Copyright 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation All Rights Reserved BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific -
Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring
December 6, 2006 Wednesday
LENGTH: 586 words
Chinese envoy urges destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles
Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New
China News Agency)
The Hague, 5 December: China on
Tuesday [5 December] reaffirmed its commitment to promote the implementation of
the treaty banning chemical weapons worldwide and called on
countries concerned to destroy all chemical weapons stockpiles
by the 2012 deadline. The calls were made by Xue Hanqin, China's permanent
representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW), while addressing an annual meeting of the signatory states
of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague on
The treaty has played a crucial role in
banning and destroying chemical weapons and in preventing
their proliferation since its entry into force on April 29, 1997, said Xue, who
is also Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands. And China is always committed to
the purpose and principles of the convention and has honoured its obligations,
she said. China attaches great importance to the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and has adopted an export control regime, which
is strictly enforced, she added.
Noting that the early
and complete destruction of chemical weapons is the
fundamental goal set by the CWC, Xue expressed her regret that some countries
are falling behind the destruction schedule prescribed in the document. "China
believes that the destruction of all chemical weapons
stockpiles in line with the timetable is a matter that has some bearing on the
authority and credibility of the CWC," she said. "The possessor states should...
[ellipsis as received] speed up their destruction process and make sure that all
their chemical weapons are destroyed before the deadline
expires," the Chinese envoy said.
According to the CWC,
signatory states should destroy all their chemical weapons by
29 April, 2007. If there is difficulty in meeting the requirement, the deadline
could be extended only once, by five years.
Five of the
six countries, including such major possessors of chemical
weapons as the United States and Russia, have asked to extend the deadline
to 29 April, 2012. Whether or not to grant them the extension will be one of the
key topics at the annual meeting of the signatories.
Xue called for enhanced international cooperation in the chemical
field, saying it could play a positive role in promoting regular trade among
signatories. Xue also urged Japan to step up its effort and increase its input
in the disposal of chemical weapons it abandoned in China
during the World War II, as they pose grave threats to both the security of
human lives and the ecological environment. Despite some positive progress in
the disposal of such abandoned weapons thanks to the cooperation between the two
countries, "the substantive destruction process is yet to start," she said.
The CWC is an international disarmament treaty which bans
the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons. It currently has 181 signatory countries,
representing about 98 per cent of the global population. The OPCW, with its
headquarters in The Hague, is mandated to oversee the implementation of the chemical weapons treaty.
In the past
nine years, 22 per cent of the world's declared stockpile of approximately
71,000 metric tons of chemical agents have been verifiably destroyed, and 57 of
the 65 declared chemical weapons production facilities have
been either destroyed or converted into the use for peaceful purposes.
Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0323 gmt 6