当前，国际海底活动正处在勘探和开发准备并行的关键时期。一方面，越来越多的国家和实体申请勘探矿区，迄今海管局已核准了 28 项勘探工作计划，首批多金属结核勘探合同延期申请获得核准。另一方面，尽管各方都在为开发预作准备，但受全球经济形势影响，国际金属市场持续低迷，短期内实现深海资源商业开发的可能性较小。国际海底事业在相当一段时期内仍将以勘探活动为主。
中国代表团高兴地注意到，理事会日前核准了包括中国大洋协会在内的全部 6 项勘探合同延期申请，这对于坚定承包者的信心，保持国际海底事业向前发展的势头和动力具有重要意义。中方对上述 6 家承包者表示祝贺，并承诺将继续严格履行担保国责任，敦促中国大洋协会在合同延续期间忠实履行相关责任和义务。
海管局于去年首次启动了国际海底制度定期审查程序。这既是对海管局过去 20 多年来工作的综合盘点，也关系到海管局未来的发展方向。中方感谢审查委员会提交的临时报告，赞赏他们的辛勤工作。
中国是国际海底事务的积极参与者和建设者，一贯支持海管局的工作。今年 2 月，中国全国人大常委会通过了《深海海底区域资源勘探开发法》，全面规范了中国自然人、法人或其他组织在国际海底区域从事勘探和开发活动的权利义务。该法的出台有助于中国更好地履行担保国责任。有关法律已向海管局提交备案。
今年 5 月，中国在南京举办了第五届大陆架和“区域”问题国际研讨会，海管局秘书长和副秘书长以及部分法技委委员应邀出席会议。系列研讨会为促进各方加深对“区域”相关法律和科学问题的认识发挥了积极作用。
作为发展中国家，中国在参与国际海底事务的同时，也积极为其他发展中国家参与国际海底事务提供支持。多年来，中国持续向海管局自愿信托基金捐款。今年 5 月，中国再次向该基金捐款两万美元，以资助发展中国家委员出席法技委和财委会议。
由中国担保的勘探矿区承包者大洋协会认真履行承包者义务，积极为发展中国家人员提供培训机会。2014 年至2015 年底，受大洋协会委托，中国国家海洋局第二海洋研究所对来自喀麦隆、阿根廷、泰国、基里巴斯、孟加拉国、格鲁吉亚等国的 6 名学员进行了多金属硫化物海上勘探技能培训和理论课程培训，取得良好效果。
Statement by Ambassador Niu Qingbao,
Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China
At the 22nd Session of the International Seabed Authority
Kingston, July 19th, 2016
The Chinese delegation wishes to express its condolences and sympathy to France, Germany and Cameroon for the terrorist attacks they suffered. China has all along firmly opposed and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We call upon all countries to unite in a common fight against terrorism.
At the outset, the Chinese delegation wishes to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of this session of the Assembly. We will, as always, support the work of the President and the bureau. We are convinced that under your able guidance, the current session will be crowned with success. We would also like to thank the government and people of Jamaica for their effective assistance and valuable support.
The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his annual report. We express overall satisfaction with what we find in the report. We apprecite the substantial and effective work performed by ISA and its Secretariat. We look forward to further progress in the work of the Authority with the joint effort of all the parties.
International seabed activities are now in a crucial period with exploration and preparation for exploitation proceeding in parallel. On the one hand, more and more states and entities have submitted applications for the exploration for possible mining areas. So far, the Authority has approved 28 plans of work for exploration. And the first batch of applications for extension of contracts for exploration for poly-metallic nodules have been approved. On the other hand, while efforts are being made by all the parties to prepare for exploitation, the continuing slump of the international metals market as a result of the global economic situation means that the possibility of realizing commercial exploitation of deep-sea resources in the near future is quite small. Exploration will continue to be the mainstay of international seabed activities for a considerable period of time to come.
The Chinese delegation is pleased to note that a couple of days ago, the Council approved all six applications for extension of exploration contracts, including the one submitted by COMRA. This is of great significance for bolstering the confidence of the contractors and keeping the forward-going momentum and dynamism of the international seabed undertaking. China congratulates the six contractors and commits itself to continuing to fulfill to the letter its responsibilities as a sponsoring state and urging COMRA to honour faithfully its relevant duties and obligations during the contract extension period.
