Statement by H.E. Mrs. Zhang Jinfeng, Ambassador of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia, at the Conference on "Mine Action and Implications for Peace and Development"
(Phnom Penh, March 14th, 2007)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to appreciate the initiative of Governments of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Canada to hold this Conference. It provides us with a good opportunity to exchange our practices and experience on mine action and to explore effective measures to address landmine problems, so as to further promote the coordination and cooperation on mine action in our region and the international community at large, which will contribute to resolving landmine problems, maintaining peace and promoting development.
We are glad that, with the joint efforts of the international community, encouraging progress in the field of mine action has been constantly achieved at national, regional and international levels. At the same time, it should not be neglected that there are still severe landmine problems in various countries and regions which still pose threats to the security of civilian lives and properties and hinder local economic development and social rehabilitation. It remains an important task for us to explore effective ways to promote relevant international assistance and cooperation and speed up the international mine action process.
Geographically speaking, current landmine problems mainly exist in the less developed countries and regions, which have suffered or are still suffering from wars or armed conflicts. Due to the lack of economic and technical capabilities in mine action, they are usually unable to carry out demining operations, victim assistance and post-war reconstruction on their own. Therefore, mine-affected countries and regions are in great need of international cooperation. Constantly enhancing and enriching international cooperation will be conducive to fast and comprehensive implementation of mine action, and is an effective way to resolve the landmine problems.
Bearing those in mind, we believe that the international community should focus its efforts of international mine action cooperation on the following aspects:
Firstly, new measures and approaches of international cooperation on mine action should be explored. At present, much cooperation in this field is carried out on bilateral basis. To improve quality and efficiency of the cooperation, new approaches should be adopted. For example, multiple parties can be invited to participate in one program, which will offset one party's weakness with other parties' strong points by giving full play to the respective advantages of participating parties in human resources, funding, equipment, technology and management and etc. This can also optimize the structure and enhance the efficiency of relevant programs. In this regard, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and other relevant international institutions should play more effective roles in coordination.
Secondly, mine action should be carried out in accordance with the specific situation of the recipient countries and regions. The situation and needs of mine-affected countries and regions are quite different. If we simply stick to one pattern or criteria in providing assistance and cooperation without taking into account the specific situation and needs of the recipients, the results of such assistance will be affected.
Thirdly, capacity building of mine-affected countries should be enhanced. Usually, it takes a long time and a large amount of financial and human resources for a country or a region to completely resolve landmine problems. One or two cooperation programs can not achieve this goal. We believe that, in carrying out relevant cooperation and assistance, donor countries should, from a long-term perspective, focus on building blood-making capability of recipient countries to help them accomplish the gradual transition from purely depending on external assistance to building up their own capacity, so as to achieve the sustainable development of mine action and fundamentally resolve the problems facing mine-affected countries and regions.
Fourthly, the efficiency of demining operations should be further enhanced. The progress and efficiency of demining operations have direct bearing on the return of local civilians and the process of economic reconstruction. While assuring the full and timely provision of relevant funding, the donor countries and the recipient countries should give priority to the concrete results of the demining assistance and cooperation. Both sides should strengthen coordination and enhance efficiency in utilizing the funding, equipment and personnel for demining operations, and make every effort to avoid waste and low efficiency.
The Chinese Government pursues a people-oriented governing policy and has always put the security and well-being of the people on top priority. China attaches great importance to the humanitarian concerns caused by the indiscriminate use of landmines. As a State Party to the amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, China has always honored its obligations under the instrument. China maintains broad contacts and exchanges with States Parties to the Ottawa Convention and relevant international organizations such as International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). As a member of the Mine Action Support Group (MASG), China has actively participated in relevant activities of the Group and made valuable proposals on ways to enhance the coordination and cooperation of international mine action.
China attaches great importance to and has actively participated in the international cooperation in the field of mine action. China's cooperation and assistance are mainly directed to those developing countries that suffer from severe landmine problems and lack relevant capabilities. Such cooperation and assistance focus on the capacity-building of the countries concerned, aiming at assisting those countries in achieving sustainable development of their own mine action.
In 1998, China donated 100,000 US dollars to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Clearance Assistance, which was earmarked for mine actions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1999 and 2000, the Chinese Government, in cooperation with the United Nations, organized two sessions of demining training course for trainees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique. In 2001, China provided a number of demining equipment to Angola, Namibia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique. In 2002 and 2003, China sent two groups of demining experts to Eritrea to provide training for Eritrean demining troops and guide them in field demining operations in addition to the donation of demining equipment. In September 2005, China carried out its assistance program of mine action in Thailand by donating demining equipment and sending an expert group to train local demining personnel and guide field demining operations. From September to December 2006, China hosted a demining training course for 40 trainees from Lebanon and Jordan, and will donate a number of demining equipment to these two countries. The demining cooperation between China and Jordan is initiated by His Royal Highness Prince Mired Al-Hussein, Chairman of the Board of the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation. In April 2004, China, in cooperation with Australian Network of ICBL, sponsored a Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation Workshop in China. Since the 1990s, Chinese peace-keeping engineer troops have participated, for several times, in demining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Lebanon.
China actively participated in international efforts of providing demining assistance to Cambodia. In 1992 and 1993, Chinese peace-keeping engineer troops joined in demining operations in Cambodia. In 1999 and 2000, China provided demining training course for trainees from Cambodia. In 2001, China donated a certain amount of demining equipments to Cambodia. In recent years, during the reconstruction of National Road No.7 with grant aid from China, the Chinese government, upon the request of the Royal Government of Cambodia, donated 600,000 US dollars for demining operations.
In carrying out the above-mentioned assistance programs, China has accumulated rich experience and developed an approach with Chinese characteristics in providing demining assistance. It has been proved that the Chinese demining technology is safe and mature and its equipment is reliable, and economic and user-friendly. The application of the Chinese technology and equipment in demining operations is efficient and cost-effective, which has been positively acknowledged by recipient countries and relevant international organizations.
The Chinese Government pursues a policy of "building good relationship and partnership with neighbours". China fully understands the concerns and feelings of the mine-affected neighbouring countries, including Cambodia. China stands ready to enhance, within its own capability, the exchange and cooperation with other countries to actively explore effective approaches and measures to assist neighboring countries in getting rid of their landmine problems at an early date and to build a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious society.
In conclusion, I wish this conference a success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.