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June 12, 2019

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A community with a shared future for our planet

Pollution, biodiversity loss, piracy, whale hunting ... The blue planet of Earth is under threat.

Alarmed, the world has scrambled to improve maritime governance, and many have found inspiration in China’s call for building a maritime community with a shared future.

“The blue planet humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future, where people of all countries share weal and woe,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in April during a group meeting with foreign naval dignitaries.

In that spirit, China cherishes the cradle of life, and has delivered on its commitment to seeking sustainable marine development, promoting a “blue economy” based on shared benefits and helping maintain maritime security.

It has enforced an annual fishing ban since 1995, and has rolled out an ecological red-line initiative that puts some of China’s best-preserved coastlines under rigorous protection.

Meanwhile, the country is striding forward in phasing out single-use, non-degradable plastic and replacing it with ocean-friendly plastic that degrades in seawater.

Platform for cooperation

China has also applied itself to facilitating maritime trade through win-win cooperation, and promoting maritime connectivity through open and inclusive cooperation platforms.

The Port of Hamburg in Germany is now one of the most important European hubs for trade with China. And the Colombo Port in Sri Lanka, with help from China, has turned into one of the fastest growing ports in the global market. At least 11,000 enterprises from 83 countries have so far participated in the annual China Marine Economy Expo launched in 2012.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has become an important platform for international maritime cooperation.

The Chinese people love peace, and their country has contributed great naval resources to helping safeguard the security of international waterways for the benefit of all.

The Chinese navy has sent dozens of fleets to escort missions in piracy-ridden international waters, and over half of the more than 6,600 vessels they have protected are foreign ships.

Besides, China has been working with other relevant parties to formulate a code of conduct in the South China Sea, and they have made steady progress, thanks to which the situation in the region has calmed down despite outside interference.

China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive rather than offensive in nature.

It resorts to consultations instead of confrontation in dealing with maritime disputes, and has become a stabilizer and guardian of the international maritime order.

In the face of the various grave problems threatening the oceans, China has charted the most viable course for humankind to preserve the blue planet, and has acted on it.

Last Saturday was this year’s World Oceans Day. It’s high time that a concerted global effort be carried out to jointly build a maritime community with a shared future.

The author is a Xinhua writer.


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