China sets up HK office to prepare for International Mediation Centre

Paul Lam (left), Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong, and Fang Jianming (right), deputy commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong, at the signing ceremony

China will set up an office in Hong Kong next year to prepare for the establishment of an International Mediation Centre, which will conduct negotiations on international conventions among various countries.

The central government signed an arrangement with the Hong Kong government, specifying the establishment and status of the preparatory office, privileges and immunities and relevant people.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there was no international intergovernmental organisation specialising in mediation.

Existing organisations mainly resolve international disputes through litigation and arbitration, and generally only use mediation as an auxiliary or preliminary measure, failing to meet the growing demand for mediation in the international community, the ministry statement said.

To respond to the development of international mediation and its needs, China and countries with similar philosophies drafted and agreed on a joint declaration to initiate the International Mediation Centre, which will specialise in providing mediation services and offer friendly, flexible, economical and convenient solutions on various international disputes, said the statement.

But the statement did not name the countries involved in the International Mediation Centre.