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Statement by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Plenary of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly, on Item 75: Oceans and the Law of the Sea


New York, 28 November 2005

Mr. President,

Maintaining and strengthening international order for the oceans and seas and promoting ocean-related activities of mankind contribute towards the realization of the purposes of “peace and security” laid down in the UN Charter, the strengthening of cooperation and friendly relations among all countries based on “fairness and justice”, and global economic growth and social harmony. Endeavors in this regard are in keeping with the trend of our times towards the goal of “peace, cooperation and development”. We hope that the consideration of the agenda item on oceans and the law of the sea at this session of the GA will make a further contribution to the attainment of this goal.

Mr. President, the Chinese delegation believes that the legal regime set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea remains the legal basis for contemporary international order for the oceans. We are pleased to note that the number of state parties to the Convention has increased to 149, signaling the continuous growth of the universality of the Convention. We hope to see more states accede to the Convention.

At present, in international ocean affairs, three issues stand out: first, further implementation of provisions of the Convention pertaining to the protection and conservation of marine environment, research in marine science, and the development and transfer of marine technologies; second, building up the capacity of developing countries so as to enable them to utilize more effectively marine resources and make greater contributions to international ocean affairs; third, full use of existing relevant international organizations and mechanisms, and strengthening cooperation and coordination among them.

Issues concerning the oceans are closely interlinked and need to be addressed in an integrated and holistic manner. The United Nations is the most appropriate and authoritative forum for dealing with these issues, which are of common concern for all countries. We support the “open-ended informal consultative process on oceans and the law of the sea” (ICP) set up by GA resolution 54/33 and extended by resolution 57/141. In the past six years, this process has served as an important forum where all states, including non-parties to the Convention, discuss issues about oceans and the law of the sea and coordinate their positions. It has t