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          Opportunities and Challenges of Marine Potestatem
          date:2021-04-15   from:CODF   author:Original

          In today's world, the marine economy has become an important part of the economy of coastal countries and an important carrier for expanding the space for economic and social development. Human beings have entered the era of marine economy. The most socially, economically, and culturally developed regions in the world are concentrated within 60 kilometers from the coastline, where half of the world's population is gathered. More than 70% of the total world trade value is realized through maritime transport. As a global maritime power, China is even more dependent on the marine economy. According to the website data of the State Council of China, China's economic dependence on foreign countries has reached as high as 60%; 90% of foreign trade traffic is completed through maritime transport; 19% of bulk cargo in the world shipping market is shipped to China; and 22% of export containers come from China. The blue economy represented by the marine industry is becoming a new engine to drive China's growth.

          On the other hand, however, China's marine industry is still dominated by traditional industries, and high-tech emerging industries are developing but have not yet become pillar industries. In addition, with the acceleration of economic activities, the problems such as marine ecology and environmental protection have become increasingly prominent, making it an urgent and outstanding problem to be solved to deal with the relationship between development and protection.

          According to Pan Xinchun, Deputy President and Secretary-General of China Oceanic Development Foundation, the connotation of the so-called real Marine Potestatem should include to know the ocean, to use the ocean, to manage the ocean, to make an ecological and harmonious ocean and so on. On the premise of knowing the ocean and using marine high-tech means to the ocean without destroying marine ecological balance, we should fully develop and utilize marine resources and develop the marine economy to benefit people's lives and realize harmonious coexistence between human being and the ocean and sustainable development in economy and society.

          Pan Xinchun previously served in the former State Oceanic Administration as the Director of the Department of Sea Area Management, the Director of the Sea Area Demarcation Office, and the Deputy Director of the Sea Area Review Committee. In 2015, he organized the establishment of China Oceanic Development Foundation and concurrently served as the Secretary-General, and now serves as the Deputy President and Secretary-General of the Foundation. China Oceanic Development Foundation is committed to funding projects in the areas of the Belt and Road Initiative, building blue partnerships, participating in global ocean governance, international academic exchanges on oceans, marine environmental protection and ecological construction, marine science and technology popularization and innovation, the construction of marine spatial planning system, etc. It actively promotes the international community to concern, protect, and manage the ocean, forming the concept of community for a shared ocean to promote the sustainable development of human society and economy.

          The following is part of the interview transcript.

          Ge Yang: How do you understand that the world has entered the era of marine economy? What are the important and irreplaceable functions of the ocean?

          Pan Xinchun: The ocean is the cradle of life, the treasure house of resources, the lifeline of traffic, and the strategic location. Due to the intensification of land restriction of resources and environment, and the continuous progress of science and technology, mankind has entered an era of deep development of marine resources and utilization of marine space, namely the era of marine economy. With the continuous development and expansion of traditional industries such as marine fisheries, marine shipbuilding, marine salt and chemical industry, marine transport and marine tourism, and the emergence of modern marine industries such as marine oil and gas, marine engineering equipment manufacturing, marine medicine and biological products, marine renewable energy, seawater desalination and comprehensive utilization, marine culture, marine financial service and marine public service, the marine economy is showing a vigorous development trend.

          In addition, as the largest natural ecosystem, the ocean supplies about 70% oxygen to the earth and absorbs billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year, which plays an irreplaceable role in the carbon cycle of the earth. The unique ecological environment with high salt, high pressure, low temperature, oligotrophication, no (oligo) oxygen, and no light in the deep sea is pregnant with abundant deep-sea biological resources, which is a huge treasure house of deep-sea biological genes, with great significance for the study of the origin of life, species evolution and human life and health. Global climate change is closely related to the ocean, and sea-level rise, seawater acidification, and marine pollution are closely related to human life and production.

          Ge Yang: What are the opportunities and challenges for China to enter the era of marine economy?

