Statement by H.E. Ambassador HU Xiaodi, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the Tenth Session of the Group of Governmental Experts of the States Parties to The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your reelection to the chairmanship of the Meeting of the Group of the Governmental Experts (GGE) of the States Parties to the CCW this year. And my congratulations also go to Amb. Jayant Prasad and Amb. Markku Reimaa on their respective reappointment as the coordinators of the issues of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines. The Chinese delegation would like to assure you of our full support and cooperation.
At the last session, the GGE adopted a mandate on the AVL issue by consensus, which was subsequently approved by the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention. In fact this mandate is the continuity of last year’s mandate on the AVL issue, which requests the GGEs this year “to consider all proposals on AVL put forward since the establishment of the Group of Governmental Experts with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations on AVL for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention”. We consider this mandate appropriate, reasonable, practical and realistic. It is reflective of not only the present status of discussion in the GGE on the AVL issue, but also the common understanding forged by all parties after careful consideration.
Undoubtedly, the GGEs this year should conduct its work strictly in line with this mandate. Last year’s work has shown that all parties had common understanding on the interpretation of the mandate of “considering”, which had ensured smooth work of the GGEs. We should do the same this year. The Chinese side is unwilling to see any divergence or confusion arising on this issue; otherwise the substantive work of the GGE will be seriously disturbed.
As for the AVL issue, China has expounded its position and concerns on many occasions. China understands the humanitarian concerns caused by AVL, and has all along been exploring the proper solution to this issue with all parties concerned in a pragmatic and constructive manner. We insist that to address the AVL issue, a right balance should be stricken between humanitarian concerns and states’ legitimate military needs, and the difference among countries in terms of economic and technological capability should be taken into account. The solutions should be pragmatic, feasible, effective and acceptable to all parties concerned, so as to ensure their universality.
We think that after three year’s discussion, the next step forward of the GGE is clear, i.e., the GGE should deal with those issues as a priority that are closely related to humanitarianism and can be easily agreed upon by all parties, such as transfer of AVL, acquisition and use of AVL by non-state actors, post-conflict mine clearance, international cooperation and assistance etc. To put on restrictions on the area of using AVL is also an element that deserves due consideration. Those suggestions related to the technical parameters of AVL, such as detectability, self-destruction and self-deactivation, are still highly controversial. Those measures may not effectively solve the humanitarian problems caused by AVL, but will pose practical economic and technological difficulties and cause security concerns to many countries. Therefore, it is premature to address those issues for the moment.
The Chinese delegation is studying the third version of coordinator’s paper prepared by Ambassador Reimaa, the coordinator of the AVL issue. Let me comment on a preliminary basis. Compared to the two previous versions, this new paper has enriched its content in the aspect of international cooperation and assistance. However, in general, the paper should reflect positions of all parties concerned in a more comprehensive and objective manner, and deal with contentious issues more prudently without drawing conclusion in haste. The Chinese delegation will, on the basis of the comments and proposals made on the previous two versions, present our ideas and proposals on specific contents of the coordinator’s paper at this session. We hope that through deliberations during this session, the paper could be improved.
The GGE is also mandated to continue its discussions on technical improvement of specific types of munitions, including sub-munitions, particularly at the military and technical expert level. Last two years’ discussions have shown that countries have quite divergent views on this issue and most countries are faced with various financial and technical difficulties in this field. Therefore, it is premature to formulate mandatory measures at this stage. The ERW Protocol has covered general preventive measures aimed at improving the reliability of munitions, which will be conducive to reducing the occurrence of ERW. Therefore, all countries should sign up to the ERW Protocol as early as possible, with a view to promoting its early entry into force and giving its functions into full play. Relevant agencies of Chinese Government have made much effort on the preparation of ratification of the Protocol so far, and hopefully the ratification procedure will be initiated in the near future.
Regarding the issue of compliance, China is of the view that relevant provisions in the Amended Landmine Protocol are appropriate and rational, which should serve as a good reference for our discussion.
To sum up, China stands ready to continue to participate actively and constructively in the work of the GGE within the parameters of its mandate, and contribute to the progress of the meeting.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.