Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks on Wednesday at the United Nations. [Photo/China Daily]
In his speech at the General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China is going through the relevant domestic legal procedures for accession to the Arms Trade Treaty.
This is a major step in China's active participation in global arms trade governance as well as a significant contribution to the international arms trade regime. It will have a far-reaching influence on safeguarding international and regional peace and stability and upholding the spirit of multilateralism.
The treaty, which sets international standards for regulating the trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to military aircraft, was adopted at the 67th UN General Assembly in 2013. It came into effect on Dec 24, 2014, and has 104 signatory states.
For a long time, smuggling and the abuse of conventional weapons, especially small arms, have posed a severe threat to international peace and security. This is especially true after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 as the limitations of the related international mechanism have constrained the international community responding effectively to non-traditional security threats.
China recognizes the purpose and objectives of the Arms Trade Treaty and supports the international efforts to regulate the international arms trade and combat the illicit transfer of conventional arms.
China's resolve to join the treaty will further strengthen international supervision over conventional arms and enhance the world's capability to combat the illegal arms trade.
China's decision is in stark contrast to the approach of the US, as the US government announced earlier this year that it would withdraw the US from the Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed by then US president Barack Obama in 2013, but not ratified by the US Congress.
With the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China drawing near, China's announcement that it will join the treaty as soon as possible and work with other countries to support the purposes and objectives of the treaty, is a gift for multilateral diplomacy on this important occasion.