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Statement by Ambassador WU Haitao at the Security Council Briefing on Small Arms

2017/12/18

I would like to thank the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, for her briefing.

The international security situation is currently undergoing profound and complex changes, with traditional and non-traditional security threats intertwined and the frequent occurrence of regional conflicts and hotspot issues. The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons fuels regional armed conflicts, impedes peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction, facilitates the spread of terrorism and transnational organized crime and is detrimental to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In recent years , the international community has taken a series of measures to address the problem of small arms and light weapons and to achieve progress in that regard. The Security Council has adopted resolutions 2117 (2013) and 2220 (2015) and issued relevant presidential statements, thereby demonstrating the political will of the international community to address this problem. In order to further prevent and combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, China wishes to make the following proposals.

First, we must eliminate the cause of the problem of small arms and light weapons through efforts to achieve peace, cooperation and development. The international community must adhere to political and diplomatic ways as a means to settle disputes and maintain international and regional peace and stability. At the same time, there is a need to strengthen peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction in order to help the countries concerned resume economic development, restore social stability as soon as possible and realize sustainable development. Only by taking a multi-pronged approach to address both the symptoms and the root causes can it be possible to eradicate the problem of small arms and light weapons and build a peaceful and prosperous world without guns and violence.

Secondly, we should give full play to the important leading role of multilateral institutions, including the United Nations. The United Nations has successively adopted the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, thereby providing a policy basis for the international community in its efforts to respond to the problem of small arms and light weapons. It is necessary for all parties to comprehensively and effectively implement the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument to push for further progress in the combat against illicit trade in small arms and light weapons at national, regional and international levels. China pays great attention to the Secretary-General’s latest report on small arms and light weapons (S/2017/1025) and supports the Secretary General, various United Nations agencies, INTERPOL and other multilateral organizations in playing an active role in addressing the problem.

Thirdly, we should strengthen control of small arms and light weapons and enhance international cooperation and assistance in that regard. National Governments bear the primary responsibility in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. They must implement the relevant Security Council resolutions to the letter, adopt responsible arms trade policies, improve laws and regulations and intensify law enforcement to prevent small arms and light weapons from flowing into illegal channels. There is a need to strengthen information exchange and pragmatic cooperation among countries and between countries and international organizations. It is particularly necessary to increase assistance to developing countries to help them enhance their capacity in stock management, marking and tracing, as well as collecting and destroying illegal firearms.

The Chinese Government has always been firmly against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. We have been conscientiously implementing the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument and we have submitted compliance reports on time. China has been steadily strengthening domestic legislation and law enforcement and has supported and taken an active part in international and regional cooperation in combating the illicit trade in firearms.

China has participated in three consecutive conferences of States parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) as an observer. We hope that the ATT will help resolve the problem of the illicit trade in conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons — without prejudice to the sovereignty, security and legitimate national defense needs of countries and without affecting normal and legal arms trade among countries.

The outcome document of the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action in 2016 has laid a sound foundation for the third Review Conference on the Programme of Action, to be held in 2018. China is ready to take an active part in the relevant work within the framework of the United Nations, strive with others for a positive result of the third Review Conference and contribute to the international endeavor for an early solution of the problem of small arms and light weapons.

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