Statement of The Chinese Delegation At the Dushanbe Conference: Progress towardThe Ottawa Convention's Aims in Central Asias
Statement of The Chinese Delegation
At the Dushanbe Conference: Progress towards
The Ottawa Convention's Aims in Central Asia
(Dushanbe, April 16)
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to attend this conference co-sponsored by the Tajikistan government and the UNDP. The Chinese Delegation would like to extend its thanks to the co-sponsors for their efforts to organize this conference. We hope that, through the conference, we could have in-depth discussions on the landmine issue in Central Asia with all states present here, and make joint efforts to eliminate the landmine problems in the region.
Due to their inherent features, landmines, if misused, would be left in the earth and pose a threat to the lives of civilians, thus giving rise to humanitarian concerns. For years, the emplaced landmines left over from past armed conflicts have increased in number and scope, threatening the people's lives, property and normal living conditions in many countries and regions. Fortunately, the international community pays more attention to the landmine issue and has made unremitting efforts to address the humanitarian concerns arising thereof. The conclusion of the Ottawa Convention and the amended Landmine Protocol symbolize the will of the international community to solve the landmine problems and provide the legal framework and roadmap for their solution as well.
We appreciate the humanitarian spirit enshrined in the Ottawa Convention and its role in addressing the landmine issue. The Convention points out a shortcut to address the landmine issue for those capable countries. The Convention and the amended Landmine Protocol, complementary to each other, provide diversified solutions to the landmine problems. We extend our appreciation and support to those countries that have joined the Convention and have been striving for the elimination of the landmine problems within the Convention framework. Though China is not a party to the Ottawa Convention, it endorses the purpose and objective of the Convention and is willing to conduct exchanges with all States Parties to the Convention with a view to eliminating the landmine problems through joint efforts.
On the landmine issue, we cannot evade one reality, that is this issue involves both the humanitarian concerns and legitimate military needs of sovereign states. We should strike a balance between the two aspects, without ignoring either aspect. We are of the view that given the enhanced de-mining efforts and related international cooperation complemented by each country's steps taken in light of its actual situation and preventative measures adopted in accordance with relevant legal instruments, the humanitarian concerns caused by landmines could be well addressed.
China always attaches great importance to the humanitarian issue, supports the efforts by the international community in addressing the humanitarian concerns and spares no effort for the solution of the problem in its own way in light of the actual situation. China acceded to the amended Landmine Protocol in 1998 and has faithfully implemented the obligations under the Protocol. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government has actively conducted de-mining operations within its border and international de-mining assistance as well. In 1990's, China had freed itself from the landmine problem after two large-scale de-mining operations. As for international de-mining assistance, China, within its capabilities, has provided mine-affected countries with assistance such as donating to the UN de-mining fund, sponsoring international de-mining technology training courses in cooperation with the UN, providing de-mining equipment to some mine-affected countries and sending de-mining experts to a mine-affected country for on-site training and instruction on de-mining. In order to promote the de-mining efforts and related international cooperation in Asia, China, in cooperation with Australian Network, ICBL, will sponsor a Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation Workshop on April 26th to 28th in Kunming, China.
We always hold that the landmine problems involve humanitarian concerns, posing direct threats to civilian's lives and property. To help the countries concerned get rid of landmine problems as soon as possible should be the first and foremost priority for the international community in dealing with landmine issues. In Central Asia, countries are faced with varying degrees of landmine problems. How to free the region from the problems as soon as possible deserves our in-depth discussions. Obviously, the situations of the Central Asian countries are different, which testifies their difference on landmine policy. We respect their sovereign choices on this issue. Meanwhile, we also find an important commonality among the Central Asian countries, that is, all countries in the region are developing countries and need support and assistance from other countries both within the region and from the outside in solving the landmine problems. We hope to see strengthened de-mining cooperation in Central Asia. At the same time, we are of the view that one country's landmine policy should not be taken as the precondition for de-mining assistance and that the different policy orientations on the landmine issue of the Central Asian countries should not become the obstacle for countries concerned to conduct cooperation in this field.
China is willing to conduct exchanges and cooperation with all Central Asian countries and contribute our efforts to the elimination of the landmine problems in the region.
Thank you, Mr. President.