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Written Statement of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Conventional Arms at the First Committee of the 76th Session of the UNGA

2021-10-22 11:54

Mr. Chairman,

Nowadays the risks of illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms remain unabated. In particular, the U.S., out of its own interest, constantly ease its arms export control policy and even revoke its signature to the Arms Trade Treaty. Meanwhile, the U.S. flagrantly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries by providing arms to non-state actors, which undercut multilateral efforts in regulating conventional arms trade and undermines international and regional peace and stability.

As Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres stated in his Disarmament Agenda, conventional arms control is part of “disarmament that saves lives”. This is a reflection of the importance of further strengthening conventional arms control under the multilateral framework, as well as the international community’s introspection on and vigilance of the illicit trade and misuse of conventional arms. 

Mr. Chairman,

China attaches great importance to the issue of conventional arms, and has actively participated in the process of relevant arms control process. As an important action, China acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) last July and submitted its initial report recently. 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.

China faithfully implements the obligations under the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), and supports international cooperation and assistance to developing countries. At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China’s support to the implementation of the initiative of “Silencing the Guns”. To fulfil this commitment, China has provided $1.4 million through the China-United Nations Peace and Development Fund in 2018 and 2019. 

As a High Contracting Party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its five protocols, China has consistently supported the work of the CCW, constructively participated in relevant discussions on Landmine, Improvised Explosive Device (IED), Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and has been committed to international humanitarian de-mining assistance and cooperation. So far, the Chinese Government has provided humanitarian assistance worth over 100 million RMB yuan to more than 40 countries through donation, equipment assistance, training programs and field instructions, and has trained over 1,000 professional de-mining staffs. In 2021, the Chinese Government donated $200,000 to the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) for co-hosting related regional meetings. Besides, China will continue to provide de-mining equipment and humanitarian materials to Cambodia and the Laos, with a view to enhancing their de-mining capacity. 

Mr. Chairman,

The problems caused by conventional weapons are wide-ranging, complex and thus difficult. In order to resolve the regional turbulence and humanitarian concerns caused by conventional weapons in a holistic manner, China would like to make the followings proposals:  

Firstly, upholding multilateralism. Major States should honor their commitments, take a responsible attitude towards arms export, and refrain from interfering in other countries’ internal affairs by using arms trade. We should actively support the UN’s main channel in the field of conventional arms control, promote and encourage more countries to join in the process, so as to strengthen the universality and effectiveness of relevant treaties.

Secondly, addressing both symptoms and root causes. All countries should resolve disputes through political and diplomatic means, so as to create conditions to fundamentally address the problem of illicit trade of conventional arms. Meanwhile, we should earnestly fulfill our international obligations and continue strengthening capacity building and international cooperation.

Thirdly, strengthening coordination among different mechanisms. We should strengthen coordination, cooperation and information sharing among relevant UN mechanisms on conventional arms control including the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNRCA) and the UN Programme of Action on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA), so as to forge a mutual complementary and reinforcing architecture.

Fourthly, deepening international cooperation. To build a coordinated global, regional and sub-regional mechanism, we need to improve information and experience sharing in the fields of policy making, law enforcement, etc. The developed countries should strengthen assistance on capacity building, financial donation, technology transfer and personnel training according to the realistic difficulties and upon the request from developing countries, 

Mr. Chairman,

The various issues caused by conventional weapons can not be addressed overnight and the international community needs to tackle it in a collaborated manner. China stands ready to maintain exchange and cooperation with all countries to promote new progress in conventional arms control and further contribute to addressing humanitarian concerns caused by misuse of conventional weapons and safeguarding international and regional peace and stability. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

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