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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Gulf of Guinea

2023-06-21 18:00

Madame President,

I think Assistant Secretary General Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, President Gilberto da Piedade Verissimo of ECCAS, and President Omar Alieu Touray of ECOWAS, and Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission Jose Mba Abeso for their briefings.

China welcomes Ghana’s initiative to convene this meeting. The Gulf of Guinea as a shared maritime home to all countries in the region. A decade ago, leaders of the region jointly signed the Yaoundé code of conduct to consolidate the consensus to safeguard common maritime security. Over the past 10 years, regional countries have worked together to build the Yaoundé maritime security architecture, step up anti-piracy escort and patrol, strengthen legislation and accountability, and conduct joint law enforcement. Recent years have seen year-on-year decline in the incidence of piracy and continued improvement in the maritime security environment in the Gulf of Guinea. China commends the countries in the region for their efforts.

The Gulf of Guinea is a shipping route of global importance. Safeguarding its maritime security is the shared responsibility of regional countries and the international community at large. China encourages the Security Council to give due attention to the difficulties and challenges facing coastal states and bring more attention and input to bear on this matter. I wish to underscore the following points.

First, deepening regional cooperation. The Gulf of Guinea covers a vast area rimmed by a large number of countries. Piracy in this region features a high degree of mobility and elusiveness. Sporadic incidents of piracy have occurred only recently. Stepping up regional cooperation is imperative for an effective response. Regional countries need to embrace the concept of common maritime security, leverage the leading role of ECCAS, ECOWAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission, and other regional organizations and advance the development of original anti-piracy strategy. It is essential to fully operationalize their own a code of conduct with a focus on addressing the financial, logistical, and technical issues involved in building the maritime security architecture, thus providing effective institutional guarantee for regional anti-piracy operations. Anti piracy operations have to do with the maritime sovereignty of coastal states and bear on their eternal affairs, including judicial systems. Countries outside of the region should respect the sovereignty and leadership of the coastal states and play a constructive role in regional anti-piracy operations.

Second, stepping up anti-piracy capacity building. The coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea are at the forefront of the fight against piracy. The Security Council adopted in May last year Resolution 2634, spotlighting the support for regional anti-piracy capacity building. The international community needs to help coastal states beef up capacity building of their maritime law enforcement agencies and navies and improve their operational efficiency. UNOWAS, UNOCA, UNODC, IMO, Interpol, and  other agencies should act in light of their respective mandate and expertise to scale up their support in such focus areas as information sharing, early warning, maritime search and rescue, and logistics. In recent years, China provided regional countries with multiple consignments of anti-piracy supplies and equipment, engaged in joint anti-piracy exercises. China stands ready to draw on existing success stories and modalities from the internal community and on the basis of adequate consultations with coastal states explore ways of cooperation such as joint law enforcement and join escort, thereby sustaining the most robust suppression and deterrence on piracy.

Third, paying due attention to the root causes of piracy. The Secretary-General’s report issued last November called attention to the employment and livelihood issues of coastal communities in the Gulf of Guinea and the importance to eliminate the breeding ground of piracy. The international community should with a greater sense of urgency support coastal states’ development, help guarantee and improve people's livelihood, and enhance the sense of gain and security of coastal communities, in particular the youth. Over the years, China has been conducting pragmatic cooperation with countries in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. In December last year and in January this year, the container terminal in the port Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, and port Lekki in Nigeria, both constructed by Chinese contractors, were completed and entered into operation one after the other, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs locally. China has also actively worked with Sierra Leone and Senegal, among other countries in areas, such as fishing harbor construction, aquaculture, and fishing processing, benefiting local communities. China is ready to work with the internet community to jointly support region develop the blue economy, exploit maritime resources, thus turning the Gulf of Guinea into a gulf of peace, stability, and prosperity.

Thank you, Madam President.

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