Aerial photo taken on Jan. 16, 2019 shows the Port of Piraeus, Greece. (Xinhua/Wu Lu)
BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- As the vast majority of humanity inhabit the inland regions away from the coastlines, many have become oblivious to the fact that the oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth and humankind.
Upon this year's World Oceans Day on Saturday, it befits the occasion to re-emphasize that concerted efforts are needed to safeguard maritime peace and, as China has proposed, build a maritime community with a shared future.
BUILDING MARITIME COMMUNITY WITH SHARED FUTURE
The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. While peace and cooperation still prevail over confrontation and hostility, instability and uncertainty have become more pronounced.
With the world now standing at a crossroads, China has been advocating such inspirational ideas as "harmony without uniformity," and calling for concerted effort to build a community with a shared future for humanity.
In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a maritime community with a shared future to address common threats and challenges at sea.
"The blue planet humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future, where people of all countries share weal and woe," Xi said during a group meeting with foreign naval dignitaries.
Xi noted that China has fully participated in the formulation and implementation of maritime governance mechanisms and related rules within the UN framework, and is committed to sustainable marine development.
The proposal is further proof of the Chinese people's love of peace and commitment to seeking shared benefits with the rest of the world, foreign experts and observers told Xinhua.
The proposal to build a maritime community with a shared future is an important part of the effort to achieve a community with a shared future for humanity, said Professor Choo Jaewoo from South Korea's Kyung Hee University.
"The concept of 'maritime community with a shared future' contains strategic thinking that all mankind should work together with a high sense of responsibility to protect the oceans that make up 70 percent of the planet," said Choo.
"The strategic implication of this concept is that it is necessary for mankind to strengthen cooperation to protect the oceans, the common resource repository of the earth," he added.
SAFEGUARDING ECOLOGICAL, ECONOMIC LIFEBLOOD
The oceans produce over half of the oxygen and, along with the atmosphere, keep Earth's surface temperature fairly constant worldwide.
Boasting rich maritime resources and serving as crucial trading routes, the oceans also play an important role in boosting the world economy.
Therefore, one of the common missions of humanity is to protect and guard marine resources, and the best means is cooperation and mutual assistance, said Choo.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Professor Aleksey Maslov from Russia's National Research University Higher School of Economics said that building a maritime community with a shared future is conducive to launching more joint maritime patrol missions to strengthen cooperation in combating regional terrorism and transnational crimes.
"It provides a platform for cooperation among countries to work together to ensure maritime safety," said Maslov.
Meanwhile, in the era of globalization, ocean-based cooperation in market, technology, information, culture and other domains is steadily deepening.
The reason for China to propose jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Xi said, is to facilitate maritime connectivity, pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and the development of the "blue economy," as well as to promote the integration of maritime cultures and improve maritime well-being.
On preserving the maritime ecological system, China pays great attention to the building of marine ecological civilization, persistently intensifies the prevention and treatment of marine pollution, protects marine biodiversity, and orderly exploits the marine resources, in order to leave blue skies and clean oceans for future generations, said Xi.
Marine pollution remains a thorny issue because maritime governance involves issues beyond the border, said Choo.
"The proposal to build a maritime community with a shared future enables all mankind to cooperate with a common sense of mission in overcoming the challenges," said Choo.
JOINING HANDS FOR MARITIME PEACE
Xi's call for building a maritime community with a shared future is welcomed by countries in the region, notably those surrounding the South China Sea, said Oh Ei Sun, principal adviser of Malaysia's Pacific Research Center.
The effort could incorporate maintaining peace and security in the South China Sea and promoting prosperity in the region, Oh told Xinhua.
"We should work together to overcome certain challenges associated with the sea, namely piracy, smuggling of narcotics and people, and also increasingly a combination of piracies and kidnappings," said Oh.
On cooperation around the South China Sea, Oh said countries could work together to build the region into a community of "shared prosperity."
Asian countries' traditional emphasis on community and harmony can help resolve some of the world's most pressing international issues, such as territorial disputes, climate change and sustainable economic development, said Joefe Santarita, dean of the Asian Center in the University of the Philippines.
Xi has pointed out that China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature and champions the new concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.
"The peace-loving Chinese people long for peace and will unswervingly stay on the path of peaceful development," Xi said.
The statement showed China's commitment to promoting maritime peace, said Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.
"We are hearing words from China on how to promote maritime peace in the world. China has a clear agenda for the peace of the world and a secure world," said Banlaoi.
(Xinhua writers Lu Rui in Seoul, Lin Hao in Kuala Lumpur, Yang Ke and Yuan Mengchen in Manila, and Zhang Xiao in Moscow contributed to the story.)