General Statement by H.E. Ambassador Li Song at the Fifth Conference of State Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty
Geneva, 26 August 2019
At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, I would like to congratulate your excellency on your assumption of the Presidency. I would also like to extend our thanks to the Secretariat for the considerate arrangements made for this Conference. China’s participation once again in this Conference as an observer shows the great importance China attaches to the issue of illicit transfer of conventional arms, the strong support rendered to the purposes and principles of the Treaty, and also the sincerity and willingness of China to enhance exchange and cooperation with the State Parties to the Treaty.
For many years, the regional instability and humanitarian crisis fueled by illicit trafficking and abusing of conventional arms, especially the small arms and light weapons, have constantly attracted extensive attention of the international community. In this context, the effective control of conventional arms becomes ever more prominent on the international agenda for arms control. It is regarded as “disarmament that saves lives” by the UN Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres in his Agenda for Disarmament. This is a proper reflection of the significance for further strengthening conventional arms control in the framework of the UN and in the spirit of multilateralism.
China is pleased to note that in recent five years since the entry into force of the Treaty, all State Parties have earnestly fulfilled their obligations under the Treaty, actively engaged in international cooperation, and made important progresses in regulating international arms trade and combating illicit transfer and trafficking of conventional arms. All these efforts proved conducive to alleviating various concerns caused the proliferation of conventional weapons. China highly appreciates and commends these efforts.
China has always been seriously concerned about the humanitarian problems caused by conventional weapons. We support the international community to take all necessary measures to regulate international arms trade and to combat illicit transfer and trafficking conventional arms. In light of this, the Chinese government established a comprehensive legislative and regulatory mechanism of export control on conventional arms. Most of China’s practice in this regard goes beyond the requirements of the Treaty.
First, China’s arms export policy strictly follows three principles: i) conducive to the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country; ii) 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 excises 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 Chinese Government also participated in relevant international exchanges and cooperation in the field of conventional arms. China has carried out relevant international cooperation and assistance to combat illicit transfer of and trafficking in small arms and light weapons. We shared our policy and experience in various platforms. We provided funds, technology and training to some countries in the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and worked with all Parties to make joint efforts to combat illicit transfer and trafficking of conventional arms.
Conventional arms control is a multifaceted and complex issue, which requires firm commitment to multilateralism by the whole international community and full consideration of various security concerns and legitimate rights of each and every State. The issue should be addressed in a comprehensive manner on the basis of strict compliance with the international law and norms of international relations.
As a responsible member of the international community, China participated in the negotiation process in an active and constructive manner, and made important contributions to the conclusion of the Treaty. Although China is not yet a state party to the Treaty, the Chinese delegation participated as an observer in all the five Conferences of the States Parties. China always dedicated to promoting the effectiveness and universality of the Treaty in its own approach, including seriously studying on its accession to the Treaty.
The Chinese Government is ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with all parties, including the States Parties to the Treaty, with a view to establishing a fair and normative international order of arms trade, eliminating illicit arms transfers, and contributing to the maintenance of international and regional peace and stability.
Thank you, Mr. President.