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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of Chin, at the 65th Plenary of the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly on Item 30: Oceans and the Law of the Sea

2001/11/28

28 November 2001

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, which is quite informative and provides a good basis for our consideration of the agenda item. I would also like to thank the distinguished Ambassador of Iran for his statement on behalf of Group 77 and China, which the Chinese delegation fully supports.

Mr. Chairman, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its associated agreements provide a basic legal framework for human activities in respect of oceans. We are pleased to note that at the present there are 137 Parties to the Convention and the universality of the Convention has been further enhanced. We hope that more countries would become parties to the Convention. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the role of the Convention and has actively participated in the activities of various institutions under the Convention.

Mr. Chairman, the Chinese government is supportive of an integrated approach to marine management and stands for the efficient and sustainable use of marine resources. The decision by the UNGA to establish "the UN informal consultative process on ocean affairs and the law of the sea" reflects the general concern by all States over ocean affairs and the law of the sea. At the second session of the informal consultative process last May, discussions were held on marine scientific research, marine environment protection and fight against crimes on the sea and positive results were achieved. The Chinese delegation believes it important to further strengthen the role and responsibilities of the relevant UN agencies and institutions with regard to the development and transfer of marine science and technology as well as their coordination therein. The implementation of the relevant provisions of Part XIV of the Convention on the Law of the Sea (the development of marine science and technology) should be enhanced and practical programs should be formulated to help developing countries in their capacity building. As to combating crimes on the sea, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to it and has taken active measures to combat crimes on the sea. The Chinese delegation believes that the active role that is being played by the International Maritime Organization in preventing and combating piracy and armed robbery on the sea should be further strengthened and it is desirable to make the IMO a coordinating body in this field. Countries should be encouraged to establish unified agencies for law enforcement on the sea and step up their efforts to combat crimes on the sea. Regional cooperation should be further encouraged with a view of developing a rapid and effective system for information sharing so as to jointly combat crimes on the sea.

Mr. Chairman, the Chinese delegation is pleased to note that, following the adoption of the Regulations on the Prospecting and Exploration of Poly Metallic Nodules in the Area, the International Seabed Authority has entered into exploration contracts with relevant pioneer investors one after another. This marks a new stage in the international seabed development. At the same time, the Chinese government supports the Authority to start work on the formulation of regulations on the exploration of resources other than poly metallic nodules, such as polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts on the ocean floor, and believes that this is one of the practical steps in the implementation of the Convention and an important measure to strengthen the management of the resources in the international seabed area.

Mr. Chairman, progress has been made in the work of the Committee on the Delimitation of Continental Shelf. Currently, the Committee on the Delimitation of Continental Shelf has basically completed all the technical documents that are necessary for considering delimitation cases to be submitted by coastal states. The 11th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, in accordance with Article 4 of Annex II of the Convention has determined a new date from which the ten-year deadline for submitting delimitation cases to the Committee begins. The Chinese government welcomes all these new developments.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is playing an increasingly important role in settling maritime disputes and maintaining the order of the ocean. We are very pleased to see that the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea is making positive progress in its work. The Chinese government will as always support the work of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Mr. Chairman, peaceful settlement of international disputes is one of the basic principles of the UN Charter. China is always of the view that disputes between States on territorial or marine rights and interests should be fairly settled through peaceful ways including negotiation and consultation in accordance with international law.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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