|Statement by Ambassador LIU Jieyi at the Security Council Debate on Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea in the Gulf of Guinea|
(Photo by Li Muzi, Xinhua News Agency)
China thanks Angola and Senegal for joining us in the organization of this open debate. I also thank Assistant Secretary-General Zerihoun for his briefing.
As an important international shipping route and energy base, the Gulf of Guinea is a lifeline for the coastal States of the region. Recent years have seen frequent pirate attacks and armed robbery throughout the territorial waters of the Gulf of Guinea. These attacks are characterized by their brutality and links to terrorism organizations, illegal armed groups and criminal gangs. Such activities undermine the environment for the economic and social development of the African countries concerned, in addition to posing a grave threat to maritime passage for international trade, as well as for regional peace and security. Safeguarding safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea is an essential part of the efforts to improve the safety and security of global connectivity. That constitutes an important guarantee for the development and prosperity of coastal and regional countries; it is a common responsibility that must be shared by the entire international community.
Standing at the forefront of the fight against piracy, the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea have made tremendous efforts to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea. China expresses its great appreciation in that regard. China supports the African countries concerned in their efforts to enhance coordination, formulate a common strategy for maritime security, create a regional counter-piracy mechanism and conduct joint patrols at sea. We call upon the international community to pay attention to the difficulties faced by Gulf of Guinea coastal States, including a lack of financial resources, infrastructure and equipment, and to implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and assist the countries of the region to build up their capacity to fight piracy. Efforts should be focused on the four following aspects.
Firstly, on the basis of respect for the leadership of the Gulf of Guinea coastal countries, assistance should be provided to the countries concerned to enhance their capacity-building on counter-piracy efforts. Other countries should take an active part in the construction, operation and maintenance of their ports, among other infrastructure, in order that they can provide better service to ships in the areas of docking, supplies and maintenance, as well as improve logistical support. It is also necessary to help them to strengthen training for their maritime security forces and to provide them with the necessary equipment, so as to improve their operational capacity in joint law enforcement and monitoring.
Secondly, regional and subregional organizations should have a greater role, and a long-term mechanism should be put in place at the regional level. The international community should support regional and subregional organizations - such as the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission - in their efforts to comprehensively implement the integrated strategy to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea by increasing financial and technical inputs, enhancing institution-building in the fight against piracy and ensuring the full, effective and sustainable operation of the relevant mechanisms. China looks forward to a positive outcome to the next AU Summit of Heads of State and Government on Maritime Security,Safety and Development in Africa, which will be held in October, Lome, Togo, and will further advance the regional and subregional endeavour on counter-piracy.
Thirdly, resources should be mobilized to strengthen international cooperation on counter-piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. International organizations, including the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), should provide more support to coastal countries. The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa should accord greater importance to the needs of the countries concerned and provide regular briefings to the Security Council on the latest developments. We call upon countries to continue their contributions to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund, while drawing on the success achieved. On the basis of full consultation with the coastal States, the international community could explore the possibility of joint law enforcement as a new way to intensify counter-piracy efforts.
Fourthly, development assistance to coastal States should be scaled up. The international community should increase assistance to the coastal States in the light of their economic and social development plans, help them to eradicate poverty, speed up economic and social development and improve the situation of youth employment. Cooperation on counter-terrorism should be strengthened. Transnational organized crime should be combated effectively. The links that connect pirates with terrorist organizations and illegal armed groups should be severed, and channels for drug trafficking and financing should be blocked. Greater efforts should be made to ensure legal accountability.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the members of the Security Council, presidential statement S/PRST/2016/4, on the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, was adopted earlier during this meeting. That is a positive response to the request of the coastal and regional States for enhanced international cooperation in the fight against piracy. It crystallizes international consensus on the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and proposes new ideas on joint responses to tackle the problem. That will strongly enhance and deepen international cooperation against piracy.
China and Africa make up a community of common destiny and interests, sharing will and woe and seeking a win-win outcome. Guided by the principle of sincerity, political results, affinity and good faith and the right approach to justice and interests, China has taken an active part in Africa's efforts to strengthen capacity-building for the maintenance of peace and security. China has actively participated in international cooperation against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and has provided assistance to the coastal States for capacity-building in the area of infrastructure. China's naval escort fleet has been invited to participate in join counter-piracy drills with the navies of Nigeria and Cameroon respectively. China has provided the coastal States with material and equipment for counter-piracy purposes. Chinese enterprises have been active in building ports in the coastal States of Nigeria, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire. They will provide solid support for the maritime operations of the regional States. China will continue to implement the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, cooperate with African countries for the maintenance of security in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, with a view to creating an enabling security environment for Africa's economic and social development, including supporting African countries in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and common prosperity.