HAIKOU, CHINA - U.S. State Department officials, including Consul General Jim Levy, visited the Turtle Museum and the Sea Turtles 911 Rescue Center at Hainan Normal University. Besides meeting the rescued sea turtle patients undergoing rehabilitation there, the officials got a glimpse of wild sea turtles in Hawaii through live video meeting with volunteers in Hawaii. "While the future of sea turtle populations remain bleak in the South China Sea, the recovering population of sea turtles basking on beaches in Hawaii serves as a beacon of hope," said Frederick Yeh, Founder of Sea Turtles 911 and IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist.
An official bilateral meeting was held to discuss the U.S.-China EcoPartnership to save sea turtles in the South China Sea. The officials, including university presidents Lin Qiang and Haitao Shi, expressed their support for U.S.-China academic exchange programs that provide educational opportunities for Chinese students to gain sea turtle conservation experiences in Hawaii, while American students gain sea turtle research experiences in China. Through the exchange programs, future generations of American and Chinese leaders would work more effectively together on sea turtle conservation issues in the South China Sea, improving U.S.-China relations in one of the most urgent environmental issues worldwide. As Hawaii Governor David Ige said during his 2015 official visit to China, “I am excited about future opportunities for partnerships between schools in Hawai‘i and [China] that promote people-to-people exchange among students as they strive toward developing into globally conscious citizens.”
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