Message from Director

 

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.  


Kuen-chen FU