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Visit by China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR)

14th August 2018

A delegation from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), led by its Director of Institute of Maritime Studies, Dr Xu Xiaotian, accompanied by Dr Tang Xinhua, Dr Chen Zinan, Dr Tang Xinhua and Nie Huihui paid a visit to MIMA. The visit was a request to engage with the Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy (CMSD) and exchange perspectives on the much touted Indo-Pacific concept and issues on the South China Sea (SCS).

According to open sources, CICIR is identified by Stratfor Global Intelligence as belonging to the 8th Bureau of the Ministry of State Security, China's main intelligence agency, and provides intelligence reports to the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China. The institute has held considerable influence over China's foreign policy decision-making process due in part to its close organisational proximity to the Communist Party's Central Committee, the Foreign Affairs Leading Group and the Foreign Affairs Office.

The discussion was chaired by Capt. Martin A. Sebastian, Centre Head, CMSD, who briefed the delegation on the roles of MIMA as a national maritime policy think tank. He answered questions on the Indo Pacific concept and explained that issues on the SCS are multi faceted. He reiterated the strategic importance of the SCS as the water column joins the two land masses to make Malaysia a nation. He emphasised on the resources in the SCS which is an important source of food, revenue and human security. Malaysia and China have a common responsibility under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) to ensure the sustainability of the resource for future generations.

He added that relationship between Southeast Asia and China are centuries old and that should be the fundamentals to achieve mutual gain through a common framework in the SCS. Since offshore stations have already been developed in the SCS by many littoral states including Malaysia, he advocated the idea on utilising these stations for peaceful purposes like navigation, Search and Rescue (SAR) and scientific support for preservation and conservation of the seas and the bio diversity, especially addressing ocean litter.  To this end, he offered to collaborate with CICIR in seeking pacific solution which can mutually benefit the region.

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Dr Xu Xiaotian and Capt. Martin A. Sebastian RMN (R)

As part of MIMA’s efforts to provide expert opinion on maritime affairs in particular to foreign delegates, the meeting benefited both parties on areas of mutual interest and explored prospects or research project partnerships.

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