Chinese elected to Law of Sea tribunal

(China Daily)Updated : 2020-08-27

The election of a Chinese diplomat as a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea once again shows that certain countries' attempts to contain and suppress the Chinese contender in the election were unpopular and futile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Aug 25.

Duan Jielong, China's ambassador to Hungary, was among the six people elected on Aug 24 at the New York headquarters of the United Nations by the States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The other five were David J.Attard, of Malta; Ida Caracciolo, of Italy; Maria Teresa Infante Caffi, of Chile; Maurice Kengne Kamga, of Cameroon; and Markiyan Kulyk, of Ukraine.

"The Chinese contender was elected with 149 votes in the first round of voting and will start a nine-year term on Oct 1 to Sept 30,2029. I'd like to take this opportunity to extend sincere thanks for the States Parties' support for the Chinese contender," Zhao told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

He also expressed congratulations to the other five elected members.

Zhao said that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an important international judicial body set up according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and China always highly values and supports its work.

The wide majority support for Duan shows the international community's recognition of the Chinese contender and affirmation of China's contribution to the work of the tribunal over more than 20 years, the spokesman said. It also shows global society's determination to uphold multilateralism and the international rule of law.

"We believe that the elected judges will fairly perform their duties and make due contributions to the (the tribunal) and for peaceful settlement of disputes on the sea," Zhao said.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has 21 judges with nine-year terms. A third of the members are replaced every three years.

Since it was established in 1996, three Chinese have served as judges: Zhao Lihai (1996-2000), Xu Guangjian (2001-07) and Gao Zhiguo (2008-20).