On October 30, 2021, “Sino-Europe Dialogue on SLOCs Security” International Workshop (hereinafter referred to as Workshop) jointly sponsored by China Oceanic Development Foundation (hereafter referred to as Oceanic Foundation), Dalian Maritime University and Italy University of Genoa opened online. Pan Xinchun, vice president and secretary general of Oceanic Foundation, Zhao Youtao, vice-principal of Dalian Maritime University, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni, vice-principal of Italy University of Genoa have attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Experts and scholars from China, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Germany, UK and Canada gathered here to engage in full exchanges and discussion in terms of SLOCs communication and navigation safety, maritime security and Sino-Europe maritime cooperation, Sino-Europe maritime security governance and cooperation, route navigation safety and security and Sino-Europe maritime logistics economy, trade and security.
Group photo of attendees online
Pan Xinchun has extended a warm welcome to domestic and foreign leaders, experts, guests and delegates who attended the Workshop on behalf of the Oceanic Foundation. He emphasized that the world today was experiencing significant changes unseen in a century, which were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic: Protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise, global economy is sluggish, supply chain of global industry chain are confronted with attack due to non-economic factors, global pattern like economy, science & technology, culture, security and politics is going through profound changes, the world is entering an era of unrest and reformation, and global SLOCs security will face more unstable and uncertain factors. Against such background, experts and scholars from China and Europe exchanged experience, analyzed status quo, predicted future trend and put forward suggestions around global SLOCs security and related issues, which is of vital practical significance and far-reaching significance to maintain the global SLOCs security.
He also emphasized that both China and EU have also established a strong traffic network. China has built the world’s largest high-speed railway network, expressway network, and world-class port cluster, with aviation and navigation connecting the world and integrated transportation network exceeding 6 million km. SLOCs provide the main channel for China’s foreign trade and energy import. Maritime transport accounts for as much as 90% of our trade, and six of the top ten container ports in the world are in China. China has become the world’s economy with the strongest maritime connectivity and the largest trade volume of goods. During the period of pandemic, Sino-Europe rail routes and ocean-going freighters ran day and night to fully support the stability of supply chain of global industry chain, which embodied China’s commitments. EU’s dense traffic network and sound marine navigation system have made important contributions to the trade flows in Europe and the world. China and Europe account for a large proportion of the world’s maritime trade and transportation in goods, and have become an important engine for the development of marine transport industry of the world’s marine economy.
He said that the security of SLOCs concerned the economic and social development of all countries, the smooth flows of goods under economic globalization and the development of global ocean economy. As the two major strategic forces in the world today, China and Europe paid high attention to maintaining the security of global SLOCs and made positive contributions to maintaining smooth and safe global SLOCs, and promoting bilateral economic cooperation and development and unimpeded trade in goods under economic globalization. As an active builder of the security of international and local SLOCs, China is committed to playing the role of a large responsible country in maintaining the SLOCs security and providing more public safety products. Since 2008, China has altogether dispatched 38 batches of naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escort missions. Over 7,000 ships have enjoyed their protection, and half of them are foreign ones. China provided donations to the Aids to Navigation Fund of the Strait of Malacca every year, providing technical and financial support to littoral states to help them set up tide, current and wind observation stations. And has built a mechanism for cooperation and linkage with countries focusing on anti-piracy, terrorism at sea, and maritime and aeronautical search and rescue.
He indicated that China and EU have established the Sino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. In the field of coasts and oceans, the Chinese government and European Commission signed off a Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a High-level Dialogue on an Integrated Approach to Ocean Affairs in 2010. In 2018, the Chinese government and European Commission signed off the “Blue Partnership for the Oceans: Towards Better Ocean Governance between China and the EU.” China has always hoped to strengthen in-depth cooperation between China and EU in terms of maintaining global SLOCs security, implementing comprehensive marine management and developing ocean cooperation through dialogue and exchanges. The communication, agreement and cooperation between China and the EU on major global ocean issues have played a very important role in maintaining the global SLOCs security, the stability of global marine order, economic globalization and promoting the sustained and healthy development of the world economy. He said that the Oceanic Foundation supported experts and scholars in China and Europe to carry out the research on innovation of global SLOCs security system and related issues by holding onto the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and for the oceans, and the direction of economic globalization.
He emphasized that the Oceanic Foundation, since its establishment in 2015 upon approval by the State Council, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, according to the national 14th Five-Year Plan, has established the eight major projects to promote the implementation of national strategies such as boosting the construction of maritime power, pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, building Blue Partnership, integrating into global ocean governance, developing marine ecological civilization, marine culture as well as high-quality marine development. The eight projects are in full swing. Maritime Silk Road project “Promoting Marine Space Planning to Boost Blue Economic Development”, for example, has signed off cooperative agreement with 18 Maritime Silk Road countries and international organizations like the Pacific Islands Forum. The work is progressing in an orderly manner. He said that marine experts and scholars from China and Europe were welcomed to participate in the activities of the Oceanic Foundation, and the Foundation was willing to become a partner of marine experts and scholars from China and Europe on research of major issues of SLOCs security.