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The Symposium on Global Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance 2022 Successfully Concluded in Sanya

2022-11-05 15:39:12       source:NISCSS

On November 3-4, the Symposium on Global Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance 2022 was successfully held in Sanya, Hainan.


The symposium was co-sponsored by the China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea, Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance, China Ocean Development Foundation and National Institute for South China Sea Studies, and co-organized by the Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University, South China Sea Institute, Xiamen University, and Institute for China-America Studies (U.S.). More than 500 experts and scholars, former politicians, representatives of international organizations and maritime government departments from more than 20 countries and regions around the world, including China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Canada as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong, attended the symposium in person or remotely. Senior diplomats from embassies and consulates-general in China, including Cambodia, Malaysia, the United States and Australia, attended the meeting.


Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered a video message.

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Liu Zhenmin, former UN Under-Secretary-General and Secretary General of the Second UN Ocean Conference, Wang Hong, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Administrator of State Oceanic Administration, Deng Xijun, Ambassador of China’s Mission to ASEAN, and Michael Lodge, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority delivered video speeches. Hu Guanghui, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of Hainan Provincial People’s Congress and Yang Renhuo, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made speeches in the opening ceremony. Wu Shicun, Chairman of the Board of China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea and Chairman of Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance, and Lv Bin, President of China Oceanic Development Foundation, made welcome remarks.



Wang Yi said that President Xi Jinping stressed that “this blue planet that we humans live is not divided into individual islands by ocean, but is connected by ocean into a community of a shared future, with everyone’s safety and security interconnected.” China stands ready to work with other countries to uphold the spirit of a maritime community of a shared future proposed by President Xi, balance maritime development with security, and promote maritime cooperation and ocean governance. First, we need to jointly protect maritime security. We must settle maritime conflicts in a peaceful manner. Disputes over territorial sovereignty as well as maritime rights and interests must be resolved through dialogue and consultation. Second, we need to jointly promote maritime development. We need to promote maritime connectivity and ensure the smooth flow of maritime transport and industrial chains. China stands ready to work with all the other parties to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in line with high standards, and actively develop blue economic partnerships to inject new momentum into world economic recovery. Thirdly, we need to discuss ocean governance together. We must adhere to genuine multilateralism and keep improving the governance system centered on the United Nations.


Wang Yi emphasized that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). As the first political document reached between China and ASEAN countries on the South China Sea, the DOC has played the role of a stabilizer for the South China Sea and has created a peaceful regional environment for China-ASEAN relations. China stands ready to work with ASEAN countries to speed up the consultation process on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), build rules for interaction at the sea in the common interests of all parties, and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.



In his speech, Amb. Liu Zhenmin, introduced the 2022 UN Ocean Conference and its outcome documents, stressing that ocean is the key to global sustainable development and prosperity, as it generates 50% of the oxygen needed by humans and is vital to mitigating the effects of climate change. Sea level rise, marine pollution and overfishing pose serious challenges to the human living environment, food security and economic growth. It is vital for us to further strengthen maritime cooperation and ocean governance at the global, regional and national levels. All countries need to take more concerted actions to protect and peacefully use ocean and marine resources, in order to promote sustainable ocean development and build an equitable blue ocean.


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Vice Minister Wang Hong said that once-in-a-century changes, Covid-19 and the crisis in Ukraine are intertwined and overlapped. Global risks and challenges are emerging, and global ocean governance is facing profound adjustments and changes. In the face of these crises, no country or region can do it alone, so countries need to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, uphold the vision of a community of a shared future for mankind, further improve the global ocean governance system, and strive to achieve sustainable development of ocean and human society. China stands ready to further deepen cooperation with other countries around the world, enhance mutual trust, jointly address challenges, bridge gaps in maritime development, promote high-quality Belt and Road development, and provide more marine public services and products for the region and the international community, thus contributing Chinese wisdom to global ocean governance.



Deputy Director Hu Guanghui said that the report of the 20th Party Congress twice mentioned “accelerating the building of Hainan Free Trade Port”. Hainan is a typical island economy and the sea provides an important platform for Hainan’s economic and social development. In building itself into the free trade port, Hainan must make further ecological progress, step up marine environmental protection, develop and utilize marine resources in a scientific and orderly manner, and cultivate and expand distinctive marine economy. Hainan is located in a major juncture of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It needs to deepen international exchanges and cooperation, and strengthen marine tourism, marine environmental protection, marine fisheries, marine search and rescue and other areas of cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, as it is exploring opening-up at a high level and building itself into a free trade port.



