9 July 2001, New York
At the outset, I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, our sincere congratulations to Ambassador …, representative of Columbia to United Nations Office in Geneva, on his election to the chairmanship of this conference. I am confident that with his rich diplomatic experience and outstanding leadership, he will surely be able to guide this conference to success. At the same time, I am very also glad to see you here today chairing this meeting. The Chinese Delegation will cooperate closely with the chair and other members of the Bureau, to make its own contribution to the full success of this conference.
The issue of the illicit trade of small arms has gained ever wider attention in the international community in recent years. The illegal trade and excess accumulation of small arms has been an aggravating factor to warfare and disturbance in relevant countries and regions, undermining postwar reconstruction efforts as well as giving rise to a variety of humanitarian problems. Moreover, it has fueled terrorism, drug trafficking, smuggling and other forms of crimes, thus seriously compromising social security and stability. China has always had a deep concern about the harms caused by the illicit trade of small arms to some developing countries, fully understands their desire and demand for a hard strike on this kind of activity and is supportive to strengthening cooperation in this regard in the international community.
Relevant countries, regional organizations and the United Nations have made unremitting efforts and achieved considerable progress towards a solution for the issue of the illicit trade of small arms. For each of the past years since 1995, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution pertaining to the issue of small arms and established a panel of government experts on small arms mandated by the resolution. The UN Conference on Disarmament has also provided many useful proposals regarding the issues such as the standardization of the transfer of small arms and other conventional arms. Particularly, many African, Latin American and Asian countries as well as relevant regional organizations, proceeding from the realities of their respective regions, have worked very hard to seek solutions for the issue of illicit trade of small arms in their own regions or countries and effective measures have been worked out to this end. With the participation of all countries, the Firearms Protocol annexed to the UN Convention on Fighting Against Trans-national Organized Crimes has been reached smoothly in Vienna. We hope that this document, which provides the legal basis for cracking on the illegal production and trafficking of firearms, will enter into effect at an early date.
The prevention and elimination of the illicit trade of small arms will help promote sound solutions for regional conflicts, contribute to regional peace and stability and conform to the common interests of all nations. The solution of the issue of the illicit trade of small arms involves many factors, such as disarmament, security, development and humanitarian issues. Therefore, we believe, a rational solution should be found by strengthening efforts at the national, regional and international levels.
First, based on their respective realities, countries should formulate and improve their legislations on the production, possession and the stockpiling of small arms and take practical measures to ensure strict enforcement and prevent the legally-produced small arms from ending up in the hands of the illegal processors and users.
Second, countries and regions should step up their cooperation and coordination in the process of fighting against the illicit trade of small arms. In this regard, priority should be given to boosting exchange and cooperation between police, customs and border inspection and protection authorities. Regions may also take coordinated action and formulated unified measures, if necessary, in accordance with the regional situation.
Third, the international community should give more support to efforts by countries and regions in their fight against the illicit trade of small arms. And the United Nations and other relevant international organizations have an important role to play in this aspect.
Fourth, the issue of the illicit trade of small arms should be addressed both at the surface and root levels, so to speak. At the same time when the international community is seeking to end tensions and conflicts in relevant countries and regions, it should also make vigorous efforts to help those countries to develop their economy, eradicate poverty and realize sustainable development and endurable peace and stability, so as to uproot the illicit trade of small arms from its breeding ground.
Fifth, state sovereignty of countries should be respected and their right to the legal production, possession and transfer of small arms should not be compromised.
China is firmly against the illicit trade of small arms. And it has all along adopted a responsible attitude towards the production and transfer of small arms and has formulated strict laws and administrative regulations in this regard. At the same time, China has always been an active supporter to efforts by the international community against the illicit trade of small arms. China has participated in the work of the UN panel of government experts on small arms, taken an active part in the negotiations on the Firearms Protocol and worked together with relevant countries of our region to make in-depth explorations for a solution to the issue of the illicit trade of small arms. In accordance with the Beijing Declaration, which was adopted at the China-Africa Forum on Cooperation Ministerial Meeting--Beijing 2000, China and African countries will strengthen their cooperation in stopping the illegal proliferation, transfer and trafficking of small and light arms.
The UN Conference on Issues Relating to the Illicit Trade of Small Arms offers a good opportunity for the international community to further coordinate and strengthen efforts against the illicit trade of small arms. Its convocation has fully demonstrated the political will and firm resolve of the international community in this regard. The Programme of Action to be adopted at this conference is bound to provide important guidance for efforts by the international community in this field. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Ambassador … of Mozambique, chairman of the preparatory committee of this conference for the outstanding job he has done. The draft programme of action he has proposed is a well-balanced representation of the major positions and concerns of all sides and has therefore laid a very good foundation for the discussions of this conference. We hope that it will be adopted without major modifications by the conference by consensus.
China attaches high importance to this conference and is willing to work with all sides for its complete success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.