          Pan Xinchun: Although the world is undergoing unprecedented changes that the international economic, scientific and technological, cultural, security, political and other factors are undergoing profound adjustments and that the world has entered a period of turbulent change, I believe that peace and development are still the themes of the times, and the development of China is still in a period of strategic opportunity. China has entered a new stage of the 14th Five-Year Plan and is accelerating the construction of a new development paradigm featuring dual circulation, in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, to promote high-quality development and build the Chinese market into a world market, a shared market and a market for all. China's marine economy will continue to develop as an integral part of the national economy.

          First of all, the marine economy of China has a sound foundation.

          First, the marine economy has got rapid development and the industrial structure has been adjusted and upgraded.

          Since 2012, China's marine economy has maintained rapid growth, with an average annual growth rate of 7.2%, which is higher than the average economic growth rate in the same period. In 2019, the total marine economy reached RMB 8.9 trillion, accounting for 9.1% of GDP. The marine industrial system is being perfect, and the structure is constantly optimized.

          The transformation of traditional industries taking marine fisheries, marine transport, marine engineering and construction, marine oil and gas, marine ships, and marine chemical industry, etc. as the pillars has been accelerated, the support and driving role of marine service industry led by coastal tourism have been continuously improved, and emerging marine industries led by marine biomedicine, seawater utilization, and marine renewable energy have been advanced. The marine fisheries structure has been further adjusted. The ratio of marine fishing and mariculture has been adjusted from 44:56 in 2012 to 36:64 in 2019. The support for artificial reef construction has been increased, and 64 national marine pasture demonstration areas have been built.

          The container throughput of ports exceeds one-quarter of the world, and the maritime transport volume exceeds one-third. Among the global top ten ports in terms of both cargo and container throughput, China accounts for 7 (including Hong Kong), and its fleet size (including the flag of convenience) ranks third in the world, accounting for 13% of the total cargo-carrying capacity of the world. The status of the shipbuilding power in the world has been further consolidated, and the general assembly construction of offshore engineering equipment has entered the forefront of the world. In the past five years, the average annual growth rate of coastal tourism and marine biomedicine has reached 12.1% and 16.2% respectively. The cumulative installed capacity of offshore wind power is 2,791 MW, and 8 national marine high-tech industrial bases have been built.

          Second, the layout of the marine economy has been optimized and international cooperation has been continuously expanding. From the perspective of economic foundation, location conditions and resource endowments, China has formed three distinctive marine economic zones from north to south. The northern marine economic zone is mainly composed of port logistics, marine ships, seawater desalination, mariculture, marine biomedicine, and other industries; The eastern marine economic zone is more developed in offshore equipment, offshore wind power, port logistics, and marine service industries; The southern marine economic zone has become a concentration area for marine tourism, offshore fisheries, marine cultural industry, aquatic product processing, and aquaculture, etc.

          In 2019, the gross marine production value of the three major marine economic zones in the north, east and south has reached RMB 2,636 billion, 2,657 billion, and 3,648.6 billion, respectively. The construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has opened a new chapter. The pace of "going out" of the marine economy has been accelerating; the restrictions on foreign investment access in the marine field have been further relaxed; and the comprehensive opening-up pattern in the marine-related fields has been initially formed.

          Third, the independent innovation capability of marine science and technology has been continuously enhanced, and the industrialization level has been significantly improved. Breakthroughs have been made in the construction of many key technologies and major projects related to the ocean, which have greatly improved the supporting capacity for the construction of a Marine Potestatem and expanded the space for China to develop and utilize the ocean.

          The manned submersibles such as the "Jiaolong", "Deep Sea Warrior", and "Fendouzhe (Striver)", as well as the operating systems of deep-sea remote-controlled unmanned submersibles have completed a successful sea trial. China has had the capability to independently design and construction of oil and gas development equipment in the shallow sea within 500 m. The global most advanced ultra-deepwater double-drilling-tower semi-submersible platform, Blue Whale 1, which is independently designed and built, has been successfully tested to mine combustible ice in the South China Sea, and the first trial drilling for deep ice core in the Antarctic has been successful. Major national science and technology infrastructure such as marine comprehensive research ship has passed the acceptance.

