Statement by Ambassador Hu Xiaodi,Head of the Chinese DelegationAt the Conference of the State Parties to the CCW
(Geneva, 23 November 2005)
The Chinese delegation congratulates you on your election to the presidency of this meeting. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for your work over the year.
Currently, the international situation is undergoing complicated and significant changes. It is the basic feature of the times to pursue peace, seek cooperation and promote development. However, we are still facing various hidden troubles and challenges on our way to peace and development. Violent conflicts and regional wars are far from disappearing. At the same time, non-traditional threats are constantly growing. Faced with various security challenges, the international community should safeguard and strengthen multilateral arms control and disarmament legal system, pursue multilateralism and commit to international cooperation.
The Convention on the Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) is an organic component of multilateral arms control and disarmament legal system. Compared with other arms control treaties, the Convention bears distinct humanitarian characteristics, which is to relief the disaster brought by wars and armed conflicts to civilians and address humanitarian concerns, through appropriately regulating and restricting the use of certain conventional weapons. Since it came into force 25 years ago, the Convention has all along maintained its strong vitality. The purposes and objectives of the Convention have been more universally recognized, and its universality and effectiveness have been increasingly strengthened. The Convention is a model of multilateralism. China is pleased with that and appreciates the humanitarian efforts made by all States Parties.
The success of the Convention mainly lies in its two principles:
The first is balance and practicability. The Convention places equal emphasis on the humanitarian concerns and legitimate military needs and successfully strikes the balance between them.
The second is consensus. The Convention attaches importance to achieving universally agreed results through democratic discussion in accordance with the principle of seeking common grounds while reserving difference, with a view to guarantee the feasibility and universality of the final outcome and its implementation. It is the key for the Convention to maintain its vitality and constantly make progress.
The above two features are the foundation of the Convention and the basis of its implementation, which we should value and strive to preserve.
The amendment to Article I of the Convention has extended the application scope of the Convention and its existing protocols from international armed conflicts to include non-international armed conflicts, which has enhanced the effectiveness of the Convention and promoted the development of the international humanitarian laws. We are happy to see that the number of states that have ratified the amendment has increased to 44. We hope that those states that have not done so will come into action to promote the universal implementation of the Convention.
Another encouraging fact is that there are more and more ratification states to the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which will enable its entry into force in the near future. We believe that the Protocol has comprehensively addressed the humanitarian concerns caused by the ERW. Our current priority on this issue is to ensure the universal and effective implementation of the Protocol. China is now actively preparing for the ratification of the Protocol. Relevant departments have made great efforts in this regard so as to conclude the process at an early date.
At the freshly wrapped-up twelfth GGE session, you put forward once again a new proposal on the issue of compliance. The Chinese delegation appreciates your efforts in this regard. Also, we would like to extend our appreciation to coordinators on anti-vehicle landmine (AVL) and ERW for their efforts in facilitating the relevant discussions.
Over the past years, the Group of Governmental Experts has spent tremendous time and efforts in discussing the issue of AVL. After extensive and deep discussion, we would like to confirm the following principles: Firstly, AVL remains to be the legal and effective defensive weapon with important military significance. Secondly, the military security needs and humanitarian concerns should be addressed in a balanced manner, taking full account of countries' different capabilities in terms of economy and technology as well as the features of the AVL itself. Thirdly, the solutions should be feasible and widely accepted to ensure its universal implementation. It is to our belief that if all parties can observe the above principles and continue to work actively and pragmatically in the spirit of seeking common grounds while reserving differences, a proper solution would not be too far away. The Chinese governmental expert delegation tabled a package solution on the issue of AVL in this August, which showed a practical and feasible way in resolving this issue.
In the passing year, the GGE conducted, strictly in accordance with the mandate, straight-out and in-depth discussions on the proposals relating to the issue of AVL, and progress has been made. However, on the whole, wide divergence on many basic elements of the issue of AVL still exists, and the conditions and timing are premature for all sides to negotiate a legally binding instrument. Therefore, the Chinese delegation holds that the GGE's mandate on the issue of AVL this year should be reserved for the next year.
Reserving the mandate of this year can not be simply elaborated as a standstill of the work of the GGE. Taking into account the status quo of the discussion on the issue of AVL, it is the right direction for the work of experts from various countries to continue to study the unresolved fundamental questions and try to bridge the differences and broaden the consensus. It also reflects our highly responsible manner towards the work.
As for the issue of ERW, taking into account that the consensus has not been achieved on whether to go into a negotiation on restricting the use of submunitions, China believes that we should continue a "discussion" mandate on this issue next year. Such mandate is appropriate, practical and realistic. It also reflects the political will of state parties to continue to explore the way to address humanitarian concerns caused by the ERW.
As for the issue of compliance, relevant discussions to date have been fruitful and conducive to clearing our minds and understanding. The way ahead becomes clearer in spite that the consensus has not been reached. Chinese delegation is ready to keep on relative work with constructive attitude.
China has all along attached great importance to all the relative work in support of the Convention and faithful implementation of its obligations. China has made down-to-earth contributions to the Convention's implementation and perfection.
China takes a positive attitude towards the proposal made by the Secretariat of this Meeting on the establishment of a "Sponsorship Plan" to facilitate delegates from some developing countries participating in CCW meetings.
The third Review Conference will be held next year and China will take this opportunity to make unremitting efforts with other parties to improve universality and effectiveness.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.