|Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Min At the 22nd Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea On the Commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Opening for Signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Oceans and seas are closely related to the survival and development of mankind and the marine order has become an important and inseparable component part of the international order. Building an equitable and rational international marine order is of great significance for the maintenance of world peace and development.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the fruit of nine years of labor by the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. The Convention has established a basic legal framework for contemporary marine order and become the main source of contemporary law of the sea. At this commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Convention, the Chinese delegation wishes to pay the highest tribute to those who have contributed to the birth of the Convention, and we wish to pay particular respect to the late Ambassador Arvid Pardo of Malta. It was Ambassador Pardo who put forward the landmark concept of "common heritage of mankind", which launched the process of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea culminating in the birth of the Convention.
The achievements of the Convention over the past 30 years are known to all: the Convention has been widely accepted in the world with 162 states parties to date; the principles and rules established by the Convention have been applied all over the world; the three international institutions set up by the Convention have been functioning well with growing credibility and influence, providing important guarantee for maintaining an equitable and rational international marine order. Moreover, mechanisms related to the Convention have been set up under the framework of the UN, such as the Informal Consultative Process on oceans and the law of the sea and the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction; and discussions on emerging issues such as marine protected areas and deep sea genetic resources are going on in depth, creating favorable conditions for the progressive development of the international law of the sea in response to evolving situation.
China attaches great importance to oceans and seas. We take an active part in international marine affairs and advocate the establishment and maintenance of a harmonious marine order. In the view of my delegation, to build and maintain a harmonious marine order, we must be guided by the spirit of the Convention, strengthen international cooperation and coordination, and safeguard the peace, security and openness of oceans and seas so as to promote the common development of all countries. To this end, efforts should be focused on the following four aspects:
First, integrate scientific protection of oceans and seas with their rational utilization in order to achieve the sustainable development of oceans and seas;
Secondly, strike a balance between the interest of coastal states and the overall interest of the international community by ensuring respect for the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states in areas under their jurisdiction while at the same time guaranteeing the legitimate rights and interests of states on the high seas and in the international sea bed area;
Thirdly, ensure the rights and freedom of all states to lawful utilization of oceans and seas with particular attention to marine activities of developing countries and land-locked and geographically disadvantaged states with a view to enabling them to share the benefits of oceans and seas;
Fourthly, settle maritime disputes by peaceful means. Parties concerned should solve their disputes on maritime boundary delimitation and other matters through friendly consultations on the basis of international law including the Convention and maintain the peace and stability of the areas concerned.
China believes that a harmonious marine order will help all countries share opportunities presented by oceans and seas and work together to tackle challenges and seek development in relation to oceans and seas, and is therefore in the interest of the overall international community.
The Convention has traversed an extraordinary journey over the past 30 years. The continued potent vitality of its basic principles and rules traces its source to the vision and farsightedness of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, and such vision and farsightedness took form under the guidance of the spirit of cooperation. Without such spirit of cooperation, the 1982 Convention could not have been adopted. We hope and believe that in face of new opportunities and challenges, countries will continue to follow the spirit of cooperation and make positive contribution to the maintenance of an equitable and rational international marine order and the building of a harmonious ocean with lasting peace and common prosperity.
I thank you, Madam President.