|Statement of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Conventional Arms Control at the 75th Session of UNGA First Committee|
The problems caused by conventional arms have always been a great concern for the international community. In recent years, driven by the “political virus” from the US, geopolitical tensions are rising, regional armed conflicts and turmoils are flaring up, the scale of arms trade is expanding, terrorism, extremism and organized transnational crimes is yet to be eradicated. As a result, the risks of illicit transfer and diversion of conventional arms are still increasing.
As the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in his new disarmament agenda, the conventional arms control is part of “disarmament that saves lives”. Reducing illicit arms flow is also enlisted as an important goal in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For years, the international community has made unswerving efforts in alleviating the humanitarian problems caused by the illicit transfer and abuse of conventional arms, and achieved positive outcomes in this regard. Under the new circumstances, the international community should join hands in keeping the sound momentum in conventional arms control, and inject positive energy into the international arms control process.
China attaches great importance to the humanitarian concerns caused by conventional arms, firmly supports and actively participates in the process of international conventional arms control. China believes that the international community should constantly strengthen and improve the international legal mechanism on conventional arms control, on the basis of striking a balance between legitimate security needs and humanitarian concern of all countries, so as to safeguard global and regional lasting peace and common security.
As a positive concrete action of China in the arms control process, China acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on 6 July this year. China participated in the Sixth Conference of State Parties to the ATT in August as a State Party for the first time, and submitted a written statement. This is a significant step taken by China in participating in the global governance on arms trade and safeguarding international and regional peace, which testifies to China’s determination and sincerity in upholding multilateralism and forging a community with a shared future for mankind. As a State Party, China will faithfully fulfill its obligations, and work closely with all parties to promote the universality and effectiveness of the ATT. In this connection, China is ready to provide assistance to the developing countries within its capacity. Meanwhile, we urge the US and some other countries to stop arms sales to non-state actors, and refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states through arms exports.
China attaches great importance to the humanitarian concerns caused by the illicit transfer and abuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW). China believes that in order to properly solve this problem, all states should actively support and implement the obligations under the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the International Tracing Instrument, continuously enhance capacity building, and take forward the multilateral process of combating illicit trade of SALWs consistently. Efforts shall also be made to carry out international cooperation actively and maintain international and regional stability.
African countries are the main victims of illicit small arms and light weapons. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution unanimously in February 2019 which supports Africa to implement the initiative of “Silencing the Guns in Africa”. At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China’s support to the implementation of the initiative. China has provided US$1.4 million through the United Nations Peace and Development Fund in 2018 and 2019. Standing ready to carry out further cooperation with the AU and African countries in this regard, China also calls upon the international community to provide needed assistance to Africa, to facilitate the implementation of the initiative of “Silencing the Guns in Africa” and create favorable conditions for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) has been serving as the cornerstone of conventional arms control. As a High Contracting Party to the Convention and its five protocols, China has consistently supported the work of the CCW, faithfully implemented the CCW and its protocols, and actively participates in relevant international exchange and cooperation.
China is committed to international humanitarian demining assistance and cooperation. The Chinese Government has provided humanitarian assistance worth over 100 million yuan RMB to more than 40 countries through donation, equipment assistance, training programs and field instructions, and has trained over 1,000 professional demining technicians. At the UN Peacekeeping Summit in September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will carry out ten demining assistance programs in the coming five years. China has fulfilled its promise ahead of the schedule. We carried out 24 demining programs and provided assistance worth of more than 55 million yuan RMB. In 2020, the Chinese Government provided demining assistance worth of 9.5 million RMB to Cambodia and Laos which includes demining equipment and humanitarian materials.
China stands ready to maintain exchange and cooperation with all states, to promote new developments in conventional arms control and make further positive contributions to addressing humanitarian issues caused by the abuse of conventional weapons and safeguarding international and regional peace and stability.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.