Two proposals on enacting the Basic Law of the Ocean as soon as possible submitted by the delegation of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) attracted wide attention during the First Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC). As leaders of the proposers, Li Aiping, PLA deputy to the NPC and political commissar of the Nanjing Army Command College of the PLA, and Liang Xu, PLA deputy to the NPC and commander of a base of the PLA Navy, expressed that to legislate for the ocean brooks no delay.
To legislate for "blue territory" brooks no delay
China is a big power that has a long coastline stretching for 18,000 kilometers, a maritime territory of around 3 million square kilometers and more than 6,000 islands each with an area of over 500 square meters. Li Aiping said frankly that sufficient legal basis is needed to safeguard maritime rights and interests, whether through diplomatic coordination, litigation and arbitration, or even military operations, and therefore, it is imperative to enact the Basic Law of the Ocean that can guide the overall situation, reflect China's maritime strategy and establish China's basic maritime systems and principles.
To build a maritime power needs legal support
The Basic Law of the Ocean that can guide the overall situation, reflect China's maritime strategy and establish China's basic maritime systems and principles is an indispensable legal support during China’s transformation from a "big maritime power" into a "strong maritime power".
Li Aiping held that from the perspective of China's strategic goal of sustainable development and utilization of the ocean, the Basic Law of the Ocean should be enacted to push forward the formulation and promulgation of national maritime strategy, raise the national maritime strategy up to national will and provide its implementation with powerful legal support. Liang Xu expressed that to enact the Basic Law of the Ocean can also help to effectively make overall arrangements for the development and utilization of marine resources, curb the deterioration of marine ecological environment and ensure the coordinated and sustainable development of marine economy.
To enact Basic Law of the Ocean conforming to China's actual conditions
Liang Xu held that the enactment of the Basic Law of the Ocean should follow five goals: first, to give a basic and comprehensive definition of China's maritime rights and interests; second, to carry out capstone design and standardization of the national marine management system; third, to clarify the main body of the national marine management and its functions and powers, the qualifications of ocean users and the conditions for utilization of the ocean, so as to realize the separation of management and utilization of the ocean; fourth, to clarify comprehensive management and control of offshore platform facilities and integrate maritime law enforcement forces; and fifth, to clarify the "legal representative" of the national maritime rights and interests in international affairs through legislation.
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