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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Min, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations At the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly On Agenda Item 76: Oceans and the law of the sea

2011-12-06 11:45

(Photo by Shen Hong, Xinhua News Agency) 



Mr. President,

This year, affairs related to oceans and law of the sea have received more attention from the international community with further implementation of the regimes under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and increasingly close international cooperation and interaction on matters of oceans and seas. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the UNCLOS and China will take advantage of that opportunity to make greater efforts together with other countries to build a harmonious ocean to promote peace, security and openness of the ocean, based on the international law, including the Convention, and to strive for the balance of science-based protection of the ocean on the one hand and rational utilization of the ocean on the other, to achieve common development for all members of the international community and mutually beneficial win-win results.

Guided by the concept of harmonious maritime order, the Chinese delegation took an active part in the consultations on the draft resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea and on sustainable fisheries during the current session of the General Assembly. Here, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Ambassador Valle of Brazil and Ms. Holly of the United States for their contribution as coordinators for these two resolutions.

Mr. President,

I wish to take this opportunity to elaborate my delegation's position and views on questions related to this item.

I. On the work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the work of the Commission and commends the diligent work of the members of the Commission and the results achieved. We support the Commission in fulfilling its responsibilities in strict compliance with the Convention and the Commission's Rules of Procedure and hope that the delineation of the outer continental shelf will balance the legitimate rights and interests of the coastal States and the interests of international community as a whole. Now the Commission is tasked with very heavy workload, however many members from the developing countries do not yet have coverage for medical expenses during their work in New York. The Chinese delegation calls on the all relevant parties to continue to work towards an appropriate solution of relevant problems so as to facilitate the work of the Commission.

II. On the work of the International Seabed Authority.

The Chinese delegation congratulates the Seabed Authority on its achievement over the past year, especially the approval by the Council of the ISA of four exploration applications for seabed resources, which demonstrates the increasing vitality of international seabed activities. My delegation looks forward to an early completion of the drafting of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Crusts and hopes that the Regulations will give a balanced reflection of the concerns of all parties. The Environment Management Plan for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone should follow the Convention, base itself on full scientific evidences and keep an appropriate balance between the protection of seabed environment and the exploration and utilization of seabed resources.

III. On the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

My delegation notes that the Tribunal has started the proceedings on its first maritime delimitation case. In addition, the Seabed Disputes Chamber issued an advisory opinion on the responsibilities and obligations of sponsoring States for international seabed activities. With these activities, the Tribunal, as the judicial organ established by the Convention to deal with disputes related to the interpretation and application of the Convention, has entered a new stage in which it is fulfilling the comprehensive responsibilities entrusted to it by the Convention. The Chinese Government values and supports the important role of the Tribunal in the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and the maintenance of international maritime order.

IV. On marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

The international community attaches great importance to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction and the Ad-Hoc Working Group under the General Assembly in this respect has put forward concrete recommendations for its work on the questions concerned. The Chinese delegation appreciates the work of the Ad-Hoc Working Group and supports the adoption by the GA of the recommendations. At the same time, we'd like to emphasize that since the high seas and international seabed involve the interest of the whole international community and the appropriate handling of the question of marine biodiversity in those areas is of important significance for the maintenance of an equitable and rational international maritime order, the relevant work should proceed in a gradual manner and take into full consideration the legitimate need of countries, especially the developing countries, to use marine biological resources.

V. On the Regular Process for the Global Reporting and Assessment of the state of the Marine Environment.

The Chinese Delegation finds it highly gratifying that the institutional framework of the Process is largely in place and the relevant work is progressing at a good speed. My delegation believes that for the Process to go on smoothly and play its due role, it is imperative to formulate an appropriate Outline for Global Integrated Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment. China has applied to host in late February next year a symposium on the marine area of Eastern and South-eastern Asia seas. We hope that the symposium will make useful contribution to the environment assessment of this region of world seas and to the capacity building of countries in this region.

VI. On Sustainable Fisheries.

As a responsible fishery power, China takes an active part in the work of various international fishery organizations and commits itself to the enhancement of the conservation and management of fishery resources. The Chinese Government is willing to continue to work with the countries concerned in a joint effort to promote the development and improvement of international fisheries regimes, rationally regulate fishery activities so as to achieve the sustainable use of marine biological resources, maintain the marine ecological balance and ensure the sharing of the fishery interests by all countries.

Mr. President,

The ocean is an important foundation for human development and progress. Members of the international community should further strengthen cooperation, and show solidarity, jointly respond to challenges related to the ocean, share the opportunities and wealth offered by the oceans, work together to seek the sustainable development of the ocean, and make it a perpetual source of benefit for mankind. China is willing to work with other countries towards the harmonious oceans.

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