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China, US work together to police sea

By Peng Yining in Hangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2016-02-18 08:30

China and the United States have established a growing mechanism for maritime cooperation that is essential to building a model relationship between the two countries, Chen Aiping, head of the China Maritime Safety Administration, said in a speech on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a meeting between CMSA and the US Coast Guard in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, where exchanges and cooperation on precursor chemical management and inspection was one of the most important topics discussed.

In a regulatory sense, precursor chemicals are those used in the manufacture of controlled substances or illicit drugs.

China worked closely with the US last year to target the illegal shipment of precursors by container vessel, the CMSA said, which included heightened supervision of marine dangerous goods and the sending of officers for an investigation training program.

Over the past several months, the Shanghai Marine Safety Administration assisted the USCG in controlling illegal shipments of precursor chemicals by checking nearly 19,000 consignment inventories and conducting searches on nine containers carrying chemicals.

Since the China-US maritime safety dialogue mechanism was established in 2011, the CMSA and USCG have built a solid foundation of cooperation, working together in many fields including ship navigation safety, marine environment protection and maritime search and rescue, said Chen of CMSA.

"China and the United States are both countries with vast marine territories, many ports and harbors, and huge trading volumes," he said.

"Maritime trade not only carries with it economic and cultural exchange between China and the US, but also serves as an important platform for cooperation and a bond of friendship."

Other topics covered at the meeting on Wednesday included satellite navigation technology, which both sides have worked on over the past year to enhance system performance control and evaluation, as well as a presentation by the USCG on human resource management in maritime administration given at the request of the Chinese delegation.

A two-day workshop will follow the meeting, featuring officers from both countries using scenario-based planning processes to develop their maritime management capabilities.

Meredith Austin, rear admiral at the USCG and leader of the US delegation, said she welcomed the partnership.

"These exchanges will help people think differently and expand our knowledge to deal with different situations," she said.

Xie Hui, head of CMSA's international cooperation department, said a high-level exchange with the USCG occurred almost every year, while other exchanges such as "meetings, training and visits, are even more frequent and regular".

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