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Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly on Item 76: Oceans and the law of the sea

2009/12/06
 

New York, 4 December 2009

Mr. President,

With the progressing of science and technology and the deepening of mankind’s knowledge about the oceans, the interaction between mankind and the oceans has increased both in scope and in depth. Over the past several years, we consistently advocate establishing and maintaining a harmonious marine order by international community, with the aim of promoting long-term sustainable ocean development.

Mr. President,

Upholding the value of a harmonious marine order, the Chinese delegation has taken an active part in this year’s informal consultations on the draft resolutions under this item. Here, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ambassador Valle of Brazil and Ms. Holly of the United States, for their contribution as coordinators in this regard.

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation has taken note of the hard work of the members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Since the UNCLOS took effect, the work of the Commission has attracted more and more attention of international community. To date, the Commission has received 51 submissions and 44 preliminary information. It has been the consistent view of the Chinese government that the division of the rights and interests in oceans areas within and beyond national jurisdiction should be carried out in a scientific and reasonable manner so as to enable coastal States to fully exercise their sovereign rights and jurisdictions over continental shelves that constitute the natural prolongation of their land territories on the one hand, and to prevent the international seabed area which is the common heritage of mankind from possible encroachment on the other hand.

The Commission should fulfill its responsibilities in an equitable manner and strictly abide by the UNCLOS as a whole, so as to ensure that its work is consistent with the letters and spirit of the Convention and could stand the test of science, law and the time. My government believes that the consideration by the Commission of submissions in accordance with Article 76 and Annex II of the Convention should not prejudice the application by States of other parts of the Convention. We have noticed that the draft resolution also confirmed this point.

The work of the Commission and the result thereof bear on the implementation of the Convention as an integrated whole, thus they deserve great attention of States and relevant international organizations. Attention should also be given to the difficulties brought about by complex legal issues to the work of the Commission in order to explore ways to solve these issues. The Chinese government will as always support the work of the Commission.

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation congratulates the International Seabed Authority for its achievements over the past year. Substantive progress has been made in the formulation of regulations on prospecting and exploration for polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich crust. Although the current knowledge of international community about the new seabed resources is still very limited, the finalization of relevant regulations will definitely be helpful in building the order for the development and utilization of new resources, enhancing the dynamic work of the Authority, promoting effective management by the international community of the Area and its resources, as well as ensuring that all countries, including developing countries, could share the interests derived from the Area and its resources. We hope that all parties work actively to seek solutions to outstanding issues and push forward the adoption of the regulation on polymetallic sulphides at the 16th Session of the Authority.

 

Mr. President,

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is one of the judicial organs which, in accordance with the Convention, could be used to solve disputes concerning interpretation and application of the Convention. The Chinese government always values and supports the important role of the Tribunal in peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and maintenance of international marine order.

Mr. President,

As a responsible fishing country, China has made its contribution to the sustainable fisheries development by committing itself to the strengthening of conservation and management measures, as well as participating actively in the work of regional fisheries management organizations. I wish to reiterate that the aim of the international fisheries management should be to regulate fishing activities in order to achieve rational and sustainable utilization of fisheries resources, and at the same time to maintain marine ecological balance and ensure the equitable distribution of fisheries resources among all countries.

Mr. President,

The Chinese government pays great attention to green house gas emission from ships, and has taken note of the work of the International Maritime Organization in this regard. We believe that the key point in addressing this issue lies in upholding the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” enshrined in the UNFCCC and the emphasis need to be focused on increasing the energy efficiency of ships by using advanced technology.

Mr. President,

Safeguarding maritime security and freedom of navigation is in the common interests of the international community and also an important content of the Convention. At present, rampant piracy in some areas has threatened daily maritime trade and the safety and security of ships and sailors. Together with other countries, China has taken vigorous measures to cope with such threats. In our view, effectively combating piracy calls for actions to address both the symptoms and the root causes. While the international community needs to take concerted actions, greater attention should be given to enhancing the capacity building of coastal States to help them eliminate economic, social and other problems that give rise to piracy. In addition, the international community should respect the sovereignty of coastal States and the concerns of States in the region. China will continue to cooperate fully with the international community, including coastal States, in a joint response to the threat of piracy. We will actively participate in this regard and make our contribution to the peace, security and order of the oceans.

Mr. President,

Ocean affairs are sensitive and complex. Issues of the oceans are closely interrelated. Only through increased coordination and cooperation among States and international organizations could it be possible to effectively maintain the integrity of the Convention, strike a reasonable balance among the interests of all parties as well as meet various challenges in the utilization and protection of oceans. We are pleased to note that the draft resolution has explicitly called for the enhancement of coordination and cooperation among States and international organizations.

Mr. President,

The process of human society development has always been closely related to the oceans. In the 21st century characterized by the pursuit of cooperation, win-win result and common development, oceans represent a source of strength and hope for human development and progress. We call on international community to make common efforts in building a harmonious marine so that we could maintain sustainable ocean development and benefit from oceans forever.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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