My delegation is pleased to see that the discussion of Panel B is co-chaired by you. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation of the efforts that you and the Secretariat have made for the preparation of the meeting. At the same time, I would like to assure you of our active support to you and wish the meeting a great success.
Piracy and armed robbery represent a serious threat to the lives of seafarers, the safety of navigation and the security of coastal States. In recent years, piracy and armed robbery have gradually exhibited a more global nature, have been conducted in a more strictly organized manner and have become more violent. The Chinese government, as a contracting party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, and relevant conventions of IMO, has been active and firm in combating piracy and armed robbery, and has exerted arduous efforts in this regard. In recent years, China has taken effective measures in combating crimes at sea, successfully investigated and settled 5 cases of piracy and armed robbery incidents occurred in the sea areas of the Southeast Asian region, apprehended and convicted criminals in a timely manner, resulting in a forceful suppression of and a heavy blow against piracy and armed robbery at sea.
The following are some of the effective measures that the relevant departments of our government have taken in combating piracy and armed robbery:
1. Strengthening marine patrol, surveillance, detection and examination, especially on key sea areas and against major suspected vessels. A series of special actions have been carried out to combat crimes at sea. Special investigation groups were formed and great efforts were made to investigate cases of piracy and armed robbery whenever they occur.
2. Giving full play to the marine security alarming system, making swift response to any reports of crime cases and taking firm actions to combat crimes at sea so as to effectively protect the robbed ships and seafarers.
3. The Maritime Safety Administration of P.R.C. (MSA) responsible for maritime safety of communication and the Maritime Rescue and Salvage Center of P.R.C. responsible for guiding and coordinating rescuing and salvage operations in the liability areas have made combating and co-investigating cases of piracy and armed robbery an important component of their functions and duties to ensure the safety of navigation. The MSA has been active in assisting in the examination of criminal cases at sea by way of checking suspected vessels and seamen. Whenever any ship is found to be in doubt, investigation will be conducted, and when sufficient evidences are collected, the cases will be handed over to the Public Security Department and the Court for further investigation and settlement in accordance with relevant laws and regulations of China.
4. The competent organizations will disseminate any letters from IMO to relevant units and make positive and prompt response to any appeals from other countries and international organizations for assisting in looking for missing ships.
5. Actively promoting international exchange and cooperation. In 1998, the competent department in China signed a cooperative agreement with the coast guard of the Republic of Korea on joint combating crimes at sea. A series of consultations have been held with Japan on combating crimes at sea, and a unanimous agreement has been reached upon. Last year, experts from China attended regional conferences held by Japan and Malaysia on combating crimes at sea. During the conferences, discussions were held with experts from the participating countries with regard to issues such as the cooperation on jointly combating piracy and armed robberies at sea and yielded fruitful results.
Mr. Co-chair, piracy and armed robbery are criminal acts affecting the world. It is necessary to take counter-measures at a global level. It is recognized by many countries that strengthening the coordination and cooperation is of great significance. The Chinese government is willing to cooperate sincerely with any other countries and will do its best to combat piracy and armed robbery. Therefore, we would like to make the following suggestions:
1. All coastal States should strengthen their jurisdiction and enhance capacity building in legislation and law-enforcement, strengthening patrol and control in their ports, territorial waters and other sea areas under their jurisdiction so as to eliminate any shelter for criminals.
2. An effective information exchange system should be developed for a quick and effective exchange of information among States so as to facilitate the searching of missing ships and criminals.
3. Cooperation and interaction among States should be enhanced. Regional and global seminars or workshops should be held for discussing such issues as the current status, characteristics, trend and solutions to the piracy and armed robbery. People engaged in combating crimes at sea and in law-enforcement should be trained.
Thank you, Mr. Co-chair.