)

(People's Daily Online)

14:08, November 16, 2011

The integration of East Asia around the ocean
Since the end of World War II, there have been waves of rising power one after another in East Asia. Japan, East Asian "tigers" and China have become powerful engines to boost economic development in East Asia, which has become the fastest growing and most open regional economy in the world. The rise of East Asia, initiated by taking part in economic globalization, is also accelerating its own regional integration process, particularly the increasing proportion of intra-regional trade and free trade negotiations in full swing as symbols (see Table 1). While China is in the central position of East Asia integration, it is also the key driver of these two processes. As the most powerful driving force for integration in East Asia, the overall strategic effect of China’s rise is being fully shown. The East Asia cooperation mechanism facilitated by China represents a new diplomatic idea to foster and develop regional orders of equality, cooperation, mutual benefit, mutual assistance on the basis of common interests around its crucial areas; to eliminate long-term barriers and accumulated grievances in the process of constructive interaction; to explore and gradually establish relations between countries and new criteria of international relationships .

Table 1 East Asian FTA matrix (as of January 2007)

Note: Ò Signed or implemented; ▲ In bilateral negotiations; • Multilateral negotiations underway♂ Taken into consideration or has started a feasibility study

From the map it is clearly that the East Asia integration activities are carried out around the ocean. China-Japan-Korea, 10+1, 10+3 or 10+6, all of these have close relationship with the ocean. All these integration and cooperation mechanisms reflect the central role of China. However, on the other hand, territorial waters disputes among countries in East Asia caused a lot of disturbance on East Asia integration process, such as territorial disputes among China and some ASEAN countries, between China and Japan, between Japan and Korea. On this condition, China has proposed a new order of "harmonious ocean", the main point of which is to build a fair and reasonable ocean under the leadership of the United Nations; to build a free and orderly ocean on the basis of equal negotiation; to build a peaceful ocean by both resolving the current problems and eliminating root causes; to build a harmonious ocean in coexistence through international exchanges and cooperation; to build an ecological-friendly ocean with respect and love to the sea.
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