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Draft law highlights peaceful deep sea exploration

Xinhua, February 25, 2016 Adjust font size:

A draft law on deep sea exploration stresses that the activity should be peaceful and cooperative.

The draft was submitted for a second reading to the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which started Wednesday.

The draft reads that exploration and development should protect the maritime environment and safeguard the common interests of mankind.

The draft is the first on deep sea exploration. The NPC Standing Committee deliberated the draft for the first time in October.

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

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

China has seen remarkable achievements in deep sea exploration technology. Its deep sea manned submersible, Jiaolong, concluded a 120-day expedition in the southwest Indian Ocean in March, collecting data and samples of hydrothermal fluid and collecting data on deep sea biodiversity. Jiaolong reached a depth of 7,062 meters in 2012.

Enterprises involved in deep sea technology research and deep sea equipment will be supported, the draft continues, and exchanges, cooperation and sharing will be encouraged.

The draft also includes articles that regulate deep sea surveys by individuals and organizations, requiring them to submit supporting documents and samples found for public record.

The draft mandates that deep sea contractors must protect any relics or objects found during exploration.

It endows deep sea contractors with exclusive rights to explore and develop certain resources, requiring that they ensure the safety of their staff and protect the maritime environment.