China adopts first law on deep seafloor exploration

Beijing, Feb 26 (IANS) China’s top legislature on Friday passed the country’s first law on deep seafloor resource exploration to protect the maritime environment and ensure sustainable exploitation.

The legislation was adopted after a second reading at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which started on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The government encourages and supports international cooperation on exploration, exploitation and surveys of deep seafloor resources, in addition to boosting joint efforts on environmental protection, scientific research and educational training, according to the legislation.

Exploration and development should be peaceful and cooperative, in addition to protecting the maritime environment and safeguarding the common interests of mankind, it stipulates.

China is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that international seabeds and their resources are the common property of mankind.

The legislation, which will come into force on May 1, also mandates the government to formulate plans and roll out measures to promote scientific and technological research and surveys of resources.

According to the law, the nation will protect the rightful interests of Chinese citizens and organisations in their search for resources and in deep sea surveys.

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