China pays great attention to the formulation of regulations on exploitation under way in the Authority. The exploitation regulations will provide a firm guarantee for realizing the principle of “the common heritage of mankind”. The related study and formulation involve many fields, including mining, finance, environmental protection and laws, and represent a complex and difficult undertaking which cannot be accomplished overnight or in great haste. The proposed regulations on exploitation should be in keeping with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), dovetail with the regulations on exploration that the Authority has formulated, and take into full consideration the overall interests of the international community and those of the overwhelming majority of the countries, in particular the developing countries. The related criteria should be based on facts and science while a balance should be struck between resource exploitation and environmental protection. We are ready to continue our active participation in this work in a constructive spirit.
Last year, ISA launched its first periodic review of the international seabed regime. This exercise not only was a comprehensive stocktaking of the work of the Authority for more than 20 years, it also has a bearing on the future direction of the Authority’s development. China thanks the Review Committee for submitting the interim report and appreciates its hard work.
China is of the view that since its founding, the Authority has made remarkable progress in rule-setting and institution-building, approving site applications, increasing knowledge and awareness of the deep sea and protecting the environment. This fully proves the overall effectiveness of the existing seabed regime whose basic framework should not be shaken by the review. Based on the premise of the imminent “advent of commercial seabed mining”, the interim report recommends setting up new organs such as an Economic Planning Commission and an Inspectorate. Such recommendations show not only over-optimism about the current situation with respect to the international seabed, but also the report’s inconsistency with the principle of evolution in the establishment of organs under the Implementing Agreement of UNCLOS. China advocates objectivity in viewing the prospects of seabed exploitation and caution in setting up new organs to avoid creating unnecessary burden for the States Parties. In addition, the periodic review should look at the operation of the international seabed regime. The call for clarification of “the definition of developing States” has evidently overstepped the terms of reference of the review and should not form part of the recommendations of the report.
The high seas are closely linked with activities in the Area. At present, the UN General Assembly has started preparation of an international instrument concerning the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. China notes with satisfaction that the International Seabed Authority has actively participated in the process and hopes to see it continue to play an important role in it.
As an active participant in and contributor to efforts concerning international seabed affairs, China always supports the International Seabed Authority in its work. Last February, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China adopted the Law on the Exploration for and Exploitation of Resources in the Deep Seabed Area, which comprehensively stipulates the rights and obligations for Chinese natural and legal persons or other organizations in their exploration and exploitation activities in the international seabed area. The promulgation of this law will help China better fulfill its responsibilities as a sponsoring state. This law has been filed with the International Seabed Authority for the record.
Last May, China held in Nanjing the Fifth International Symposium on the Continental Shelf and the Area. The Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General of ISA and a number of the members of the Legal and Technical Commission attended the symposium at our invitation. The symposium series have played a positive role in facilitating a deeper understanding by all parties about the legal and scientific issues associated with the Area.
While engaged in international seabed affairs, China, as a developing country, actively supports other developing countries in their participation in international seabed affairs. For many years, China has consistently made contributions to ISA’s Voluntary Trust Fund, China made another contribution of $20,000 to the Fund last May in order to support the participation by members from developing countries in meetings of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee.
COMRA, which is sponsored by China as a contractor for exploration in the Area, is diligently fulfilling its obligations as a contractor by actively offering training opportunities to trainees from other developing countries. From 2014 to the end of 2015, the Second Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration was entrusted by COMRA to provide training in skills for at-sea exploration for polymetallic sulphides as well as theory courses to 6 trainees from Cameroon, Argentina, Thailand, Kiribati, Bangladesh and Georgia, with good results.
The international seabed is a new frontier for mankind. China is willing to work with all the other parties in continuing to follow the principle of “the common heritage of mankind” and make greater contributions to realizing the sustainable development of international seabed resources and promoting the common interests of mankind.
Thank you, Mr. President.