Geneva, 24 November 2008
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of this meeting. I am convinced that with your outstanding abilities and experience, you will guide our meeting to success.
Since its entry into force in 1999, the Ottawa Convention has made an important contribution to addressing the humanitarian concerns caused by Anti-Personnel Landmines (APLs).
The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the humanitarian concerns arising from APLs, and has supported the efforts of the international community to resolve these concerns. China endorses the purposes and objectives of the Convention, and appreciates the humanitarian spirit reflected therein. Although not yet a state party to the Convention, in recent years China has consistently voted in favour of the resolution on the implementation of the Ottawa Convention at the UN General Assembly, which fully reflects the recognition and attention that China gives to the important status and role of the Convention.
As a High Contracting Party to the Amended Protocol on Landmines of the CCW, China has always faithfully fulfilled the various obligations contained in the Protocol, and our existing landmines have met all of the standards in the Technical Annex of the Protocol. The Chinese military have destroyed and disposed of numerous old and out-dated APLs which did not meet the technical requirements of the Protocol, and have developed special equipment for the destruction and dismantling of landmines in an effort to improve the technology for destruction.
China has exercised extreme restraint in the export of APLs and in fact stopped exporting them a long time ago.
Since the 1990s, China has conducted large-scale demining activities in the border areas, and has basically eliminated the scourge of landmines in our territories. China's demining personnel have accumulated rich experience in practice, and have successfully developed a generation of reliable, easily operable and cost-effective demining equipment.
Since 1998, through various means such as donation of funds, hosting technical training courses, providing demining equipment, dispatching of peace-keeping military engineers and expert groups, the Chinese government has provided more than a dozen of countries in Asia and Africa with demining assistance, which has been greatly appreciated by the recipient countries. From October to December last year, the Chinese government held technical courses on humanitarian demining for Angola, Chad, Burundi, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique and donated to them some demining equipments. From April to May this year, the Chinese government organized technical training courses on humanitarian demining for the North and South of Sudan and donated some equipment. This year, China provided funds for mine actions to Peru, Ecuador and Ethiopia and will donate some demining equipments to Egypt.
The Chinese military has translated the second version of the International Mines Actions Standards (IMAS) into Chinese, and have organized its study by demining specialists so as to further improve China's standards for humanitarian demining in the light of its own demining practice.
China is always committed to the maintenance of world peace and the promotion of common development of all countries. China sincerely hopes to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the state parties of the Convention, relevant international organizations and NGOs, and to continuously promote international mine actions, so as to contribute our share to the reduction of civilian damages caused by APLs in the world and to the progress of economic and social development in the regions and countries concerned.
Thank you, Mr. President.