Treaty and Legal Work in Other Fields
I. China and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee
The Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (hereinafter as AALCC) convened it 39th annual session in Cairo from February 19 to 23, 2000. On October 25, the 56th General Assembly reviewed the topic of the Cooperation between the UN and the AALCC. On October 26, the AALCC held a symposium especially on the Immunity of the State and Its Property at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Delegates of the 36 member states of the AALCC and observers of 14 non member states and 10 international organizations attended the 39th annual session. The Chinese Delegation consisted of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation attended the session. As the present Secretary General of the AALCC, Tang Chengyuan (former Deputy Director of the Department of Treaties and Law of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)?s term of office would expire on May 10, the session unanimously elected Ambassador Wafik Z. Kamil of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt as the next Secretary General and expressed its appreciation of Tang Chengyuan?s work in the 6 years of his tenure. The session discussed the establishment of the International Criminal Court, the status and treatment of refugees, the immunity of the state and its property. The session also reviewed the work report of the Commission on International Law, the follow-up actions after the UN Conference on Environment and Development, the Decade of International Law, the protection of immigrants and laborers, sanctions against the third party, international trade law, the WTO and its dispute settling mechanism. During the annual session, a special meeting on electronic commerce was held, discussing the legal issues relating to electronic commerce and its impact on the developing countries.
When the General Assembly was reviewing the topic of the cooperation between the UN and the AALCC, China, India, Egypt and other countries expressed their appreciation and support of the cooperation between the UN and the AALCC and hoped that the cooperation between the AALCC and the UN Commission on International Law and the UN Sixth Committee could be further strengthened. The new Secretary General gave an account of the AALCC?s tentative plan, emphasizing that the work of the AALCC should lay stress on the study of the issues of terrorism, the sale and shipment of prohibited drugs, transnational crimes, human rights, energy and environment. The annual session unanimously adopted Resolution 55/12 on the cooperation between the UN and the AALCC.
The President of the International Court, the Chairman of the 6th Committee of the present General Assembly, the Chairman of the Commission on International Law and the UN Deputy Secretary General in charge of legal affairs were all present at the symposium of the AALCC held on October 26. It discussed as a focal issue the jurisdictional immunity of the state and its property. The President of the Working Group on the Special Topic of the Jurisdictional Immunity of the State of the 6th Committee of the General Assembly gave an account of the discussions of the working group and pointed out that the present difference was shown on: the definition of the state, the standard of judgement for state commercial behavior, the relations between the state-owned enterprise and the state, the mandatory execution of state property and the final form of the special topic of the immunity of the state. He held that the adoption of demonstrative stipulations instead of the form of a treaty would be more helpful in reaching consensus.
II. China and the Antarctic Treaty
As Poland could not host as scheduled the 24th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the 12th special session of the ATCM was held in the Hague, Netherlands from September 11 to 15, 2000. 27 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Party States (ATCP), 11 non consultative party states and 7 NGOs were represented at the session. During the session, informal consultations on the liability annex of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and the 3rd session of the Committee on Antarctic Environmental Protection were respectively held.
The session held consultations mainly on the liability annex , the permanent secretariat and the arrangement for the next session. On the question of the Annex of Responsibility, the delegations discussed the form of the annex, the main body of responsibility, the responsibility regime, the insurance for activities in the Antarctic region and environmental responsibility fund and discussed as a focal issue the draft resolution on the Liability Annex on Environment Emergency Response Actions submitted by the US in 1996. Due to wide divergent views, the session could not reach consensus. On the question of the seating of the secretariat, as Australia withdrew from the race and the UK did not reiterate its opposition, Argentina requested to host the secretariat in Buenos Aires. Therefore, the session in fact initially endorsed the seating of the secretariat in Buenos Aires. Italy and New Zealand respectively tabled draft resolutions on the relevant documents on the establishment of the secretariat. The session decided that the 24th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting would be held in St.Petersburg, Russia in May 2001.
The 3rd session of the Environmental Protection Committee adopted 2 measures, 1 decision and 2 resolutions including the guiding principles for the establishment of Antarctic conservation zones and the resolution on the protection of the Antarctic dogtooth fish.
The Chinese Delegation consisted of officials from the Foreign Ministry and the State Maritime Administration attended the session. It actively participated in all the consultations and negotiations of the session and during the session had extensive contacts with the delegations of the various countries, exchanged views with them on issues of concern and laid a good foundation for the negotiations of the next stage.