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Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at the Plenary
2006/12/07

2006/12/07

Madam President,

The past year witnessed further progress in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and the relevant agreements. We wish to express our appreciation to the International Seabed Authority, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea for the work they have done.

The Chinese delegation took an active part in the informal consultations on the draft resolution entitled "Oceans and the Law of the Sea" and the one entitled "Sustainable Fishery" under this agenda item. On this occasion, I wish to thank Mr. Carlos Duarte of Brazil and Ms. Holly Koehler of the United States for their efforts in bringing the consultations on the two draft resolutions to a fruitful conclusion. We take note of the fact that both draft resolutions place a high value on the status and role of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. By now, the number of states parties to the Convention has reached 152. The rising number of states parties is a reflection of the universality and authority of the Convention, its ability to adapt to the development of the times and to meet new challenges, and its dynamic vitality. At present, we need to maintain the unified character and integrity of the Convention and preserve the balance of different interests as provided for in the Convention.

Madam President,

As science and technology develop and the exploration of the oceans by mankind advances, nations' capability to utilize and protect the oceans is increasing while new issues and challenges are emerging at the same time.

The development of marine science and resources is important for ensuring food security, alleviating poverty, promoting economic growth and preserving social stability in all countries, especially the developing countries. We are attached to the relevant elements on development in the draft resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. As the Group of 77 and China pointed out in the informal consultations, the promotion of development is not merely a question of capacity building in developing countries but also one of the fundamental objectives of the Law of the Sea regime and the marine order. Both the question of development and the special interests and needs of developing countries as emphasized in the Preamble of the Convention should be understood from this macro perspective. We are pleased to note that the draft resolution reaffirms and emphasizes the goal to "promote the equitable and effective use of marine resources".

Madam President,

The work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is relevant not only to the delimitation by coastal states of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, but also to the delimitation of the area of the international seabed. Therefore, it is of great significance to the exploitation of the resources in the Area as the common heritage of mankind. We note that the draft resolution emphasizes the importance of the work of the Commission to the international community as a whole and positively evaluates the work and contribution of the Commission. At the same time, the draft resolution also notes the heavy workload and the financial situation of the Commission and expresses the determination to ensure the high level of professional quality and the effective functioning of the Commission.

The Chinese government has always supported the work of the Commission and provided all necessary support for Professor Lu Wenzheng, the Chinese member on the Commission, to carry out his functions. We are confident that Professor Lu, with his outstanding professional skills and rich experience, will contribute to the work of the Commission. We sincerely hope that the work of the Commission will be able to proceed smoothly and yield positive results.

Madam President,

The conservation and sustainable use of marine bio-diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction bear upon the protection of marine ecosystems, the development of health and medicine, the advancement of science and technology and the achievement of economic prosperity for mankind. In light of the complexity and sensitivity of the issue and the limited knowledge available to mankind, we should encourage the international community to step up its study and research in this regard. We support the Secretary General's convening the second session of the informal ad hoc working group in 2008 to study the impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine biological diversity and explore ways and means for cooperation and coordination between states and intergovernmental organizations.

We believe that steps and measures for the conservation of marine bio-diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction should be agreed to within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant international conventions and should take into full account the existing regimes governing the use of high seas and international seabed. Our purpose should be to find a balance between conservation and sustainable use instead of simply prohibiting or limiting the use of the oceans.

Madam President,

The Chinese delegation takes a great interest in the question of fishery. As a responsible major player in fishery and aiming at the sustainable development of fishery of the world, China has always worked to improve the conservation and management of fishery resources. China took an active part in this year's review conference on the UN Fish Stock Agreement. China is also an active participant and plays a constructive role in the discussions on the question of fishery in various international and regional mechanisms.

Utilization of fishery resources on the high seas is by no means the vested interests of a small number of countries. While considering and formulating measures for the management and conservation of fishery, the international community should ensure that people, especially those in the developing countries, enjoy their legitimate rights to fishery resources. We welcome the emphasis that the relevant paragraph of the draft resolution places on fairness and transparency in the internal decision making process of regional fishery management organizations.

Madam President,

A major goal that the Convention seeks to achieve is to facilitate marine navigation. The regimes established by the Convention for governing the transit and passage through straights used for international navigation and the passage through sea lanes of archipelagos are important for ensuring the freedom of marine navigation and should be complied with by all states. We hope that these regimes of the Convention will be preserved. Laws and regulations legislated by any coastal state should be in line with the Convention and the relevant international law and should not undermine the principle of freedom of navigation.

Madam President,

The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea provides a basic legal framework for mankind's activities in the oceans and constitutes the contemporary marine order. Together with all other states, China is ready to honor its international commitments in the spirit of the Convention and work for the development of marine science and resources, and for peace, justice, harmony and progress of mankind.

Thank you, Madam President.

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