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Harmony is the theme of China's ocean strategy

(People's Daily Online)

16:56, July 17, 2013

Edited and Translated by Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online

According to the law of the United Nations' marine convention and China's own consistent position, China has jurisdiction over almost 3 million square kilometers of sea, including inland waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone and the exclusive economic zone, and a share of rights and interests on the outer continental shelf.

But compared with many other world maritime powers, this figure is very small. National ocean territorial areas claimed by the United States and Australia extend to almost 10 million square kilometers, while countries such as Japan, Canada, and the UK claim more than 4 million square kilometers. In view of its huge population base, China's sovereignty over its surrounding seas is far from vast.

China’s sovereignty over its surrounding waters is therefore relatively unfavorable for a state bearing a heavy burden of development, part of whose mission is to become a marine power. China must therefore adopt a global perspective on its marine development strategy, using the world's oceans as a platform and acting to expand international public marine territory and cooperate with other coastal states, while striving to stabilize its own marine territory and strengthen overall management of marine space beyond considerations of its own sovereign rights and interests.

International public marine territory includes the high seas and other defined areas. 'High seas' refer to the exclusive economic zone, territorial sea, inland waters and waters beyond the islands waters of archipelagic states. ‘Other areas’ refers to the exclusive economic zone or the bottom of the ocean beyond the continental shelf of a coastal state. This often contains rich resources, and is the common property of all mankind.

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