Message from the Director
Troubling incidents have been brewing in the vast and enchanting waters of the beautiful South China Sea. Disputes in the South China Sea have grown to prominence in recent years, owing to a confluence of various international forces as well as concerns over non-traditional threats to safety and the protection of marine environment. In order to protect China’s national rights and interests in the South China Sea, there is an urgent need to carefully examine South China Sea issues from a range of perspectives. The South China Sea Institute, Xiamen University was established to meet this pressing need.
The South China Sea Institute, Xiamen University is the first academic institution concentrating on South China Sea issues and was preceded by the Center for Oceans Law, which was founded in January, 2001 and possesses a 14-year history. The establishment of the Center for Oceans Law developed from and accorded with the growing national importance placed on ocean and maritime issues in the 21st century. During its first decade of operation, the center published a great volume of academic research papers on maritime affairs and cultivated more than 60 doctors and masters in maritime law. With increasing attention given by the international community to issues facing the South China Sea, Xiamen University decided to establish the South China Sea Institute.
Xiamen University is the first among the domestic universities and colleges to study South China Sea issues and Oceans Law, and in that field it has already made meaningful progress. In the early 1970s, scholars at Xiamen University started to collect and collate materials related to the history of the islands located in the South China Sea, which provided a solid base for future research in the field. In 2002, Xiamen University established the first Center for Oceans Law and Policy in China and created China Oceans Law Review, an academic journal dedicated to oceans law and policy research, and published a series of books concerning oceans law. The South China Sea Institute builds on these past accomplishments and enhances Xiamen University’s strengths in the fields of International Law, Oceanography and History in order to conduct comprehensive interdisciplinary research into issues facing the South China Sea.
Problems in the South China Sea relate not only to issues of sovereignty, delimitation and navigational safety in the islands and waters surrounding it, but also to the collection and preservation of historical evidences and the protection of underwater culture heritage; moreover, the area also has issues concerning the exploitation and protection of marine resources and environment. Identifying solutions to these problems will require meticulous investigation and creativity as well as collaborative efforts from scholars in all relevant departments and disciplines. More importantly, resolving these issues will demand diverse academic exchanges. All these will contribute to the achievement of the goals and aims of the Institute, namely, to extend depth and breadth of policy research on the South China Sea, to thoroughly study oceans law and policy, and to become a Chinese think-tank of topnotch international quality capable of fostering the advancement and cultivation of talented persons.