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Finding common ground to protect oceans

By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2015-06-25 14:33:41


China and the United States on Wednesday agreed to make new efforts to explore opportunities of deepening cooperation on ocean protection.

At a special session on ocean protection under the framework of the seventh China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi expressed the hope that China and the US will build on the progress achieved to turn ocean protection into a new area of growing bilateral cooperation.

The meeting titled "Protect the Oceans" was co-chaired by Yang and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department.Officials from China's State Oceanic Administration, as well as from the US Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the State Department attended the meeting.

Yang praised the positive contributions by China and the US to promoting maritime research, development, maintenance and protection. He cited the increased maritime policy exchange and practical cooperation, and fruitful cooperation in the areas of oceanic scientific research, maritime enforcement, maritime security, maritime search and rescue, and sustainable use of maritime resources.

"China has a long history of maritime culture," Yang said. "The importance of the ocean has been prominent for China, especially since the reform and opening up. The Chinese government attaches great importance to international cooperation in protecting the ocean."

He called on the two countries to create more channels of communication and increase frequency of dialogues to jointly explore ways of conducting practical cooperation in the spheres of maritime ecological civilization construction, oceanic environmental monitoring and protection of fishery resources through sharing experiences and complimenting each other with own advantages.

Kerry said: "Ocean policy is a reflection of a very important set of priorities that we are trying to set together as we reach for new levels of cooperation."

Participants agreed on several aspects of ocean protection, particularly about illegal fishing.

The two nations also agreed to launch a "sister city" initiative that will enable them to jointly improve waste collection, management and recycling in oceans.

"We've also discussed here today the importance of establishing a marine protected area in the Antarctic Sea, one of the world's last remaining pristine marine environments," Kerry said. He said this will be further discussed during the Our Ocean Conference in Chile later this year.

"Once again we're breaking new ground," Kerry said.

Liu Jingyang and Xinhua contributed to this story.