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Remarks by State Councilor Yang Jiechi At Welcome Dinner of the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting

2017-05-26

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

 

Good evening! I am delighted to be with you on the occasion of the opening of the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, an occasion for me to state China's position on Antarctic cooperation and renew our friendship. This is the first time for China to host the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which is attended by parties involved in the Antarctic affairs from all over the world. On behalf of the Chinese government and in my own name, I would like to extend sincere welcome to you and warm congratulations on the opening of the meeting.

 

Thirty-four years ago, China acceded to the Antarctic Treaty, becoming a member of the big Antarctic family. Since then, China has become increasingly involved in Antarctic affairs. We have actively participated in and promoted Antarctic governance. We are proud of playing our role. At the same time, we are also keenly aware of our heavy responsibilities and the long and arduous task ahead.

 

One week ago here in Beijing, we held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Leaders and senior officials of many countries represented here today attended the forum. Focusing on cooperation and development, the forum champions inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation, thus injecting vitality into global and regional cooperation. Cooperation became a key word frequently mentioned by forum participants. Similarly, a review of the history of the Antarctic Treaty system shows that cooperation has underpinned the evolving process of Antarctic governance.

 

Antarctica is a land of exploring the unknown, where cooperation has enabled mankind to conduct scientific research. Since the discovery of Antarctica in the 18th century, mankind has never stopped their efforts to explore this continent. With wisdom and courage, the pioneer explorers conducted detailed survey of Antarctica, thus presenting a clear picture of this vast land to the world, and paving the way for its scientific research. Fifty-eight years ago, a good atmosphere of international cooperation ensured the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, ushering in a new era of cooperation on Antarctic governance. Under the regulation and safeguards of the Antarctic Treaty, many countries have actively carried out international cooperation on Antarctic research, gradually unveiling the mystery of Antarctica. Thanks to these cooperation efforts, the fascination and value of Antarctica is increasingly appreciated by mankind.

 

Antarctica is a land of mutual assistance where cooperation has fostered international friendship. The harsh natural conditions of Antarctica present a daunting challenge to research. But as a Chinese saying goes, just as pines and cypress withstand cold winter, true friendship can withstand the test of hardship. If a research vessel is stuck in ice in Antarctica, all research teams nearby will stop their work and rush to its rescue. If a scientific expedition team from one country is in danger, researchers from other countries will definitely come to its assistance, joining a race against time to save lives. As you may remember, at the end of 2013, countries including China, Australia, France and the United States were all involved in the rescue of the vessel Akademik Shokalskiy, which has become a good example of rescue cooperation in Antarctica. Such friendship embodied in mutual assistance has the power to melt ice and warm people's hearts.

 

Antarctica is a land full of hope where we can achieve a lot more through cooperation. Over the past 58 years, guided by the vision of cooperation, the big Antarctic family has kept growing in size and strength. There is increasing consensus among the parties involved. The Antarctic Treaty system has expanded steadily, and the Antarctic governance has been enhanced. The Antarctic governance is a noble cause that benefits mankind. Protecting this pure land through cooperation and with vision and deliver a bright future for Antarctica: this is the shared aspiration, responsibility and mission of all of us involved in Antarctic affairs. We are confident that guided by the spirit of inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation and working together, we can make Antarctica a more promising land and Antarctic cooperation a pace-setter in global governance.

 

Now please join me in a toast,

To an even brighter future of Antarctica,

To the success of the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, and

To the health of all the distinguished guests and your families.

Cheers!

 

( Beijing, 23 May 2017 )