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China Voice: Building China into maritime power essential for future development

By Cao Kai (Xinhua)

10:30, November 14, 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- A keynote report delivered by Chinese leader Hu Jintao at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has advocated building China into a maritime power, a move to better tap the country's marine resources and safeguard its maritime rights.

Putting "maritime power building" on the Party's policy agenda is of both realistic and strategic importance for China, which faces the challenges of maintaining its economic growth and safeguarding its interests at sea.

A maritime power usually refers to a country with comprehensive strength in maritime exploitation, marine economy development, marine environmental protection and marine control.

Looking back to history, many developed nations became prosperous because of their exploitation of the sea. Eight of the world's most developed countries are by the sea and the five major industrial belts of the world are constructed by the sea.

China has an 18,000-km-long coastline with more than three million square km of maritime space. Tapping the vast resources under the water is a necessity for China's economic growth as it faces increasing resource constraints inland and rising material costs overseas.

The development of the maritime economy is conducive to easing pressures on the energy and ecological environment of China's inland areas. The high added-value of the maritime industry also helps optimize the industrial structure and create a new engine for economic growth.

Speeding up the research, exploitation and development of maritime wherewithal will also create new jobs and promote growth in other industries.

China's ocean production is expected to account for 10 percent of its gross domestic product by 2015, according to Liu Cigui, head of the State Oceanic Administration.

China has become an export-oriented economy due to its opening up in recent decades and heavily relies on the ocean for this trading. The safety of passage on the high seas needs to be guaranteed.

The rising disputes over China's islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea and some countries' illegal exploitation of resources in Chinese maritime territories also call for a strong maritime power to guarantee China's sovereignty.

To be a maritime power does not necessarily mean to intimidate or invade others. As opposed to past Western cultures taking to the sea, China has unremittingly promoted peace and development in the world.

More than 600 years ago, the great Chinese explorer Zheng He made seven voyages to more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa in what was at that time the largest fleet of the world, traveling more than 100,000 km, and bringing Chinese goods and friendship to the places he visited, instead of war and invasion.

China's military warships conducting escort missions in the Gulf of Aden since 2008 have protected both Chinese and foreign merchant ships from pirates.

The 21st century is a century of the ocean. The peaceful exploitation of the sea will benefit all.

Video: Opening ceremony of 18th CPC National Congress Hu Jintao delivers report to CPC congress 'Beautiful scenery' at 18th CPC National Congress
18th CPC National Congress: A crucial event for China China Voice: As U.S. elections wind down, so might China-bashing China says "no concessions" on sovereignty issue


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