|Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Min, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 25th Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea|
The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary-General for the report submitted pursuant to article 319 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and welcomes Palestine’s accession to the big family of UNCLOS as a new member.
Peace, development and cooperation constitute the theme of the world today. The global economy is encountering difficulty in its recovery, making the issue of development even more pressing. This coming September, the General Assembly will hold a development summit and adopt a post-2015 development agenda, which is of great importance. The oceans and seas are our common home and a valuable space for achieving sustainable development. As a significant part of the post-2015 development agenda, sustainable maritime development is having an ever more important status and role in global politics, economy and the social development of humankind. On ways to achieve sustainable maritime development, China wants to share the following views and proposals:
1. Fully amalgamate the political will and establish an awareness that the oceans represent a community of common destiny. The Preamble of the Convention points out that the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole. Now, countries have carried out exchanges and cooperation that are closer than ever before, using oceans and seas as a bond. Meanwhile, the oceans of our globe are also facing such challenges as a worsening environment of resources and ecology as well as frequent occurrence of disasters. An individual country, however powerful it may be, simply cannot stay immune by itself. We should, therefore, be aware that we share the same destiny in ocean affairs and should join hands in responding to the challenges and engage in more pragmatic cooperation for common development.
2. Enhance collaboration and coordination to achieve win-win in economic growth, social development and environmental protection. These three dimensions are inseparable for the effective operation of each depends on that of the other two. For this reason, integrated marine management measures should be taken to ensure the balanced and comprehensive development of all three dimensions. At the same time, the important role of scientific research in decision-making deserves great attention. The international community should further combine science and policies, mainstream marine scientific research in decision-making, and encourage cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral marine scientific research and the sharing of its results. China has lent great importance to and taken an active part in the Regular Process for the Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, which is an important practice by the United Nations in its sustainable maritime development endeavor. We believe that the assessment will provide a scientific basis for countries in their formulation of maritime policies and implementation of integrated marine management.
3. Strengthen the capacity building of developing countries and guarantee the rights of all countries to equal participation in setting international agenda and rule-making. Both the protection and use of oceans need to be buttressed by capacity building. Significant gap exists among countries in capacity building. In particular, developing countries have inadequate capacity in marine use and protection. The international community should accord priority consideration to addressing the capacity building needs of these countries, coupled with ensuring the equal rights of all countries in the sustainable development process in relation to the oceans, taking into full account the needs and concerns of the developing countries and effectively resolving their problems in finance, technology and capacity-building.
The Chinese government takes sustainable maritime development very seriously. In over 30 years of reform and opening up, it has actively advocated the concepts of integrated maritime management and the building of a marine conservation culture, promoted the strategy of maritime development through science and technology, and advanced maritime economic development. China looks forward to furthering its cooperation with other countries and drawing upon their valuable experience so as to make more contributions to the sustainable development of oceans and seas.
The Meeting of States Parties to UNCLOS is not the venue to discuss the South China Sea issue. Nonetheless, one country just now made unwarranted accusations against China in its statement. I can not but respond.
1. China’s construction activities on her islands and reefs are conducted in the Chinese territory, falling entirely within the scope of China’s sovereignty. It is legal, justified and reasonable. The primary purpose of these activities is to improve the working and living conditions of personnel stationed there, better fulfill her international obligations concerning maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation and etc., and enable China to provide better services to vessels from China, her neighbors and other countries sailing in the South China Sea. China cares much about the environmental protection of her own islands, reefs and maritime areas. The construction activities followed a high standard of environmental protection and will not damage the marine environment and ecosystem of the South China Sea. These activities will not undermine countries’ lawful right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. On the contrary, they will facilitate countries’ joint response to challenges on the sea and provide more guarantee for navigation safety.
2. The root cause of the issue that country just raised is the illegal occupation by that country of some of China’s islands and reefs. That country talked at length about the South China Sea issue at this meeting. The very purpose of so-doing is to deceive the international community and pressure China into making compromises and concessions on issues concerning its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Let me make this very clear to that country here, its calculations are totally wrong. China’s will to safeguard her sovereignty and territorial integrity is rock firm. No matter what and how much they say at this meeting or any UN venues, they will never get their way. It is China’s consistent position that countries’ lawful rights to freely choose the means of peaceful disputes settlement should be fully respected, and the most effective way to peacefully settle maritime disputes is for the parties directly concerned to carry out negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. China will neither accept nor participate in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by that country. China urges that country to correct its erroneous actions and return to the right track of resolving the disputes through bilateral negotiations as soon as possible.
3. Sustainable maritime development could not be achieved without peace and stability across the globe and in the region. It is manifested both by history and the reality that nothing could be achieved without a peaceful and stable environment. China is a staunch defender of peace and stability in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN countries are making joint efforts to deepen friendship and cooperation in all areas and build a community of common destiny. We advocate a “dual track” approach on the South China Sea issue, namely, relevant disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultations between parties directly concerned, and China and ASEAN countries should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. China is willing to work together with ASEAN countries to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in an all-round and effective way, and finalize the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea based on consensus at an early date.
Thank you, Mr. President.