China on Wednesday called for efforts to promote the rule of law on the oceans and seas and maintain a fair and reasonable maritime order.
Wu Haitao, the deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations, made the statement as he was taking the floor at the UN General Assembly on the topic of oceans and the law of the sea.
With the concerted efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, the situation in the South China Sea is moving toward a positive direction as the issue is returning to the right path of negotiated discussion, Wu said.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has set down balanced provisions regarding the rights and obligations of states parties in the peaceful use and conservation of the oceans and seas, Wu said. He added that all parties must interpret and apply the convention and its dispute settlement mechanism with good will and in an accurate and comprehensive manner.
Right now, the attention of the international community is focused on the negotiations on an international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, he noted.
"The new agreement must not compromise the rights of navigation, scientific research, fishing and mining that countries enjoy under the convention," he said.
"Parties should engage in thorough exchanges and consultations during the negotiations, fully consider the legitimate need of countries, developing countries in particular, to use marine biological resources, and advance the negotiating process steadily. It is undesirable to seek a result in haste," he said.
China appreciates the positive contributions by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to the maintenance of the balance between the legitimate rights and interests of coastal states on the one hand and the overall interests of the international community on the other, and to the promotion of the stability of the international maritime order, he said.
Meanwhile, the senior Chinese diplomat also called for efforts to strengthen international cooperation to realize the sustainable development of the oceans and seas.
China has put forward the initiatives of developing a "blue economy" and building "the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," which are believed to greatly promote international cooperation on maritime affairs, he said.
"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets a higher bar for us in the protection and sustainable use of the oceans and seas," he said.
"We must foster the awareness of a community of shared future for mankind, engage in close cooperation, and join hands in tackling various challenges related to the oceans and seas," he said.