|Coordinating Security and Development to Advance Ocean Governance|
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi
It gives me great pleasure to join you again at the opening ceremony of the Symposium on Global Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance. Let me begin by extending a hearty welcome to all of the friends present today and warm congratulations on the opening of the symposium!
Not long ago, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held successfully. In his report to the Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals, i.e. upholding world peace and promoting common development, and is dedicated to promoting a community with a shared future for mankind. This is China’s solemn pledge to the world. Embarking on a new journey, China will bring more opportunities to the development of all countries and make even greater contributions to the progress of humanity.
President Xi Jinping once observed, “This blue planet that we share does not consist of isolated islands separated by oceans, but is one connected by oceans as a community with a shared future where people of all countries have a common stake.” China stands ready to work with all countries to act in the spirit of building a maritime community with a shared future advocated by President Xi Jinping, coordinate maritime development and security, and advance maritime cooperation and ocean governance.
First, jointly safeguard maritime security.
Maritime disputes should be properly handled through peaceful means. It is important to resolve disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests through dialogue and consultation, exercise restraint, avoid taking unilateral moves that might complicate the situation, and refrain from resorting to the use or threat of force.
Maritime challenges should be responded with a spirit of solidarity. All must transcend zero-sum mentality, work together to address threats such as piracy, transnational crimes, smuggling and drug trafficking, and jointly safeguard freedom and security of navigation.
Maritime hegemony should be rejected with an unequivocal attitude. Certain major country refuses to join the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Furthermore, it has created the Indo-Pacific Strategy, put together exclusive small circles, and doubled down on provocative close-range maneuvers and muscle-flexing. This jeopardizes peace and tranquility at sea and therefore should be rejected by all.
Second, jointly promote maritime development.
We need to enhance maritime connectivity and ensure unimpeded marine transportation and industrial chains. China is ready to work with all parties to pursue high-quality cooperation in building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and actively develop the Partnership for Blue Economy, so as to inject fresh impetus into world economic recovery.
We need to apply the new development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development to ensure sustainable development of the ocean. We may seize the opportunity of advancing the Global Development Initiative to speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, balance the development and protection of the ocean, and make joint development a success.
We need to vigorously pursue practical cooperation on areas such as marine scientific research, ecological conservation, emergency search and rescue and disaster prevention and relief, and collectively tackle global challenges such as climate change and rising sea levels, so as to look after this blue home that we share.
Third, jointly discuss ocean governance.
We need to uphold true multilateralism. Further efforts should be made to improve the governance system centered around the United Nations. The national conditions unique to different countries should be fully accommodated and all countries’ legitimate aspirations and concerns should be respected. Issues that matter to all should be addressed through consultation participated by all.
We need to safeguard the maritime order underpinned by international law. UNCLOS should be interpreted and applied accurately, comprehensively and in its entirety. It is important to earnestly respect the legitimate rights and interests of all countries under UNCLOS and customary international law, refrain from imposing one’s own position on others, oppose attempts to abuse dispute settlement procedures, stay committed to friendly consultation with a spirit of mutual accommodation, and work together to safeguard the global maritime order and promote international maritime cooperation.
We need to advance regional maritime governance in the regional context. 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 signed by China and ASEAN countries on the South China Sea, the DOC has served as a stabilizer in the South China Sea and helped foster a peaceful regional environment for the growth of China-ASEAN relations. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to accelerate consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, establish rules on interactions at sea that serve the common interests of all parties, and truly build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Advancing maritime cooperation and ocean governance is a systemic endeavor, and more importantly a glorious mission. It requires the wide participation and strong support of people with vision from all countries. This symposium has its focus on both the region and the world at large. I look forward to an in-depth exchange as well as your wisdom and contribution. To conclude, I wish the symposium a full success.