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Diving deep to gather knowledge

By Gong Jianhua and Li Gang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-21 08:07

On Thursday, Wang Yaping delivered a lecture to students from Shenzhou X, becoming China's first teacher in space. Her feat was hailed as a breakthrough for China's manned mission in space. The Jiaolong manned deep-sea submersible is an equally, if not more, important stride for China's deep-sea technology mission.

On Tuesday, Jiaolong carried its first scientist on its second deep-sea dive. It had completed its maiden dive of its first application-oriented trial mission on Monday. The successful deep-sea dive of Jiaolong means China has completed the first tier of manned deep-sea diving, and its research and resource exploration abilities have greatly advanced.

Some people believe that the success of the Jiaolong manned deep-sea submersible's mission, which will provide technological support to China's ocean resource development, is more important than the Shenzhou X mission.

Of course, there are a few people who believe China's deep-sea diving technology lags far behind that of Europe and the United States, and some who are worried that China is developing deep-sea diving technology to seize the oceans' resources and even strengthen its deep-sea military power. Such people either ignore China's fundamental reality, culture and national strategy, or are prejudiced against Beijing's peaceful development.

As a great power with relatively low per capita resources, China has no option but to develop its deep-sea technology to meet the strategic demand of its rapid development. China's top priority is to develop its economy, which puts a huge demand on resources and energy. Therefore, the Jiaolong's deep-sea diving mission cannot be aimed at developing deep-sea military technology. Its goal is to simply explore and exploit deep-sea resources.

Apart from striving to develop its economy and improve its people's livelihood and living standards, China is the "world factory" and has become the engine of global economic recovery. All these demand huge amounts of resources, for which it has to explore and exploit the oceans.

People who are familiar with this reality and the difficulties facing China will not have any problem understanding why it has expedited its deep-sea resource exploration program. Although Beijing can exploit the potential of the East China Sea and the South China Sea, which have abundant resources, it exercises restraint to show its commitment to peaceful development.

President Xi Jinping said at his recent meeting with US President Barack Obama that China will not trigger conflicts or fight with neighboring countries.

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