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Peking University holds First Ocean Forum

JUN . 06 2018
Peking University, May 30, 2018: The first PKU Ocean Forum was held at Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center by Peking University Institute of Ocean Research on May 25, 2018. Famous alumni, experts and scholars from China and abroad attended the forum and engaged discussions centered around the theme of “China and the World.”

The forum

The forum consisted of two parts: keynote speeches by special guests and sub-forums. The two sub-forums took places simultaneously and addressed the themes: “Smart Ocean: Equipment and Innovation” and “Transcending Offshore Geo-competition: Theory and Practice.” More than 200 participants from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, India, Malaysia, Norway and other countries attended the event.

At the beginning of the forum, Professor Wang Lei, vice president of the PKU Institute of Ocean Research, extended a warm welcome to the guests present. He explained that the PKU Ocean Forum was not only part of the celebration of PKU’s 120th anniversary but also an opportunity to launch a series of special   events on oceans. Zhang Dongxiao, president of the PKU Institute of Ocean Research, presented opening remarks. He pointed out that the Institute of Ocean Research is an important scientific research platform for oceanography at PKU, and that the institute will embrace the mission of developing PKU's marine sciences and in addition to acting as a think tank. He highlighted the responsibilities of the institute and encouraged the students to contribute to its mission.

PKU alumni Wu Lixin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave a speech titled “Perfect Ocean Monitoring System and Human Community with a Shared Future.” He pointed out that the “One Belt, One Road” initiative requires the concerted efforts of global scientific research institutions, and the construction of Smart Oceans, maritime territories governed with intellectual technologies, relies on the collection and application of data. According to Wu, the development of marine sciences and technology in the 21st century requires the collaborative research of various disciplines.

The sub-forum

The sub-forum on the theme of “Smart Ocean : Equipment and Innovation” was jointly hosted by Zhang Min, a research fellow at the PKU Institute of Ocean Research and Zhang Xinrong, a professor from PKU’s School of Engineering. Zheng Mei, vice president of the PKU Institute of Ocean Research, gave a general introduction focusing on the status of research at PKU in marine sciences and engineering. Seeram Ramakrishna, a foreign academician of the British Royal Academy of Engineering, introduced the application of light-duty cables made from carbon nanomaterials in the offshore field. Some other leading scholars and experts also presented reports on their recent research and engaged in deep discussions.

The theme of the other sub-forum focused on “Transcending Offshore Geo-competition: Theory and Practice.” This forum was co-hosted by Hu Bo, a research fellow at the PKU Institute of Ocean Research, and Zha Daojiong, a professor from the PKU Institute of Ocean Research. Nearly 20 experts and scholars engaged in lively discussions on a wide range of topics including global trends in maritime geopolitical competition.

The experts unanimously agreed that global maritime geopolitical competition will intensify, and China will play a crucial role in the future of this competition. Setbacks in economic globalization, drastic changes in the balance of power, and the resurgence of maritime disputes have made it difficult to avoid geopolitical competition among great powers and the increasing role maritime confrontation in global geopolitical competition.

Doctor Fu Mengzi, deputy dean of the China Institutes   of Contemporary International Relations, stated that in the field of global ocean governance, China has actively promoted the construction of a global maritime community with a shared future. While China's open economy needs a stable marine environment, China, however, still has many deficiencies in its approach to ocean governance. Doctor Fu emphasized that it is necessary to support global ocean governance by developing the marine economy, promoting scientific and technological innovation, and enhancing marine equipment manufacturing. Through peaceful development and win-win cooperation, the goal of building a marine power can be achieved.

Dr. Stanley Byron Weeks from the United States stated that with the strengthening of international maritime competition, countries need more communication and cooperation to ease tensions. Atsushi Sunami, director of the Japan Institute of Marine Policy, introduced the third phase of Japan’s Ocean Basic Plan explaining that Japan not only emphasizes international cooperation but also attaches great importance to scientific observations and monitoring, as well as marine environmental protection. While advocating for international maritime cooperation, Dr. James Bosbotinis from the UK mentioned maritime safety and offered his belief that the rise of new naval forces will lead to the restructuring of the global strategic landscape. Other guests and scholars also shared their opinions on hot issues, such as maritime navigation safety and the application of international law in South China Sea disputes. 

Zha Daojiong concluded reminding those in attendance that when discussing the issue of marine safety in the Asia-Pacific region, scholars in China and abroad shouldn't criticize each other blindly but instead must find new ways to communicate and to govern maritime territories.

Written by: Qian Kang 
Edited by: Zhou Yijing, Erin Dunne
Source: PKU News (Chinese)