The Chinese delegation welcomes you and the two Coordinators to continue to preside over this session of the Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE). We would like to assure you our continued full support and cooperation.
On the issue of MOTAPM, we share a common objective in principle to seek an appropriate solution. Through five years' strenuous efforts, the GGE has achieved some progress, but there is still a long way to go before the ultimate goal can be achieved.
The Chinese delegation is of the view that the reason why the issue of MOTAPM remains unsolved for such a long time is quite complicated. One of the most important causes is that there exist divergent views among us with regard to the concept and approach of addressing the problem. To resolve such divergence, it is necessary to review the following basic facts:
Firstly, the humanitarian concerns caused by MOTAPM are by no means comparable with those caused by Anti-Personnel Landmines (APL).
Secondly, as legitimate and effective weapons for national defense, MOTAPM still have important military utility. Many countries use MOTAPM for border defense, including the preventing of terrorists from crossing the border, so as to safeguard social stability and people's security. This itself is an important humanitarian concern.
Thirdly, the Amended Protocol II (APII) of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) has adopted appropriate, rational and effective provisions on MOTAPM. Should the APII be universally and strictly observed, the issue of MOTAPM can be properly addressed.
Fourthly, due to different security environment, military doctrines and economic and technological capabilities among various countries, there exists vast divergence on proposals concerning technical specifications about detectability and self-destruction, self-neutralization and self-deactivation of MOTAPM.
Fifthly, the humanitarian concerns caused by MOTAPM can be addressed through multiple approaches instead of in a single way.
Therefore, China believes that to achieve substantive progress on the issue of MOTAPM, it is necessary to, on the basis of respecting the above-mentioned facts, balance the humanitarian concerns with the legitimate military needs of various countries, while taking into account the difference among countries in terms of economic and technological capabilities. At the same time, the entrenched way of thinking should be changed so that all possible proposals can be considered in a comprehensive and open manner to seek pragmatic and feasible solutions that are acceptable to all parties concerned.
China fully understands the humanitarian concerns caused by MOTAPM, and has always adopted a pragmatic attitude in the discussions with other parties to explore proper solutions to the issue. China has put forward many constructive proposals in this regard. It is a pity that these proposals have not received due attentions from certain parties.
However, China is still sincerely looking forward to resolving the issue of MOTAPM. To further promote the current process, China is proposing a package solution to the issue of MOTAPM during this session of the GGE (See the relevant Working Paper submitted by China). This package solution has incorporated many elements from the "30-Nations Proposal", the German proposal on sensitive fuzes, the Irish proposal on MOTAPM laid outside perimeter-marked area as well as the Coordinator's Papers. In a spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences, this package solution provides different ways for the following three categories of issues:
For those issues which are closely related to humanitarianism and enjoy greater common understanding, such as post-conflict demining, protection of civilians, warning and mine risk education, international cooperation and assistance, China puts forward concrete measures on the basis of the Coordinator's Paper and in accordance with current consensus.
On such issues as restrictions on the transfer of MOTAPM, restrictions on the irresponsible use of MOTAPM and sensitive fuzes, there are still divergent views and China also has difficulty in accepting relevant formulations in the Coordinator's Paper. China, however, is ready to make certain compromise so as to promote the discussion process on the issue of MOTAPM with a view to achieving consensus.
For such highly controversial issues as detectability, self-destruction, self-neutralization and self-deactivation, some existing proposals and technical parameters will give rise to great economic and technical difficulties to many developing countries, including China. China will not undertake obligations that it cannot fulfill. However, to exert maximum flexibility, China's package solution proposes several options to address the problems and each country can adopt one or more options in conformity with its own national situation.
It should be pointed out that this package solution is a great compromise made by the Chinese side for the sake of consensus. We hope that other parties could seriously and realistically consider China's proposal in the same spirit and grasp this precious opportunity for reaching consensus.
Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher and the founder of Daoism, said in his classical works of Dao De Jing (The Classic of the Way and its Virture), "He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches too far does not cover long distance." On the issue of MOTAPM, there exist three choices:
The first one is to seek a solution that seems to have met high standards and have achieved great progress which, however, will be difficult to implement universally and effectively.
The second one is to insist on each other's positions and keep quarreling, with a possible scenario of a fruitless meeting in the end.
The third one is to reach a down-to-earth and feasible solution by seeking common ground while shelving difference.
Choice is in our own hands. For the coming discussions on the issue of MOTPAM, China would like to propose the following three suggestions:
Firstly, the current mandate of the GGE should be strictly abided by. The GGE's mandate of this year is "to consider all proposals on MOTAPM put forward since the establishment of the GGE with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations on MOTAPM for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention". This mandate is appropriate, reasonable, practical and realistic, which not only reflects the present status of the discussions in the GGE on this issue, but is also the common understanding forged by all parties after careful consideration. Undoubtedly, the GGE should conduct its work strictly in line with this mandate. Any deviation from this mandate or any efforts to change the mandate will do no one's good, rather, it will seriously disturb the substantive work of the GGE.
Secondly, since the GGE is mandated "to consider all proposals on MOTAPM", we hope that the Coordinator will incorporate all proposals, including any new proposals to be put forward during this session of the GGE, into the Coordinator's Paper in a more comprehensive, objective and timely manner.
Thirdly, the CCW spirit should be persevered and the solution to the issue of MOTAPM should be reached by consensus, which has been confirmed in the Rules of Procedures of the Meetings of States Parties. Only by observing the principle of seeking common ground while shelving differences and through deep and sufficient democratic discussions to reach consensus, can we ensure the feasibility and universality of the ultimate solution and the smooth implementation of it. This is also the key for the CCW process in keeping its vitality and making constant progress.
This session of the GGE is also mandated to continue its discussions on preventive technical measures for sub-munitions. The Chinese delegation appreciates the efforts made by the Coordinator of ERW to promote relevant discussions and is ready to participate in the coming discussions. It should be pointed out that the ERW Protocol has covered general preventive measures aimed at improving the reliability of munitions, which will be conducive to addressing the humanitarian problems caused by munitions, including sub-munitions. The pressing task ahead is to enhance the universality of the Protocol and to ensure its effective implementation.
The Chinese Government is actively working on the preparation for ratification of the Protocol. The internal coordinating work concerning the ratification of the Protocol goes fairly smoothly.
The Chinese delegation would also like to thank you for your efforts in promoting the discussions on the issue of compliance. We have carefully studied your latest proposal in this regard. China supports the suggestion to extend the compliance mechanism, namely, the mechanism of consultations, clarification and cooperation, in the Amended Protocol II to the whole Convention. As far as the idea of establishing a "Compliance Committee" is concerned, since it will involve complex legal and political problems that are difficult to resolve, it is not a practical and feasible solution. China is ready to listen to the views from other parties and participate in further discussions on this issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.