General Statement of the People's Republic of China to the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty
2021-08-30 04:07

At the outset, we would like to congratulate H.E. Ambassador Lansana GBERIE of Sierra Leone on the assumption of the Presidency of the Conference. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Secretariat for the considerate arrangements made for this Conference.

Mr. President,

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 of conventional arms. In light of this and after full assessment, China decided to accede to the ATT one year ago and became a member of the family of States Parties to the ATT. China's accession to the ATT is a significant step of its active participation in the global governance on arms trade as well as maintaining international and regional peace and stability. This fully demonstrates China's determination and sincerity in upholding multilateralism and forging a community with a shared future for mankind.

As a State Party to the ATT, China attaches great importance to and is steadily promoting the implementation of the ATT. First, China adheres to and keeps improving its military export principles, laws and regulations to ensure compliance with the ATT obligations. China's arms export policy will continue to strictly follow 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. China will continue to strictly follow a series of domestic laws and regulations including the Law on the Administration of Firearms, the Regulation on Administration of Military Products Exports and its annexed Military Products Export Control List, and exercises strict and effective control on all arms exports accordingly. In October 2020, China promulgated the Export Control Law which further strengthened the legislative system of export control including military products. Second, China faithfully fulfills its international commitments and strictly abides by the provisions of UN Security Council Resolutions on arms embargo. Third, China will continue to conduct arms trade with sovereign states only, and requires the end-user and end-use certificates from the recipient governments, with commitments not to transfer the arms imported from China to any third party without prior consent of the Chinese Government. Moreover, China does not permit arms exports to non-state actors. Fourth, China will submit the initial report and annual report in accordance with the provision of the ATT on time. Fifth, China is ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with all States Parties with a view to promoting the authority and effectiveness of the treaty.

Mr. President,

Nowadays, geopolitical tensions are escalating, regional conflicts and turbulence fall and rise, terrorism, extremism and organized transnational crimes are yet to be eradicated, and the risks of illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms are still on the increase. Some country, in particular, by abusing arms trade as a political tool, flagrantly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, which undermines international and regional peace and stability. Some country, out of its own interest, constantly breaks its commitments through relaxing its arms export control policies and even revoking its signature to the ATT, which undermines multilateral efforts in regulating conventional arms trade by the international community.

As the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in his disarmament agenda entitled "Securing Our Common Future", the conventional arms control is a part of "disarmament that saves lives". This is a proper reflection of the importance to further strengthen arms control on conventional arms within the framework of multilateralism. As States Parties to the ATT and firm supporters of multilateralism, we should play a greater role in combating illicit trade of conventional arms, with a view to making due contribution to the global governance on security. To this end, China would like to propose the following:

First, enhance the universality and effectiveness of the ATT. As States Parties, we should honor our commitment by implementing the ATT in a faithful, comprehensive and effective manner and realise the purpose and objective of the ATT through concrete actions. We should carry out international cooperation and assistance, and especially help developing countries in capacity building to comply with the ATT. We should conduct more outreach activities to encourage more countries to join the ATT, and get more support for combating illicit arms transfers. China calls upon countries that haven't acceded to the ATT, especially those major arms exporters to join the Treaty as soon as possible.

Second, enhance the interaction and coordination among relevant mechanisms on conventional arms control in the framework of the UN. We should firmly uphold multilateralism and support the UN to play a central role in conventional arms control. Coordination, cooperation and information sharing should be promoted between the ATT and other mechanisms like the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the UN Programme of Action on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) so as to forge an architecture of mutual complement, reinforcement and synergy.

Third, enhance a sense of responsibility in arms trade. To build a community with a shared future for mankind, we should embrace a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and insist on resolving disputes through political and diplomatic means, so as to create conditions to fundamentally address the problem of illicit trade of conventional arms. At the same time, we should take into full consideration the 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. China calls upon all states not to provide arms to non-state actors, stop interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states through arms sales, and earnestly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the ATT.

As a strong defender of world peace and firm supporter of international order, China is ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with all parties, including the States Parties to the ATT, 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.