Aiming at the current climate status, i.e., drastic rise of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the apparent trend of global warming, the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), launched in 2013, proposed four scientific challenges, including the response of global climate to CO2 rise, the feedback of ice-sheet and sea-level to global warming, the dynamics of the mid- and low-latitude hydro-cycle, and the mechanism of the marine carbon-chemical buffering system. By August 2017, eight IODP expeditions of climate-related themes were implemented, focusing on the Neogene evolution of the monsoon system over Asia-Pacific-Indian and the West Pacific Warm Pool, with specific interests in the variabilities and mechanisms of the Asian Monsoon system on orbital-to millennial-scales, as well as the connections between Asian Monsoon and the uplift/weathering of the Tibetan Plateau on tectonic time scale. The planned IODP expeditions in the forthcoming two years will explore the Southern high-latitude climate histories of West Antarctic ice in the Cenozoic, and Southern Ocean currents and carbon cycle in the Cretaceous-Paleogene. In sum, during the current phase of IODP (2013-2023), our knowledge about the marine climate system would be greatly advanced via deciphering the past changes in tropical processes of Asian Monsoon and West Pacific Warm Pool, as well as in high-latitude factors of the West Antarctic ice. A better scientific background of natural variability would be provided, accordingly, for predicting the future tendency in climate change. In this context, China’s strategic directions include the global monsoon concept, the tropical forcing hypothesis, and in particular the climate effect of the Sunda Shelf.