Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons at the First Committee of the 62nd Session of the UNGA
At present, the international security situation is far from tranquil. The peace, stability and development of relevant countries and regions are seriously affected by regional conflicts and prominent non-traditional security threats such as terrorism and transnational organized crimes. These threats have been aggravated by illicit transfer and abusive use of conventional weapons. It is an important and urgent task of the international community to take concrete measures to promote arms control process in the field of conventional weapons.
The Chinese Government has all along firmly supported and actively participated in international conventional arms control process. China supports constant enhancement and further improvement of conventional arms control mechanisms, under the precondition of assuring the sovereignty and security of all countries, to address humanitarian concerns caused by conventional arms and promote international peace and security.
The Chinese Government attaches importance to the issue of military transparency and has made unremitting efforts in increasing military transparency and improving mutual trust with other countries. In accordance with relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions, the Chinese Government has decided to report, starting from this year, annually to the Secretary-General of the United Nations basic data of its military expenditures for the latest fiscal year. This is a significant step on the part of China in further enhancing its military transparency, which fully demonstrates that China is committed to improving mutual trust with other countries in the military field.
China also attaches importance to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, and has made important contributions to the establishment and development of the Register. After the Register was established, China provided the Secretary-General of the United Nations annually with data on imports and exports of conventional arms in the seven categories covered by the Register. However, since 1996, a certain country had provided data on its arms sales to Taiwan province of China to the Register, which contradicted the spirit of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the objectives and principles of the Register. China was impelled to suspend its reporting to the Register. As the country concerned has stopped the above-mentioned behaviour, the Chinese Government decides to resume providing data annually on imports and exports of conventional arms in the seven categories to the Register from this year.
The above two decisions of the Chinese Government demonstrate that China supports the important role played by the United Nations in promoting transparency in armaments and mutual trust in the field of security among countries. China stands ready to make joint efforts with the international community to constantly enhance the universality and effectiveness of the United Nations Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures and the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.
Since the entry into force of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the CCW process has maintained great vitality, and has played an important role in addressing the humanitarian concerns caused by certain conventional weapons such as landmines. China strictly observes its obligations under the CCW and its protocols, and actively participates in relevant work within the framework of the CCW. China supports the Final Declaration and decisions adopted by the Third Review Conference of the CCW. To finance the least-developed countries to participate in the CCW process, China has provided donation to the Sponsorship Programme this year. China will be continuously committed to enhancing the universality and effectiveness of the CCW.
The conclusion and entry into force of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War constitutes an important contribution to the international arms control and humanitarian course. China welcomes the entry into force of the Protocol and is actively preparing for the early ratification of the Protocol.
The issue of cluster munitions has become one of the prominent issues in the field of conventional arms control as well as in the framework of the CCW. China understands the humanitarian concerns of international community on this issue, and is in favor of seeking a proper solution to this issue within the framework of the CCW based on the principles of consensus and addressing humanitarian concerns and military needs of all countries in a balanced way.
China attaches great importance to the implementation of the Amended Protocol on Landmines. To ensure full and timely implementation of the Protocol, China has made great efforts in technical modification of anti-personnel landmines, destruction of old or obsolete anti-personnel landmines, personnel training and raising public awareness. This September, China submitted for the first time its annual report on the implementation of the CCW in accordance with the decision of the Third Review Conference of the CCW. China also submitted its annual report on time on the implementation of the Amended Protocol on Landmines as usual.
China understands the humanitarian concerns caused by the indiscriminate use of anti-vehicle landmines. China is ready to work with other parties to explore effective ways to address the issue with a pragmatic and constructive attitude.
China is committed to promoting international de-mining cooperation and has provided assistance to relevant mine-affected countries within its capability. So far, the Chinese Government has provided de-mining assistance to more than 10 countries in Asia and Africa by various means, including financial donation, provision of de-mining equipments and personnel training course. This October, China will host a new de-mining training course in Nanjing for personnel from 5 African countries, namely Angola, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Chad. China will also donate a number of de-mining equipments to these countries.
China always commits itself to promoting the full and effective implementation of the UN Programme of Action (PoA) on small arms and light weapons (SALW). China welcomes the report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Illicit Brokering in SALW, which is an important achievement by the international community in combating illicit trade in SALW. The Chinese governmental expert played a constructive role in the work of the GGE. The third Biennial Meeting on SALW will be held next year. China is ready to cooperate with other parties in achieving a successful result of the meeting so as to further strengthen international efforts in combating illicit trade in SALW.
China has all along taken a prudent and responsible attitude in its arms export, and exercised strict controls on arms exports in accordance with its international obligations and domestic laws and regulations. China has always observed the following three principles in its arms export: the exports should be conducive to the legitimate self-defence capability of the recipient country; the exports should not undermine the peace, security and stability of the region concerned or the world as a whole; the exports should not be used as a means of interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient country. China also makes explicit and strict requirements regarding the end-user of arms exported. Recipient countries are not allowed to transfer the arms imported from China to any third party without the consent of China.
China supports the efforts by the international community in enhancing cooperation on combating illicit arms trafficking. However, such cooperation should not affect regular and lawful arms transfers among countries, or infringe upon the legitimate right of self-defence of all countries. Arms trade issue is rather complicated and situations in various countries and regions differ widely. Whether it is necessary to negotiate an international instrument concerning arms trade, and how to deal with the relationship between this instrument and the existing conventional arms transfer principles and mechanisms should be considered in a comprehensive manner and dealt with on the basis of universal participation of the international community.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.