          Major marine-related infrastructure has been improving day by day, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest cross-sea traffic project in the world, has officially opened to traffic. The seawater desalination project of 100,000 tons/day in Dongjiakou Port of Qingdao has been completed and put into operation. The completely self-developed MW-class tidal current generator set has been grid-connected in stable power generation for more than 17 months. The energy conversion efficiency of the 100 kW-class wave energy device has reached the international advanced level. And the temperature difference energy prototype of power supply for instruments and equipment in real sea conditions has been successfully developed. The first "marine oligosaccharide" 971 drug against Alzheimer's disease based on multi-target synergistic mechanisms around the world has been successfully developed.

          Fourth, the top-level design of marine development has been gradually deepened, and the policy system has become increasingly perfect. The policy system of "national + local" and "comprehensive + special" marine-related planning has been initially established. At the national level, China has successively formulated and implemented the five-year plans for marine economic development and special plans for fisheries, ships, offshore engineering, ports as well as marine science and technology, issued support policies in the fields of finance and industry, and released China’s marine economic development reports and statistical bulletins every year. The pilot demonstrations have been promoted in an orderly manner, and the marine economic development pilots in Shandong, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian, and Tianjin are further promoted, accumulating some reform and innovation experience that can be replicated and promoted. The construction of demonstration zones for marine economic development is beginning, and the construction of demonstration cities for marine economic innovation and development has got support, with initial results achieved in deep-level and characteristic innovation of marine-related systems and mechanisms.

          The management and use control of marine space have been gradually strengthened. The Notice of the State Council on Strengthening Coastal Wetland Protection and Strictly Controlling Reclamation has been promulgated and implemented. The national and provincial marine main functional zoning has been formulated. Nearly 30% of the coastal ocean and 37% of the mainland coastline have been included in the red line control scope of ecological protection, and more than 270 marine protected areas at all levels have been established, covering an area of over 12 million hectares. The protection and restoration of the marine ecological environment have been intensified, the pollution prevention and control plan for the coastal ocean and the ecological protection plan for key sea areas in the South China Sea have been issued and implemented. Major ecological restoration projects such as "Blue Bay", "Planting Mangroves in the South and Tamarix in the North" and "Ecological Island Reef" have been accelerated. Since the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, the central government has invested a total of RMB 5.217 billion in awards and subsidies of these projects.

          Meanwhile, China has a super-large domestic market formed by a population of 1.4 billion including more than 400 million middle-income groups and is accelerating the development of marine industrial structure adjustment, transformation and upgrading, digitalization, informationization, intelligence, and scientific and technological innovation, with huge investment demand potential. From the above, we can see that there are not only the basic conditions for the rapid development of China's marine economy but also the demand power and stable environment. We firmly believe that China's marine economy can develop rapidly and soundly.

          At the same time, China's marine economy is also facing challenges.

          First, the overall development and utilization of the ocean is not high. The marine economy is mainly based on traditional industries, with a lower proportion of emerging industries and limited ability to recognize and develop deep-sea resources.

          Second, the constraints of marine resources and environment are being intensified. Coastal wetlands are reduced, the problems of marine garbage and pollution are gradually emerging, and the ability of disaster prevention and mitigation needs to be improved.

          Third, the innovation ability of marine science and technology needs to be improved urgently. The basic marine research is weak; the self-sufficiency rate of core technologies and key common technologies of marine science and technology is low; and the innovation environment needs to be further optimized.

          Fourth, the overall level of integrated development of land and sea is low. The coordination between land and sea in spatial function layout, infrastructure construction, and resource allocation is insufficient, as well as the environmental improvement and disaster prevention in regions, basins, and maritime space.

          In response to the above problems, China is taking effective measures to further promote the development of the marine economy and the construction of a Marine Potestatem.

          First, improve the top-level design and introduce policies and measures to speed up the construction of a Marine Potestatem. Strengthen the institutional supply for the construction of a Marine Potestatem; establish an index system for the high-quality development of the marine economy; put forward policies and measures to optimize the marine industrial structure, and improve the quality and efficiency of the marine economy. Strengthen overall coordination, combining the mid-term evaluation of the 13th Five-Year Plan with the preparation of the 14th Five-Year Plan for marine economic development to deepen research and demonstration and explore effective ways to coordinate the resources allocation, industrial layout, and ecological environment protection between land and sea. Accelerate the research, formulation, and revision of laws related to the ocean and improve supporting systems and departmental regulations.

