Chinese vice premier calls for better protection of Antarctica

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-23 22:55:40|Editor: An
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Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli addresses the opening ceremony of the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Beijing, capital of China, May 23, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday called on the international community to better protect Antarctica and strike a balance between protection and utilization.

Zhang made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the XL Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Beijing.

"It is in line with the interests of all humanity and our commitment to our offspring to have an Antarctica of peaceful, stable, green and sustainable development," said Zhang.

He proposed exploring Antarctica in a peaceful way with political mutual trust and shared responsibility.

Countries should abide by the Antarctic Treaty and give full play to the decision-making and coordination role of the ATCM, he said.

Zhang encouraged expansion of the areas of Antarctic cooperation via consultation on the basis of equality.

He also called on countries to consolidate protection and development of Antarctica with a balance between protection and utilization.

China is an important participant in Antarctic governance, a robust promoter of Antarctic scientific exploration, and an active supporter of Antarctic environmental protection, he said.

China attaches great importance to Antarctic development and is willing to work with the international community to improve the understanding of the Antarctic and protect and utilize the continent, he said.

The ATCM is an annual decision-making mechanism established under the the Antarctic Treaty. China acceded to the Antarctic Treaty in 1983 and became a consultative member two years later.

This is the first time China has hosted the meeting. Some 400 delegates from 44 countries and 10 international organizations are attending the meeting.

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KEY WORDS: Zhang Gaoli