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Remarks by Head of the Chinese Delegation Ambassador Wang Min at the Meeting in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the United Nations Convention

2014/06/09

Mr. President,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your election as Chair of the 24th Meeting of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). I believe that under your able leadership, this meeting will be a full success. I also wish to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his remarks.

Today, we are here to ceremoniously commemorate the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the UNCLOS. The Convention is an important international document on the law of the sea, which was formulated after nearly a decade of negotiations and has since been got extensive international participation. The Convention defines the basic legal framework for the order of the international maritime law in modern times. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its entry into force, the Chinese delegation hereby pays high tribute to those who have made contribution to the coming into being and entry into force of the Convention. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Niger to be the newest member of the big family of the States Parties to the Convention and call upon those which have not ratified the Convention to take action as soon as possible.

Since its entry into force 20 years ago, the Convention has made marked achievements for everyone to see. The Convention has received extensive acceptance worldwide with 166 States Parties. The International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which were created by the Convention, have been working well and provided important guarantees for the maintenance of a just and equitable international maritime order. The mechanisms related to matters under the Convention established under the UN framework have promoted the implementation of the Convention and the development of the international maritime law.

Mr. President,

China attaches high importance to the development of maritime endeavors. We actively participate in international maritime affairs and call for the building and maintenance of a harmonious maritime order.

In building and maintaining a harmonious maritime order, the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the coastal countries should be respected, so should the right and freedom of all countries, coastal and landlocked countries included, to lawfully and peacefully use the seas and the oceans.

The issues of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole. Consideration should be given to the reasonable uses and protection of the seas and the oceans. The international community should strengthen cooperation and coordination for the sustainable development of the seas and the oceans.

In building and maintaining a harmonious maritime order, all countries should uphold the principles of the Convention, exercise their rights accordingly, fulfill their obligations and responsibilities with good will and ensure equal and uniform application of the Convention. Matters not regulated by the Convention shall continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law. This is in line with the principles of the international rule of law.

Mr. President,

China is a staunch defender and promoter of international maritime rule of law and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. The Chinese government follows an independent foreign policy of peace. We maintain that maritime disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the provisions of the Convention, and the lawful rights of countries to independently choose a way to peaceful settlement should be respected. The Chinese government believes that the most effective way to peacefully settle maritime disputes is negotiation and consultation between the parties directly involved in the dispute on the basis of respect for historical facts and international law. This is also what the majority of countries did in successfully settling their maritime disputes.

Mr. President,

The ocean is vast. Vaster than any ocean is people's heart. We hope that all countries in the world will continue upholding the principles of inclusiveness and cooperation in face of the new opportunities and challenges, and contribute positively to the maintenance of a just and equitable international maritime order and to the realization of harmonious seas and oceans of lasting peace and common prosperity.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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