Statement of H.E. Mr. Dong Xiaojun, Head of the Chinese delegation, under the agenda item 9 “Report of the Secretary-General of the Authority”
(July 21, 2015, Kingston)
At the outset, the Chinese Delegation would like to congratulate you on your election as president of the Assembly this session. We believe that under your able leadership, this Assembly will be fully successful. We would also like to thank the government and people of Jamaica for their valuable assistance and tremendous support for work of the Authority. We would wish to take this opportunity to welcome Palestine’s joining the family of the Authority as well as the furthering strengthening of the universality of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Chinese Delegation listened attentively to the Secretary General’s annual report. The Secretary General’s report accurately grasps the development of the current international seabed situation and current focus of work of the Authority. The Chinese Delegation is very satisfied with the report and expresses appreciation to the Authority and the Secretariat for a large amount of productive work and expects that under the Secretary General’s leadership and with joint efforts by all member states, the Authority will achieve new progress in its work.
The first batch of pollymetallic nodules exploration contracts would come to its 15th year in 2016. However, at present, the prospect of commercial exploitation of international seabed resources is not very clear. Prices are low on international metals markets, and the necessary preparation before exploitation will be difficult to be completed by 2016. Since contractors are going to apply for contract extensions, the issue of formulating procedures and criteria in relation to the extension of contracts has become even more urgent. The Chinese Delegation expresses high appreciation to the Legal and Technical Commission and Secretariat of the Authority for handling this issue as an issue of the highest priority and producing results. We believe that the Criteria and Procedures proposed by the LTC are in line with the Convention and 1994 Implementation Agreement, rather successfully balancing the interests of contractors and other parties in the international community. We hope that all sides will fully demonstrate the spirit of cooperation and adopt the relevant criteria and procedures in this session.
We follow closely the ongoing studies and development of Exploitation Regulations by the ISA. Formulating the Regulations is not only an important responsibility entrusted to the Authority by the Convention, but also an important guarantee for realizing the common interests of all humanity through activities in the Area. Compared with the formulation of the Exploration Regulations, this is a more complex and arduous undertaking. We would like to commend the LTC and the Secretariat for their huge efforts towards this assignment. After having carefully perused the Draft Framework and the draft Payment Mechanism prepared by the Legal and Technical Commission and the Secretariat, especially the newest revised draft framework and revised action plan following the receipt of stakeholder responses, we believe the related drafts are most constructive, and have laid a very good foundation for formulating the regulation. In the mean time, it is the view of the Chinese delegation that in formulating the Exploitation Regulations, due account should be taken of the related provisions in the Convention and the Implementation Agreement, so as to align new regulations with the existing rules. In terms of their contents, the Exploitation Regulations should strike a balance between resources utilization and environment protection, as well as the interests of developers and the collective interests of the international community. Formulating the Regulations should keep abreast of the industrial and technological developments, proceed in an incremental manner, garner the widest possible consensus and be subject to cautious decision-making. In a constructive spirit, China stands ready to continue to actively take part in the related work.
Deep sea environment protection, as an important area of international seabed work, is attracting ever more attention from the international community and the UN General Assembly has already launched a process to negotiating an international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Given the important responsibilities mandated to the Authority by the Convention for protecting marine environment, we hope the Authority continues to play an important or even central role in the UNGA process. Proceeding from its consistent priority attached to environment protection, China actively supports the Authority in strengthening environmental protection on sound scientific basis and in compliance with the international law, such as implementing the Environmental Management Plan for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone and working on formulating similar plans for other areas.
China has always actively participated in and supported ISA’s work and maintained a good working relationship with ISA. In September last year, the National People’s Congress of China sent its representatives to visit ISA to conduct research on legislative issues of sponsoring states. In March this year, the Secretary-General of ISA visited China at its invitation and had a fruitful exchange of views on the enhancement of cooperation between ISBA and China.
We also encourage and fully support contractors sponsored by China to strengthen cooperation with ISA. To support and keep up with the standardization strategy of ISA’s data management, COMRA will hold a seminar on Deep-sea Mollusca and Arthropods at Hongkong University of Science and Technology from 8 to 21 of November this year, in cooperation with ISA. Experts in related fields from various countries are welcome to attend.
How to participate in international seabed affairs in an effective and comprehensive manner is a common challenge facing many developing countries. Being the biggest developing country, China has provided support to the extent possible in this regard. Over the years, the Chinese government has continuously made donations to the Voluntary Trust Fund of ISA, and earlier this month, has once again made a pledge to of $20,000 to finance the attendance of the members of developing countries at meetings of LTC and the Finance Committee. The contractors sponsored by China have also fulfilled their training obligations in earnest and provided training opportunities to the developing countries in support of their capacity building. Since the beginning of this year, two trainees from developing countries have received the South West Indian Ridge at-sea training. At present, 6 trainees from developing countries are attending the 4-week long 10th program at Marco Polo-Zheng He Academy in Xiamen and Shanghai respectively.
The principle of “common heritage of mankind” is in keeping with the overall interest of the international community,and well-being of international seabed is our common pursuit. . China is ready to work together with all other States in our unremitting efforts to achieve win-win cooperation and mutual development in activities in the international seabed.
Thank you, Mr. President.