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Cablegate: Noaa Das Discusses Cooperation with China's Cma and Soa

VZCZCXRO9212
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHBJ #2416/01 2352344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 232344Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5738
INFO RUCPDC/NOAA NMSF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC 0762
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//DCO/CG-5/CG-51/CG-51-M//
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 9958
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0479
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 9975
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 9606
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1076
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 7372

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002416

STATE FOR OES AND EAP/CM
STATE PASS TO OSTP ROLF

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL SENV TSPA PGOV PREL MARR CH
SUBJECT: NOAA DAS DISCUSSES COOPERATION WITH CHINA'S CMA AND SOA

REFTEL: 08 BEIJING 4250

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. James Turner
visited Beijing on August 13 to discuss areas of collaboration with
the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and State Oceanic
Administration (SOA). CMA officials expressed appreciation for the
long-standing cooperation with NOAA, noting that NOAA has been
training most of CMA's senior staff since the late-1980s and many of
CMA's key technological advancements are in part due to NOAA's
assistance. In his meeting with SOA, Dr. Turner repeatedly raised
the issue of real-time data sharing from China's ocean monitoring
satellite network, but SOA officials remained tight-lipped on the
topic stating that this issue (REFTEL) would be discussed at the
upcoming NOAA-SOA data panel meeting in early September in
Washington DC. SOA officials also requested increased collaboration
with NOAA on "Marine Functional Zoning (MFZ)" noting that
coordination among China's different ministries and offices
responsible for oceans management has been difficult. SOA's Dr.
ZHANG Zhanhai also provided a brief overview of China's Arctic and
Antarctic research stations. END SUMMARY.

CMA CREDITS NOAA FOR CHINA'S IMPROVED STORM PREDICTION
--------------------------------------------- ---------
2. (SBU) CMA Deputy Administrator Dr. SHEN Xiaonong provided a
brief overview of CMA, noting that his organization falls directly
under the leadership of China's State Council and is essentially
equivalent to a ministry. CMA has 53,000 fixed staff, 40,000
contractors, 2,400 staffed weather monitoring stations, 20,000
unmanned remote monitoring stations, and 120 sounding devices that
provide real-time data to CMA's data integration center in Beijing.
CMA also operates China's Fengyun (FY) weather satellites.

3. (SBU) Tropical storms Goni and Morakot resulted in eight deaths
on the Chinese mainland and expected losses of 9.89 billion RMB,
according to the Disaster Relief office of Ministry of Civil
Affairs. Dr. Shen said that the death toll due to the storms was
relatively low, in part because of advanced warning systems that
were the result of NOAA-CMA cooperation. Shen also said that NOAA
had helped CMA acquire advanced technologies, including high-powered
computers, space-rated semiconductors for weather satellites, and
weather radars, resulting in key advancements in CMA's tropical
cyclone tracking and prediction capabilities.

4. (SBU) Shen was remarkably candid regarding the stove-piping that
continues to hinder Chinese intra-governmental cooperation. He said
that coordination on major issues such as climate change is
difficult since CMA "has no authority for anything below the sea
surface." Despite the need for improved integrated ocean/atmosphere
research, CMA itself sometimes has difficulty in obtaining
ocean-related data from SOA.

5. (U) An official from CMA's National Meteorological Center (NMC)
also provided Dr. Turner with a briefing on NMC's capabilities.
[NOTE: NMC is roughly equivalent to the National Weather Service in
the U.S. END NOTE.] The official said that NMC operates a "decision
making/policy assistance" office which has been crucial in helping
Chinese leaders make informed decisions regarding weather-related
disaster mitigation. These recommendations have resulted in far few
deaths due to weather phenomena and more efficient emergency
evacuations. NMC also generates computer models that predict
pollutant, toxic chemical, or radiological material dispersal. NMC
coordinates these efforts with other Chinese government
organizations such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection,
which would be responsible for responding to such an incident.

SOA'S ROLE GROWS AS OCEAN ECONOMY EXPANDS RAPIDLY
--------------------------------------------- ----
6. (U) On August 12, DAS Turner visited Qingdao to give a keynote
address on the Ocean Economy at a forum sponsored by China's State
Oceanic Administration (SOA). The forum was well-attended and
included several senior provincial leaders, including the governor
of Shandong Province and mayor of Qingdao. DAS Turner also visited
Beijing on August 13 to discuss areas of collaboration with Dr.
ZHANG Zhanhai, the Director General of the Department of
International Cooperation at SOA. Zhang stated that 40% of China's
population lives on the coast, 60% of China's GDP comes from coastal

BEIJING 00002416 002 OF 002


areas, and another 10% is from the "marine economy" noting that this
has doubled in just 5 years from 5% in 2003.

7. (SBU) Zhang said that a SOA delegation will accompanying
Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang for the upcoming Joint
Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology in Washington in
October, although he did not indicate what specific proposals would
be discussed at the JCM. Zhang also noted that he was looking
forward to the NOAA-SOA Data Panel meeting in September. DAS Turner
used the opportunity to raise the issue of real-time satellite ocean
data (and continued to raise it numerous times throughout the
meeting) but Zhang was reluctant to discuss the issue, saying that
this topic will be discussed at the data panel meeting. [COMMENT:
SOA's response was consistent with previous NOAA and NASA efforts to
obtain real-time satellite data from SOA. SOA appears committed to
not providing the data and it is unlikely that this position will
change at the September Data Panel meeting. END COMMENT.]

8. (SBU) Zhang said that he hoped that SOA could work more closely
with NOAA on "Marine Functional Zoning (MFZ)." SOA said that
coordinating issues such as aquaculture, ocean disaster mitigation,
ocean pollution, and marine eco-preservation among different
ministries and offices responsible for oceans management has been
extremely challenging. SOA was interested in learning more about
NOAA's MFZ-equivalent "Ocean Spatial Planning" effort. DAS Turner
noted that NOAA had encountered similar difficulties in implementing
the ocean spatial planning concept.

9. (SBU) During the SOA-hosted lunch, Zhang spoke at length about
SOA's Arctic and Antarctic research facilities, since he had
previously worked in the department that operated these sites. He
said that SOA operated two Arctic research centers and three
Antarctic facilities, with one only become operational within the
past two years, situated on the highest part of Antarctica at an
altitude of 4300 meters. Zhang said that the Antarctic research
facility on Georgia Island would soon be receiving new satellite
receiving equipment that would help SOA conduct climate change
research [NOTE: SOA operates China's Haiyang ocean monitoring
satellites and will probably be able to downlink real-time ocean
data and images to their Antarctic station with this equipment. END
NOTE.] Zhang also said that the high-altitude Antarctic facility
will be receiving astronomical observation equipment since the
atmosphere at this location is clear and dry. Zhang did not suggest
conducting joint Arctic/Antarctic research with NOAA but was clearly
proud of China's research facilities at these sites.

GOLDBERG

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