Statement of H.E. Ambassador Hu Xiaodi, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 7th Annual Conference of the States Parties to the Amended Landmine Protocol
(23 November 2005, Geneva)
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of this conference. I am convinced that, with your outstanding diplomatic skills and experience, you will surely steer the conference to a success. My delegation will fully support your work.
The Amended Landmine Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons plays a special and important role in both international arms control and humanitarian fields.
As far as its authority is concerned, the Protocol, covering both anti-personnel landmines (APL) and mines other than anti-personnel mines, constitutes a comprehensive legal instrument on landmines. Its provisions and measures, which were discussed fully and adopted by consensus, reflect the common understanding of States Parties.
As far as its universality is concerned, the Protocol has been widely recognized by the international community. All major landmine producers and users have ratified this Protocol.
As far as its applicability is concerned, the Protocol strikes a proper balance between the humanitarian concerns and the legitimate military need of sovereign states. It has provided a feasible legal framework for addressing the landmine issue and can be used for good reference for handling similar issues in the future.
We are pleased to note that, since the entry-into-force of the Protocol, the States Parties have achieved great progress in implementing the Protocol. It has been proved that the Protocol has been playing an irreplaceable role in preventing and reducing civilian casualties caused by landmines. However, in many countries the danger caused by landmine problems are yet to be eradicated. States Parties should make further efforts in promoting a stronger role of the Protocol by improving its implementation and promoting its universality.
Since the ratification of the Amended Landmine Protocol in 1998, China has been earnestly fulfilling its obligations under the Protocol and making its own contributions to resolving the landmine issue. Based on the work carried out in previous years, China has achieved further progress in various aspects of the implementation work.
First, to further strengthen public awareness and education campaigns concerning the implementation of the Protocol. To promote the awareness of the content and implementation of the Protocol among military officers and soldiers, the Chinese military authorities have adopted new measures by producing multimedia teaching materials and films about implementation of the Protocol for the study of the military forces to ensure the strict implementation of the Protocol in military training and exercises.
Second, to make renewed efforts to fulfill the technical requirements of the Protocol concerning landmines and relevant equipment. This year, the Chinese military authorities have accomplished a comprehensive survey of APLs both stockpiled and currently in service. The destruction of old or obsolete APLs that do not meet the requirements of the Protocol and the technical modification of some stockpiled APLs that can still function normally are carried out as planned. The assessment of the development programme of alternative weapons for APLs has been adopted. Relevant research and development work is currently under way. The research and development, design finalization and manufacturing of new types of mines that meet the technical criteria of the Protocol are also proceeding according to plan.
In the 1990s, China conducted two large-scale de-mining operations in the border areas, thus basically eliminating landmine problems within its border. After the demarcation of land border between China and Vietnam, to assist relevant work concerning border survey and mark erecting, the Chinese army launched a new operation to clear mines in the former disputed areas that have been demarcated as Chinese territory. Missions have been sent to those areas to conduct publicity and education campaigns to prevent civilian causalities caused by landmines.
Third, continue to actively participate in international de-mining assistance operations. In September 2005, the Chinese Government launched the programme of de-mining assistance to Thailand. This programme mainly includes training the Thai de-mining personnel and donating de-mining equipment. At present, China is preparing to provide de-mining assistance to Lebanon. To participate more effectively in the international humanitarian mine clearance, China is also actively conducting research on humanitarian de-mining standard, technology, equipment and specific measures.
In addition, China has also participated in a wide range of other relevant international activities. China maintains contacts and exchanges with the states parties to the Ottawa Convention, and has decided to send an observer delegation to attend the coming 6th Conference of States Parties to the Convention to be held in Croatia. At this year's First Committee of the UN General Assembly, China votes for the first time in favor of the resolution on "Implementation of the Ottawa Convention". This further demonstrates that China supports the purposes and objectives of the Ottawa Convention, attaches great importance to its role and is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with its states parties.
China has also kept close contact with relevant non-governmental organizations, such as International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, International Red Cross, exploring with these organizations about new approaches to push forward international de-mining process.
I would like to once again reiterate that China will continue to commit itself to international de-mining efforts, and is ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with other countries and international and non-governmental organizations to make its contributions to assisting the mine-affected countries in getting rid of the landmine problems.
In order to make China's efforts in implementing the Protocol better known to other countries, we have submitted the annual national report on our implementation of the Protocol in 2005. We have also prepared a video documentary on China's implementation of the Protocol, which will be presented during this conference.
Thank you, Mr. President.