China – Key statements

Date: 11 November 2022

March 2024


  • China emphasized the importance of preserving the mandate of the ISA in the face of potential threats from the expansion of the rights of other international organizations, such as OSPAR. 
  • China stressed the need for cooperation and coordination with other organizations to avoid undermining the mandate of the iSA. 
  • China discussed the potential consequences of failing to protect the ISA’s mandate and the need for continued efforts to ensure its preservation. 
  • China requests that Secretariat to draft a framework for coordination with OSPAR.


  • China supports the protection of heritage – including tangible and intangible. However, China believes that only tangible cultural heritage should be included in the regulations.


  • China suggests paragraph 5 deletion on 3rd party or whistleblower complaints.
  • China emphasized that the environmental compensation fund should only cover damage caused by illegal acts, not legal acts of the contractor. 
  • The fund should be established through contributions of contractors and other stakeholders, not just contractors. 
  • China highlighted its concerns that an environmental compensation fund through the Convention may not be able to cover environmental damage.


  • China states there is no proof between exploitation activities and climate change and the commission has no provision in this regard. 
  • China states in the convention there is no provision of cultural rights and interests, and it’s hard to make the connection.
  • China believes that Regulation 15 should align with Regulation 13, with the LTC recommending approval if all requirements are met


  • China does not see consensus on a compliance committee. 
  • China emphasized the right to peaceful protest, but notes excesses can void peaceful status. 
  • China stressed that the Authority must protect human life. 
  • China believes a narrow safety zone will protect protesters and contractors’ rights while ensuring safety at sea.


  • China believes that the LTC should review applications. 


  • China believes the new issue of the environmental cost of deep seabed mining requires further study but should not impede our attention and studies. 
  • China questions if we need to incorporate the environmental costs of deep seabed mining right now and that States can amend later.
  • The delegation continued to emphasize the importance of balancing deep sea exploitation and environmental protected


  • China needs to clearly define the term ‘profits’
  • “At this stage, it would be difficult to assess the definition of profits”. China believes the issue should be studied further and discussed.
  • China believes disclosing relevant revenue by deep-sea mining contractors has no legal basis.


  • China believes that the construction of the consolidated text is a consensus of the views of the 28th session
  • “The formulation of exploitation regulations is in the common interest of humankind. “
  • China supports the use of informal-informals
  • “Working towards the early adoption of regulations.”
  • “Current consolidated text is a good basis for consultation.” 
  • ​​China supports that there needs to be clear identification of comments from various parties in the single text including retaining the brackets This is not consistent in various groups. The single text gave us a chance to use a unified way to advance our negotiations
  • China believes that this consolidated process is more open and transparent than other international systems 
  • China stated “we are far from reaching a net consensus.”

November 2023


  • China called for a consolidated text. 


  • The delegation noted that deep sea exploitation is the common heritage of mankind, but when it comes to many other legislations, they also concern the interests of mankind as a whole but that doesn’t mean they give stakeholders a high degree of influence.
  • “To our mind: legislation is a process driven by member states.”


  • China supports Mexico in their views on the deleting the requirement for independent expert assessment.


  • China believes that underwater cultural heritage should not be included in the definition of the marine environment.
  • “In the draft regulations we should not mention the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.”
  • Draft regulation 49: As for underwater noise – China noted the delegation has some thoughts on whether it can be considered ocean pollution under the Convention. “We need a further study on this matter.”

July 2023


  • The delegation stated that “if relevant parties try to stop the adoption, with the possibility of the entire assembly facing failure, then all delegates understand the cost of failure.”
  • Stated that next year’s assembly agenda should not have to be adopted together with supplementary items
  • The delegation proposed that before the next session, for example 60 days before the next session of the Assembly, there could be a more flexible intersessional working method to have some preliminary or advanced discussions on the agenda items concerned so as to help us with a more successful session next year.


  • China reiterated its opposition to the adoption of the agenda item establishing a general policy by the Assembly related to the consultation of the marine environment under the two year rule, proposed by Chile, Costa Rica, France, Palau, and Vanuatu. China states that this discussion is under the remit of the Council and not the Assembly.


  • China called on parties to work on the basis of actively pushing ahead with the negotiations on the regulations by continuing to fully leverage the council as a platform. The delegation also stated that they believe the Secretariat should further beef up its support for the development of the exploitation regulations.


  • China does not support the inclusion of agenda item establishing a general policy by the Assembly related to the consultation of the marine environment under the two year rule, proposed by Chile, Costa Rica, France, Palau, and Vanuatu


  • China  requested the removal of the provision on the LTC seeking advice from competent independent experts during the approval process of a Plan of Work. 


  • China was opposed to the general public being notified of an Environmental Plan and of an independent review. 


  • China believes that contractors who are delayed in submission of reports should receive a written warning rather than a financial penalty. 


  • China stated that “it is difficult to deny that contractors can submit applications and this we must process and come up with recommendations.”
  • The delegation stated that Nauru say deep-sea resources are critical to green development but others note there is insufficient evidence.


  • China endorses the view by the African Group. Peer review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should not be requisite requirement.
  • Test mining may be regarded as  a condition for commencement of formal commercial production but it should not become a condition for the application for an exploitation contract.

March 2023


  • The delegation stated that understanding of ocean environment might be accomplished through exploration and prospecting or test mining
  • China stated that the principle of common heritage of mankind is the core of the deep seabed regime which should be turned into a reality based on development and exploitation


  • On serious harm, China called to retain the word “serious” stating that the threshold should be based on how serious the harms are (other State and observers, including the DSCC have stated that ‘serious’ is a concerning threshold for harm as in line with UNCLOS Article 145)


  • Questioned whether external experts where really necessary, or whether they create extra-burdens.

October/November 2022


  • China stated that the contractors will be the direct provider of environmental baseline information and contractors participation is is a must


  • Advocated to ensure a reasonable balance between exploitation of resources in the Area and the protection of the marine environment.
  • This was opposed by Costa Rica, Chile, New Zealand, the UK, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands and the paragraph was not amended.

July/August 2022


  • Called to improve ISA regime and that the development of regulations is a priority. The delegation added that regulations need to balance exploitation and protection based on scientific facts and evidence, strengthen and improve regime 
  • China also called for the promotion of the sustainable development of the seabed, which cannot be achieved without the progress of science, orderly use of resources, sharing of benefits, collaboration and solidarity.


  • Stated that discussing “EPC operationalization now is a little premature.”
Posted on Categories Country PositionsTags