Changes and Changes in China's Ocean Policy from the 19th National Congress Report


How will China treat its oceans? There are two changes in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that deserve attention.

First, the report proposes to accelerate the building of an ocean power, compared with the 18th National Congress report, the word "accelerate" is added.

Wang Yiming, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, said in an interview with China News Service that a series of outstanding achievements in marine science and technology in China over the past five years, such as the Jiaolong, have laid the material and technological foundation for building a strong ocean state. "Now it's time to comprehensively accelerate the construction of a strong ocean state."

Second, the report places this expression in the fifth part of "building a modernized economic system", instead of continuing the practice of the 18th National Congress report, in the part of "vigorously promoting the construction of ecological civilization".

Wang Yimin said, the so-called ocean power, one of the basic conditions is that the marine economy should be highly developed, the proportion of the total economic output and the contribution rate to economic growth is high, and the ocean development and protection capacity is strong.

At present, blue is gradually seeping into the bottom color of China's economy. In the words of Wang Hong, director of the State Oceanic Administration of China, China's economic pattern and open pattern show an unprecedented "by the sea" characteristics, China's economy is already highly dependent on the sea open economy.

According to official data, China's gross marine product has increased from about 2 trillion yuan in 2006 to about 7 trillion yuan in 2016, but the proportion of GDP has always hovered around 9-10 percent. "Compared with many developed economies where the share of the ocean economy is easily as high as 60 percent, the development of China's ocean economy is still far from enough." Wang Yimin said.

Officials have previously proposed to increase the contribution rate of the ocean and related industries and the waterfront economy to the national economy and social development, and strive to make the ocean economy an important engine to drive national economic development. It is reasonable to assume that China will invest more energy in developing the marine economy and strengthening the integration of land and sea in the future.

From the 18th to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China's attitude toward the ocean has also remained unchanged in two ways .

First, China's intention to build an ocean power is never to "dominate the ocean.

The reports of the 18th and 19th National Congresses of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have always put "building a strong country in the ocean" in the section on internal rather than external relations. In the words of Jin Canrong, vice dean of the School of International Relations of Renmin University of China, such a line is to tell the world that building a strong country in the ocean is a need for China's domestic development.

As a programmatic document to navigate China's future development, the 19th National Congress report has made it clear that China "will never develop itself at the expense of other countries' interests"; "China's development poses no threat to any country. No matter how far China develops, it will never claim hegemony and will never engage in expansion". From this perspective, China's construction of a strong maritime nation will always be based on peace, cooperation and win-win situation.

Second, China will continue to attach importance to marine ecological protection.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has placed unprecedented emphasis on ecological protection. For the first time, the report proposed the goal of building a modern and strong socialist country that is "rich, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful", and formally included the concept of "green water and green mountains are the silver mountain of gold".

Wang Yimin said that the report of the 19th National Congress moved the building of a strong marine state from the construction of ecological civilization to the part of modern economic system, which does not mean that development will be more important than protection. With environmental protection already receiving unprecedented attention, "China will continue to increase its efforts to protect the ocean and will not plunder it."