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Call for establishment of Ministry of Oceans

BEIJING - A Chinese political advisor has called for the early establishment of a Ministry of Oceans in China to strengthen maritime law enforcement and exploration activities on the high seas.

Chen Mingyi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the appeal to the central government in his proposal to the country's top political advisory body.

"The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) is not tough enough when carrying out law enforcement activities now," said Chen, who is the former Communist Party chief of the coastal province of Fujian in southeast China. "We should sharpen our strategy on oceans as we did in developing the aerospace industry."

Currently, the SOA is affiliated with the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Chen said, as all great countries in modern history are also powers on the oceans, China needs to build itself into a strong maritime state to safeguard its interests in and accelerate development of a maritime territory as large as 3 million square km.

He said China should also quicken its exploration of the high seas with a total area of 250 million square km, expanding its rights and interests on the oceans.

The political adviser suggested central authorities establish a state oceanic commission involving representatives from departments of the economy, military, diplomacy, science and technology, and law enforcement.

Chen welcomed the SOA's release of standard names and descriptions of the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated isles, saying the naming is a fundamental and very important way to protect the country's maritime rights and interests.

On Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted Japan's latest naming of 39 uninhabited islands, including some isles affiliated to the Diaoyu Islands.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said the Diaoyu Islands and other related isles have been part of inherent Chinese territory since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty over them.

"No matter what names Japan has given to the isles affiliated to the Diaoyu Islands, it will not change the fact that these land masses belong to China," Hong said.

Web link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012npc/2012-03/05/content_14761334.htm

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