Statement by the Chinese Delegation on the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, at the Third Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
(New York, July 17, 2008)
The International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, which was concluded in 2005, is an important step for implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, and is also a substantial outcome of the efforts made by the international community in combating the illicit trade in SALW. In the past three years, a lot of positive measures have been taken by States to implement the ITI, and many significant achievements have already been made. The United Nations, INTERPOL and other relevant parties have contributed a lot to promote international cooperation in this field.
It should be noticed, however, there are still considerable difficulties and challenges in the comprehensive and effective implementation of the ITI. States should make greater efforts in national legislation and mechanism-building, strengthen the international cooperation and assistance,and further carry out exchanges on relevant policies, measures and experiences. The United Nations and INTERPOL should continue to play an active role in promoting the international cooperation in the implementation of the ITI.
China actively and constructively took part in negotiations on the ITI, and contributed to its successful conclusion. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the implementation of ITI and has adopted a series of measures in its national legislation and mechanism building.
On the marking of SALW, new detailed rules on SALW markings were issued by the competent Chinese authority as part of the national military standards in August of 2007, specifying requirements for the content, format, location and production of markings on small arms, spare parts and accessories as well as their packing containers. Under the new Regulations, each SALW produced in China is stamped with a unique marking that includes country code, weapon-category code, factory code, code for the year of manufacture, and manufacturing serial number; imported/exported SALW should be stamped with the importing/exporting country code and the code for the year of import/export. Markings on SALW should be positioned on the main components of the weapon so as to be clearly visible and not easily worn away; the durability of the markings should be longer than the expected storage time or service life of that weapon. Above regulations are in conformity with the corresponding requirements of the Firearms Protocol and the International Tracing Instrument. And the marking format of the SALW and its container made by China is included in the appendix of China's national report on the implementation of PoA and ITI.
On the record-keeping of SALW, China has established a complete system in the record-keeping of SALW. In China, SALW manufacturers and arms-trading companies all have systems for keeping complete and detailed records of the SALW they manufacture or export, covering each stage of SALW circulation from manufacturers to end-users. Specialized information management systems monitoring SALW manufacturing and movement are also commonly used among enterprises in this field. Beginning in May 2006, all Chinese arms-trading companies are required to register detailed information on all SALW they export with the competent authority responsible for arms export administration, including the importing country, end user, shipper, transporter, means of transport and number of shipments, shipping manifests, product model, quantity shipped and label numbers. These records are consolidated and retained on a long-term basis by the competent authority. The Information System for Firearms Regulation maintained by the Public Security authorities is already operating on a nation-wide basis, recording information on all official and civilian firearms and their holders throughout the country and providing effective control of such firearms by means of a series of auxiliary management measures.
In the aspect of international cooperation, the Police, Customs and other competent agencies of China have maintained constant contacts with their foreign counterparts. The Chinese police authorities actively cooperate with INTERPOL, and have provided assistance in tracing illicit firearms.
The comprehensive and effective implementation of the ITI is a complex and long-term task, and it calls for concerted efforts by the international community. China stands ready to strengthen cooperation and communication with other countries in this field, and is willing to provide assistances to relevant countries within its own capability, thus contributing to international efforts in combating the illicit trade in SALW.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.