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Taiwan targets responsible development of ocean resources

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Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Thursday that as a maritime nation, Taiwan will redouble efforts to make the best use of ocean resources, as a first step of the Executive Yuan's pledge to respect the sea. The premier made his remarks following a presentation by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on advances in oceanography achieved by Taiwan's ocean research vessels and long-term plans for the fleet.

The waters surrounding Taiwan offer diverse environments harboring a wealth of ocean life, Premier Su said. Seeking improvements in such areas as the administration, research, environmental protection and conservation of these resources, the Legislature passed into law the Executive Yuan's proposed fundamental act for the sea this November 1. Within a year the government will produce a national ocean policy white paper to set a course for Taiwan's approach to ocean affairs.

Emphasizing the importance of committed oceanography, the premier explained that such research is not only of great value to confirming the environment and resources of territorial waters on which Taiwan's economy and way of life depend, but more importantly serves as an indicator of national power and national security. MOST invests considerable sums to support basic oceanography, including the 2018 launch of the research ship Legend, which will become part of Taiwan's research fleet with the introduction of three additional soon-to-be inaugurated vessels. This new fleet will play a major role in expanding the nation's oceanographic capabilities.

From planning and design to construction, the new ships are an entirely indigenous effort, in line with Taiwan's policy of naval self-sufficiency, said Premier Su. The projects have also opened new development possibilities for the maritime industry. The advance of the oceanographic fleet will also create opportunities for multi-disciplinary research and international cooperation in areas like atmospheric and earth sciences. In addition to improving the accuracy of typhoon forecasting and reducing damage caused by natural disasters, these endeavors will strengthen monitoring of the marine environment and further the sustainable development of fishing industry resources and the seas overall, thereby protecting Taiwan and contributing to the global community.

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