China eyes resources in int’l seabed areas

China is likely to enact its first law on international seabed exploration in the next five years, according to a proposal adopted by the top legislature on Friday.

The central government’s maritime and land resources authorities found that it is “quite necessary” to work on a law on the exploration, development and management of deep sea resources, said a report from the Environment and Resources Protection Committee (ERPC) of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

The absence of such a domestic law puts China at a disadvantage in the exploration of international seabed areas and makes it inconvenient for the country to play a greater role within relevant international organizations and in the creation of new rules of international law, said the report, which was adopted during Friday’s closing session of a bimonthly meeting of the NPC Standing Committee.

In this sense, the ERPC suggested adding the creation of such a law into the legislative work plan for the next five years.

International seabed areas refer to seabeds, the ocean floor and subsoil below the high seas, or waters beyond the limits of any national jurisdiction.

Such areas are believed to be rich in strategic resources such as minerals, natural gas hydrates and biological resources.

China has pledged to enhance its capacity for exploiting marine resources, develop the marine economy and protect the marine ecology, according to a report adopted at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month.

Moreover, China will also resolutely safeguard maritime rights and interests and build itself into a maritime power, it added.


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