Statement by Mr.Wu Haitao, Head of the Chinese Observer Delegation, Deputy Director-General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China at The Sixth Meeting of The States Parties to the Ottawa Convention
(28 November 2005, Zagreb)
Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of this meeting. I would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Croatia for its hospitality and its contribution to the meeting.
We meet up here with a shared lofty mission in our mind: to address the humanitarian concerns caused by the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs), safeguard human security and promote the development of human civilization.
It is to our great relief that since the 1990s the international community has continued to give priority to the landmine issue and has made relentless efforts to eliminate the humanitarian concerns caused by landmines, and achieved constant progress. The Ottawa Convention and The Amended Landmine Protocol are mutually complementary in this regard. They provide different legal frameworks and means for the resolution of the landmine problem.
Although China is not a party to the Ottawa Convention, we firmly endorse its purposes and objectives. Proceeding from the principle of "people first" and "governing for the benefit of the people", the Chinese Government has spared no effort in addressing the humanitarian concerns caused by landmines.
First, China has strictly implemented the Amended Landmine Protocol. This year, the Chinese military has conducted a comprehensive survey of the stockpiled APLs and those in service. Over the past three years, nearly 500,000 landmines that do not comply with the technical parameters of the Protocol have been destroyed. Technical modifications have also been made to some APLs that can still function, and the research and development of alternative weapons to APLs is under way.
Second, China has observed in good faith its moratorium on export of the APLs that do not conform to the Amended Landmine Protocol. In fact, China has basically halted exports of all kinds of APLs.
Third, China has been actively clearing landmines on its territory. In the 1990s, with two large-scale de-mining operations in the border areas, China has basically eliminated the landmine problem within its border. This year, the Chinese military launched a new operation to clear landmines along its border with Vietnam, to assist border survey there. From January to July this year, 97,000m2 of land have been cleared up and over 350 pieces of mines and other explosive ordnances have been removed.
Forth, China has actively participated in international de-mining assistance to help other countries get rid of the landmine problem. Since 1998, China has been actively involved in the de-mining efforts of nearly 10 Asian and African countries through financial contributions, donating de-mining equipment and hosting technical training courses. In September 2005, the Chinese Government launched the programme of de-mining assistance to Thailand, which mainly includes training the Thai de-mining personnel and donating relevant equipment. Currently, China is preparing to provide de-mining assistance to Lebanon. China is also actively conducting research on humanitarian de-mining standard, technology, equipment and specific measures to prepare itself for more effective participation in the international humanitarian mine clearance efforts in the future.
Fifth, to promote the implementation of the Amended Landmine Protocol, the Chinese military authorities have adopted new measures by producing multimedia materials about the implementation of the Protocol to ensure the strict implementation of the Protocol. The Chinese Government has also sent public awareness taskforce to mine-affected border areas to conduct mine awareness education, which has effectively reduced the risk of accidental injuries to local civilians.
Sixth, China maintains good contact and exchanges with the states parties to the Ottawa Convention, and with relevant international institutions and non-governmental organizations to explore new approaches to promote international de-mining process. At the First Committee of 60th Session of the UN General Assembly this year, China votes for the first time in favor of the resolution on "Implementation of the Ottawa Convention". This further demonstrates that China attaches great importance to the role of the Ottawa Convention and is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with its states parties, and to make more contributions to assisting the mine-affected countries in getting rid of the landmine problem and ultimately resolving the humanitarian concerns caused by the APLs.
To conclude, I wish this meeting a complete success.
Thank you, Ms. President.