          Second, integrate into major strategies and constantly expand and optimize the spatial layout of the marine economy. The northern marine economic zone should serve the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, optimize the allocation of port resources, improve the ability of scientific and technological innovation, and promote the cooperation and development of the Bohai Economic Rim.

          The eastern marine economic zone should actively incorporate into the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, build a bulk commodity reserve processing and trading base and an international maritime shipping service base, improve the level of river-sea combined transport, and promote the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

          The southern marine economic zone should seize the opportunity of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area construction, close the cooperation between the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong and Macao in the marine field to jointly build a port group; Implement Hainan's measures to comprehensively deepen reform and opening up by supporting Hainan to explore and steadily promote the construction of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics and building a national deep-sea base south center.

          Promote maritime cooperation in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and closely connect with countries and regions alongside. Strengthen the capacity building of service support for marine development and improve the level of maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, maritime transport support, disaster prevention and mitigation, etc.

          Third, accelerate the conversion of kinetic energy and promote the high-quality development of the marine economy. Make efforts to build a modern marine industry system. Expand strategic emerging industries such as marine biomedicine, seawater desalination and comprehensive utilization, offshore renewable energy, marine high-end equipment, and marine information services and drive the green transformation and upgrading of marine traditional industries to form a batch of advantageous products with international competitiveness, and promote the marine industry to the high-end of the global value chain.

          Accelerate the construction of world-class modern marine ports. Pay attention to the optimization of the layout of national coastal ports, improvement of the port infrastructure, steady construction of the large-scale specialized docks and deep-water tracks, the expansion and opening up of the maritime transport sector, and the quality and efficiency of cruise services.

          Actively promote the construction of modern marine pastures and explore a new development model of modern marine fisheries focusing on inshore marine pastures and deep-sea marine aquaculture. Expand and upgrade marine tourism and support the development of cultural industries with marine characteristics. Improve the marine economic statistics and accounting system; enhance the monitoring and evaluation capabilities of the marine economy; establish a marine economic survey system; and formulate and revise national standards and industry standards related to the ocean.

          Fourth, strengthen the use control and build a new pattern of protection and utilization integrating land and sea. Combine with the preparation of territorial spatial planning to carry out resources investigation and monitoring in coastal zone and develop and implement comprehensive coastal zone protection and utilization planning. Taking protection priority and intensive utilization as the guide, deal with the relationship between development and protection, further define the spatial function division and control principles of the coastal zone, optimize the development, protection, and utilization pattern of coastal zone, and strengthen the policies and measures of coastal zone spatial control.

          Strictly protect marine resources, strengthen marine ecological environment protection and supervision, abide by the ecological red line, strengthen remediation and restoration, and resolutely fight for comprehensive management of the Bohai Sea. Actively respond to the problem of marine garbage and plastics and improve the emergency response capacity of major sea pollution incidents. Reclamation control measures should be implemented in the strictest way. There will be no more new consent of reclamation except for major national strategic projects, and the reclamation problems left over by history should got quickly solved.

          Strengthen the protection and restoration of coastline, optimize the development layout of the coastal ocean, control the development intensity in a scientific manner, and gradually build a joint mechanism with land-sea coordination and regional linkage for marine ecological environment protection and restoration and pollution prevention and control, forming a green and sustainable marine ecological environment and striving to achieve harmony between people and the ocean.

          Fifth, implement scientific and technological research and make breakthrough in key and core technologies related to the ocean. Implement major scientific and technological projects, optimize the layout of scientific and technological innovation platforms, build an open and shared innovation network, focus on the development of deep-water, green and safe marine high-tech, concentrate on breaking through key links, accelerate the construction of a marine scientific and technological innovation system with policies as the guide, enterprises as the main body, applications as the orientation and combination of industry, education and research, and enhance the supply of scientific and technological innovation and technical equipment support. Complete the demonstration of major projects as soon as possible, such as "Jiaolong to Explore the Sea", "Xuelong to Explore the South Pole" and "Global Ocean Stereoscopic Observation Network". Deepen research for marine background science.

