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China Initiated Domestic Legal Procedures for its Accession to the Arms Trade Treaty

2019/09/28

China has initiated relevant domestic legal procedures for its accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), as announced by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his statement at the general debate of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 27.

This announcement is a significant step taken by China to actively engage in global arms trade governance and maintaining global and regional peace and stability. It also demonstrates China's determination and sincerity in supporting multilateralism, maintaining the existing international arms control system and striving for building a community with a shared future for mankind.

China has always been seriously concerned about the humanitarian problems caused by illicit trafficking and abusing of conventional arms. China is in favor of the purpose and principles of the ATT, and supports the international community to take all necessary measures to regulate international arms trade and combat illicit transfer of conventional arms.

The Chinese Government has established a comprehensive legislative and regulatory mechanism of export control on conventional arms. First, arms export policy of China strictly follows three principles: i) conducive to the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country; i) not undermine peace, security and stability of the region concerned and the world as a whole; iii) non-interference in the internal affairs of the recipient country. Second, China has promulgated a series of domestic laws and regulations, and excise strict and effective controls on all arms exports accordingly. Those include the Law on the Administration of Firearms, the Regulation on Administration of Military Products Exports and its annexed Military Products Export Control List and etc. Third, China conducts arms trade with sovereign states only, and requires the end-user and end-use certificates by the recipient government, with commitment not to transfer the arms imported from China to any third party without prior consent of the Chinese government. Fourth, China faithfully fulfills its international commitments and strictly abides by the provisions of UN Security Council resolutions on arms embargo. China actively supports and implements the UN Programme of Action on illicit small arms and light weapons and its International Tracing Instrument, and the Firearms Protocol. Fifth, China attaches great importance to enhancing transparency in conventional arms transfers. Over the years, China has submitted its reports to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, participated actively in the work of the Group of Governmental Experts of the Register, and made important contributions to the development of the Register.

The ATT was negotiated in the framework of the United Nations since 2006. The Treaty was approved by vote at the 67th UN General Assembly in 2013, came into force in 2014, and has 104 States Parties so far. The purpose of the Treaty is to regulate the conventional arms trade, combat illicit arms transfer, and alleviate various concerns such as global and regional instability and humanitarian problems caused by the abuse of arms trade.

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