In the vast collective realm of mari-time utilization, exploration and ecol-ogy, the 21st Century is considered bysome to be the "Century of the Ocean."The oceans sustain us, and, if properly man-aged and cared for, will enable sustainabledevelopment. Thus, oceanic conditions areof paramount concern to governments andpeoples around the world.
Besides a vast land territory, China alsoboasts an expansive maritime area. Thenation's coastline stretches for 18.000 kilo-meters, and within her waters are more than7.300 islands which exceed 500 square me-ters in dry-ground expanse, China governsabout 3 million square kilometers of mari-time area, of which 380.000 square kilome-ters are territorial sea and inland waters.
The ocean waters are territory, importantresoarces and strategic passages. The intel-ligent exploration oF oceans leads to socialprogress and employment. Growth in themaritime economy can result in revolution-ary changes to coastal areas, offering oppor-tunities for greater societal development.
In recent years, many coastal provincesand cities have set their sights on maritimeexploration. For insta......