|Statement by H.E. Mr. Cheng Jingye, Head of the Chinese Delegation, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the 10th Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II|
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of this Conference.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of Amended Protocol II (AP II) to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Over the past ten years, the universality of the Protocol has been continuously enhanced, and obligations of the Protocol been effectively implemented. Relevant international exchanges and cooperation have been constantly strengthened. The above-mentioned facts demonstrate that the fundamental principle and effective approach of properly resolving arms control issues with humanitarian aspect is to pursue widely participated consultations on an equal footing within the framework of the CCW, and address the military needs and humanitarian concerns in a balanced manner. This principle and approach are worth strictly adhering to.
The Chinese Government has all along attached great importance to the humanitarian concerns related to landmines, and has invested a great amount of human and material resources in implementing AP II with view to fulfilling its obligations comprehensively and faithfully. Over the past year, China has made following new progress in implementing AP II:
The Chinese Armed Forces integrated relevant provisions of AP II into the latest version of the Military Training and Assessment Outline of the Army. It is a compulsory requirement for all recruits of the Army to study AP II. The Armed Forces also held a workshop in the National Defense University to promote the awareness of obligations of AP II among high and middle ranking commanders from various services of the Armed Forces.
China has vigorously carried out demining operations along the land border between China and Vietnam, in an effort to clear the passage for boundary demarcation. In recent years, an area of 2,240,000 square meters has been cleaned. The Chinese Armed Forces has continued destructing old and obsolete anti-personnel mines that do not meet the technical requirements of AP II. The Armed Forces has endeavored to improve destruction technology, and has developed equipments exclusively for disassembly and destruction of landmines. Training of technical personnel in this regard has also be strengthened. The Armed Forces has continued R&D of alternative weapons to anti-personnel mines. At present, several alternative weapons are undergoing testing, evaluation and assessment as planned.
China has actively participated in international exchanges and cooperation in the field of landmines. The Chinese Armed Forces translated the second version of the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) into Chinese. China’s demining specialists are studying the IMAS and incorporating it into China’s demining practices with the aim of further improving China’s humanitarian demining standard.
From October to December 2007, the Chinese Government held a humanitarian demining training course for Angola, Chad, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, and donated demining equipments to these five countries. In 2008, China continues providing demining assistance to several developing countries within its capability. From April to May 2008, the Chinese Government held a humanitarian demining training course for both North and South Sudan, and will donate demining equipments to each side. China has also provided Peru, Ecuador, and Ethiopia with mine action funds, and will donate demining equipments to Egypt by the end of this year.
The Chinese delegation supports your proposal on holding annual meeting of experts group to discuss how to strengthen the implementation of AP II. We are of the view that the experts group should focus on resolving the problems and challenges faced by High Contracting Parties in implementing the Protocol and promoting exchanges of relevant experiences, rather than distract itself by issues beyond the implementation of the Protocol.
Addressing the humanitarian concerns related to landmines remains a long-term task, and requires concerted efforts by the international community. China is willing to work with all parties hand in hand to continuously promote the implementation of AP II, enhance the universality of it, strengthen relevant international assistance and cooperation, and make unremitting efforts to eliminate harms caused by landmines to civilians at an early date.
Thank you, Mr. President.