China / Government

Coordination is key to new maritime strategy

By  Zhang Yunbi ( Updated: 2016-07-22 21:42

To better protect its maritime interests, China will formulate a "national maritime strategy" and increase its ability to take action, according to a recently issued document.

Observers said a national maritime blueprint is greatly needed at a time in which China's maritime interests face increasing challenges, particularly those posed by the lingering tension in the South China Sea.

The Communist Party of China's Central Committee, the State Council and China's Central Military Commission — that is, the top organs of the Party, the Cabinet and the military — have issued a guideline focused on energizing the buildup of the economy and national defense by increasing the integration between them, Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

The document proposes coordinating China's maritime development with its efforts to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.

As China advances its strategy of becoming a maritime power, its goal is to further secure its borders "by joint efforts of the Party, government, military, police and the public", the document said.

PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army, commented on Friday that the guideline tackles problems that "overshadow the big picture of national security and development" and those cannot be resolved by a single department or sector.

Wang Hanling, a senior international law researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that for quite some time China looked more toward developing the land than the sea and had no long-term, stable maritime strategy.

A number of Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea are still illegally occupied by other countries, and China's disputes with its neighbors have been taken advantage of by some countries outside the region as a means of containing China, Wang said.

Translating the hard and soft powers of the various departments into overall national maritime strengths needs top-level planning of maritime strategy.

"That planning can offer guidance for tackling maritime disputes as well as handling other specific maritime issues," Wang said.

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