Amb. Deng Xijun said, in his speech, that China and ASEAN countries have achieved fruitful outcomes in maritime exchanges and cooperation. In the future, China stands ready to work with ASEAN countries to practice true multilateralism in the field of international maritime law, fully, completely and accurately interpret and apply international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), maintain and promote a fair and just international maritime order, jointly enhance the capacity of developing countries in ocean governance, and provide more public goods for sustainable development of ocean to the benefit of regional countries and people.



Secretary-General Lodge said that the number of deep seabed exploration projects has increased from 6 in 2001 to 31 in 2022, involving 22 different countries, 12 of which are developing countries. Growing demand for mineral resources has prompted countries and multinational corporations to accelerate the development of mining technology and assessment on project implementation options. The International Seabed Authority is establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework to prevent possible impacts of resources development on the deep seabed environment. He called for greater cooperation among countries to develop and implement a comprehensive set of rules and standards governing deep seabed mining and related activities, and to build a global governance regime that represents all countries, including landlocked countries and small island developing states.


The symposium lasted for two days. Participants held extensive discussions and in-depth exchanges on topics such as “multilateralism and global ocean governance”, “cooperation between South China Sea littoral states and mutual trust building in maritime security”, “climate change and maritime cooperation”, “the 20th anniversary of the DOC and regional order in the South China Sea”, “ocean governance and practices in polar regions”, “the 40th anniversary of UNCLOS and maritime cooperation in enclosed or semi-enclosed seas” and “blue partnership and sustainable marine development”.


The symposium believed that the current global ocean governance system is facing challenges in terms of fragmentation of mechanisms, competition between blocs, “white-hot” maritime disputes, deglobalization, prevalent unilateralism and protectionism, and underdevelopment of rules and mechanisms. Some countries, led by the United States, pursue narrow “mini-multilateralism” and follow exclusive “small-group” thinking, interfering in international cooperation on creating more “good public goods in governance”. Countries around the world need to embrace the UN-centered and inclusive multilateralism, uphold rules of international and regional multilateralism, including UNCLOS and the DOC, and keep improving international and regional rules and cooperation mechanisms for ocean governance.




In response to climate change and consequent marine environmental challenges, non-traditional issues such as marine microplastics, and regional ocean challenges such as protection of fishery resources in the South China Sea, Arctic cooperation and polar governance, we need to quickly review successful experiences and international lessons, improve regional and international rules for sustainable ocean development such as fisheries management and offshore new energy development, and actively build a blue partnership.


In the symposium, experts and scholars proposed that all parties concerned need to abandon the Western-oriented and confrontational diplomatic approach, enhance mutual trust by implementing the DOC and negotiating the COC, strengthen institutionalized regional cooperation in the fields of fisheries, environmental protection, search and rescue and security, and promote the peaceful use of the sea.




The participants suggested that this year is the 40th anniversary of the signing of UNCLOS. It is necessary to assess the boundaries in interpreting and applying UNCLOS in the course of international practice, such as fisheries cooperation in semi-closed seas and joint development of resources in disputed water territories, and to remain alert to the trend of expanding the jurisdiction of international adjudicative bodies and excessive use of evolutionary interpretation.



According to Wu Shicun, Chairman of the Board of China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea and Chairman of Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance, this symposium comes as the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was just concluded. It also comes at a time when Hainan is moving faster in building the island into a free trade port, global geopolitical conflicts are rising, and ocean governance are facing a host of challenges. It aims to provide an important platform for experts, scholars, former politicians and representatives of maritime institutions to discuss sustainable development of global ocean and address pressing challenges in this field. The symposium was broadcasted live through VZAN, Youtube, Twitter and other Chinese and international new media platforms. More than 6,000 people registered online to attend the symposium. The scale and influence of the symposium reached a new high. With this symposium, the organizers is committed to serving sustainable development of global ocean, peace and stability of the South China Sea, and the building of Hainan Free Trade Port. As a new co-sponsor of this year's symposium, Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance is a comprehensive ocean policy think tank dedicated to peaceful use and sustainable development of ocean, with focus on cross-discipline and cross-field research on maritime cooperation and ocean governance.