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Statement by Ms. XUE Hanqin of the Chinese Delegation on Agenda Item 34: Oceans and the Law of the Sea

2000/10/26

Statement by Ms. XUE Hanqin of the Chinese Delegation


Agenda Item 34

October 26, 2000

Mr. President,

Oceans and seas are of paramount importance to the survival and development of the human society. As a populous developing country, China, like others, attaches great importance to the exploration, utilization and sustainable management of marine resources, the protection of marine environment and marine scientific research. All these elements have been integrated into our national social and economic development strategy and program. The Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant agreements, rules and regulations constitute the legal framework for and basic contents of the modern international order of the sea. More than 130 countries have so far ratified or acceded to UNCLOS, and we are proud to be one of them. Now I'd like to express the views of the Chinese Government on a number of points.

First of all, Mr. President, we highly appreciate the progress made in the work of the International Seabed Authority. The Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules in the Area adopted at the sixth session of the Authority in July this year further elaborates on the principle of common heritage of mankind as enshrined in the Convention and provides concrete rules to be followed in activities of the exploration and exploitation of the international seabed resources. We must also be aware that the Authority still faces a very heavy workload in the coming years. Not only will it conclude exploration contracts with the pioneer investors concerned, consider the exploration applications from other countries and supervise the exploration activities of the contractors in the Area, also it has to initiate at the appropriate time the development of regulations on the prospecting of marine resources other than polymetallic nodules. We will be quite happy to see the work of the Authority going well and tangible results forthcoming therefrom.

Secondly, Mr. President, on the management and sustainable exploitation of marine living resources in the area beyond the national jurisdictions, we should say commendable results have been achieved for the last few years. The 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks represents an important complement to and development of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. A number of regional regimes for the conservation and management of marine living resources are coming into being or being strengthened. The Chinese Government has always highly appreciated the importance of the preservation and sustainable exploitation of marine living resources and actively participated in the activities of the relevant fishery management organisations. We are of the view that the illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities have severe adverse impact on the effectiveness of the measures for the sustainable management and exploitation of marine living resources. We hope that coordination amongst UN agencies and regional fishery organisations will be strengthened so that the problem can be properly addressed.

Thirdly, Mr. President, I'd like to say a few words on the Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. I'd like to congratulate the co-chairpersons for their chairing of the first meeting of the Informal Consultative Process. During that meeting, useful discussions were held on various topics such as fisheries, environmental protection, scientific research, capacity-building, suppression of crimes at sea and strengthening regional cooperation and positive progress was made. We hope that the Informal Consultative Process will, in conformity with the Resolution 54/33, have and in-depth discussions on oceans and the law of the sea.

Fourthly, Mr. President, we highly appreciate the work of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The manner in which the Tribunal handles the Saiga Case, the Southern Bluefin Tuna Case and the Camouco Case clearly illustrated efficiency of the Tribunal. We believe and hope that the Tribunal will play a greater role in the settlement of maritime disputes and in maintenance of international order of the sea.

Mr. President,

As we are entering into the new millennium, we see an ever closer relationship between oceans and the survival and development of mankind. The international community should, within the framework of UNCLOS, exert every effort to make oceans and seas better serve the interests of mankind and bring a healthy and stable international order of the sea into the 21st century.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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