          Sixth, carry out pilot demonstrations and innovate the marine management system and mechanism. Focus on the key areas and links to promote the development of the marine economy, deepen reform and innovation, and establish and improve the marine management system and mechanism. Promote the market-oriented allocation of marine economic factors, improve and strengthen financial services related to marine economic development, strengthen the innovation of marine-related green financial products, promote the sharing of marine information resources, encourage private enterprises to participate in the development of marine resources, create a level playing field, and effectively stimulate the vitality of various market entities.

          Deepen the construction of demonstration zones for marine economic development and demonstration cities for marine economic innovation and development, and encourage them to combine their respective basic conditions and comparative advantages to carry out pioneering exploration of institutional innovation around key directions, providing leading demonstration examples for other regions.

          Ge Yang: What is the main work of China Oceanic Development Foundation? From what perspectives has the Foundation promoted China's marine development?

          Pan Xinchun: Since its establishment in 2015, the Foundation has mainly carried out the following work.

          First, to finance the economic development of countries along the Maritime Silk Road and small island states, the Foundation has set up the Maritime Silk Road Project of "Promoting Marine Spatial Planning and Contributing to Blue Economy Development", which mainly includes funding and guiding countries along the Maritime Silk Road and small island states to prepare marine spatial planning, introducing Chinese foreign enterprises to invest and develop marine economy, and helping train marine management talents, formulate marine governance systems and build marine management information systems.

          So far, the Foundation has signed cooperation agreements with 18 countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Mozambique, and one regional organization of the Pacific Islands Forum, and the work is being carried out in an orderly manner.

          Second, to promote the development of international marine high-tech enterprises in China, a Bridge and Link Project that "gathers marine high-tech resources to contribute to the high-quality economic development" has been set up, which mainly includes contacting members of the Blue Economy International Alliance, world-renowned chambers of commerce, mainstream investment institutions, etc. to cooperate with more than 30 large and medium-sized coastal cities in China and participate in the high-quality development of China's marine economy. The project also releases Investment Information on High-quality Development of Marine Economy in China's Coastal Cities and Report on High-quality Development of Marine Economy in China's Coastal Cities to the world in a targeted way, and holds high-end forums on marine economy between China and foreign countries. The work is being actively carried out.

          Third, the Foundation has set up a Consultation and Suggestion Project of "focusing on major marine issues to assist the construction of marine governance system", which mainly includes establishing and improving the research on China's marine governance system, marine spatial planning, and coastal zone protection and utilization planning system, on the marine economic cycle with domestic and international mutual promotion, on domestic demand expansion and high-quality development of marine economy, as well as marine ecological security, marine culture along the Maritime Silk Road, the Northeast Asia marine economic circle, the practice of the United Nations Law of the Sea on the marine powers, legal system on the high seas, maritime rights and cooperation, UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, etc.

          Fourth, the Foundation has set up the Marine Talents-Training Project that "donates marine libraries and trains young talents", and now the marine libraries have been donated in 38 middle schools in remote mountainous areas of China. Using the platform of Ocean Library, a series of activities such as marine knowledge contests (including quiz, painting, handwork, writing, speech, performance, etc.), speech competitions on marine teaching for teachers, lectures by marine experts, marine knowledge training for teachers, marine teaching seminars for secondary school principals, etc. have been carried out, and a one-time award of RMB 5,000 has been given to students who are admitted to marine colleges and universities.

          Fifth, the Foundation has set up the Ecological Construction Project of "guarding the beautiful shoreline, we act together". The beach cleanup activity has been held for four consecutive years in more than 40 cities along the coast of China in mid-September every year, with hundreds of thousands of people participating in the Activity including live performances , keynote speeches, exhibitions in objects and pictures, on-site lectures by experts, collecting beach garbage and communicating with tourists by volunteers, etc. Ecological restoration of Dayu Island and Ningde Sea Area in Fujian Province has also been carried out.

          As can be seen from the above, the work of the Foundation is directly or indirectly contributing to the high-quality development of the marine economy.

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