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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at Security Council Open Debate on Small Arms
(17 February 2005)

2005/02/17


Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to thank you for arranging this meeting which gives us the opportunity to exchange views on the issue of small arms and light weapons (SALW). I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for his report recently submitted to the Security Council.

In recent years, SALW has increasingly become the focus of international attention. The illicit trafficking and excessive accumulation of such weapons have worsened the armed conflicts in certain countries and regions and disrupted peace processes and the smooth operation of post-conflict reconstruction. They are also closely linked with terrorism, organized crimes, illicit exploration of natural resources and child soldiers, causing political, economic and social damages.

In combating the illicit trafficking of SALW, national governments shoulder the primary responsibilities. And the root cause for this problem can only be removed by reinforcing national legal systems and control mechanisms and imposing strict control on domestic SALW production and trade. At the same time, as SALW have increasingly become a global issue, its appropriate solution cannot be sought without the joint efforts of the international community. It is necessary for all countries to conduct close cooperation at the national, regional and international levels, tighten supervision and control on SALW trade, trace illicit trafficking networks, pool information, and provide the developing countries with necessary financial and technical assistance.

Mr. President,

International efforts on SALW form a most active and productive component part of the current multilateral arms control endeavor. The UN Programme of Action (PoA) against the illicit trade of SALW and Firearms Protocol of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime concluded in 2001 have laid a policy and legal foundation for the settlement of SALW issue, adding a new chapter to the international combat against illicit trafficking of SALW. The follow-up international efforts have witnessed gratifying progress. Countries have attached great importance to the PoA, earnestly implemented various measures, and accumulated valuable experience. On this basis, the United Nations First Biennial Meeting on the implementation of the PoA was held successfully in 2003, vigorously enhancing the comprehensive implementation of the PoA. A wide spectrum of international and regional seminars on SALW has also played an important role in increasing international consensus and expanding the exchange of information.

It is worth mentioning that on the basis of the work of the Group of Governmental Expert (GGE) established by the Secretary-General, the Open-ended Working Group on an International Instrument for the Timely and Reliable Identification and Tracing of Illicit SALW was set up last year and two sessions have been held. The parties involved have had in-depth exchange of views on marking, record-keeping and international tracing cooperation and reached wide consensus. We hope that the Working Group will conclude the new international instruments according to the timetable, which will contribute to more effective strike against illicit trafficking of SALW.

In July this year, we will hold the United Nations Second Biennial Meeting on the implementation of the PoA. And the Review Conference will take place next year. We hope that, based on the previous work, the two important meetings will comprehensively review the implementation of the PoA, exchange views, jointly seek solutions to difficulties and problems, and earnestly enhance national efforts so that countries will implement various measures embodied in the PoA step by step.

Mr. President,

The Security Council has, in recent years, conducted special deliberations on the issue of SALW on many occasions, and emphasized the importance of this issue in seeking solutions to regional conflicts. As a complement to the above international efforts, the Security Council should, within the scope of its mandate, continue to keep its attention on this issue, carry out earnest supervision on the implementation of the relevant arms embargos, and include the contents of DDR in the peace-keeping operation authorization. In addition, the Security Council should also strengthen coordination with General Assembly and other UN bodies in this regard to achieve complementarity.

Mr. President,

China fully supports the efforts against illicit trade of SALW, and has taken an active part in the relevant international efforts. In recent years, China has earnestly implemented the PoA and further improved its relevant legislations. China has already signed the Firearms Protocol, and is now preparing for ratifying and implementing the Protocol, establishing the data base at national level for SALW production, possession and trade, and optimizing its marking system.

China supports the United Nations in playing a leading role in the international efforts to seek solutions to the SALW issue. We have taken an active and constructive part in all the UN GGE meetings on SALW as well as the work of the current Open-ended Working Group on the new international instrument. In April this year, China, Japan and Switzerland, together with the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, will jointly hold an international workshop on SALW in Beijing to enhance the in-depth study on SALW issue and especially in Central and Southeast Asia. China is ready to join the rest of the international community for an early appropriate global solution to the issue of SALW.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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