China calls for more effort in destroying chemical weapons

China called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to pay particular attention to ensuring the destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China.

China yesterday called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to pay particular attention to ensuring the destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China.

Wu Ken, China’s permanent representative to The Hague-based organization, told its 22nd conference of State Parties that the destruction of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons had a direct impact on the realization of the core objects and purposes of a 1997 convention. Its “goal of building a world free from chemical weapons” would never be truly achieved if Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons were not eliminated.  

Japanese weapons have been discovered at over 90 sites in 17 provinces in China. They are projectiles, mortars, aerial bombs, liquid-filled drums and pots containing chemical agents.

They have been found dumped in densely populated areas, in nature reserves and in rivers and lakes, as well as offshore. Due to their age, these munitions are rusty, damaged and often leaking. Some also contain explosives.

At Haerbaling alone, in northeast China’s Jilin Province, the largest Japanese weapons burial site discovered in China up to now, it is estimated that around 330,000 pieces remain buried.

The weapons have been found purely by chance, with consequent human casualties and environmental pollution.

“Japan should bear full responsibility for its failure to complete the destruction according to the timeline specified by the convention,” said Wu.

“China urges Japan to show its political will, honor its obligation under the convention faithfully, implement the relevant decision adopted by the executive council of the OPCW, and increase its inputs in the process, so as to ensure the timely completion of the destruction strictly in line with the new destruction plan adopted by the council,” Wu said.

“China is pleased to see that in the past two decades, the universality of the convention, being part and parcel of the international security regime, has been constantly enhanced. And in fostering international and regional peace and security, and promoting chemical disarmament and non-proliferation, the convention and the OPCW have played an indispensable role, and made remarkable achievements.”

The 1997 convention now has 192 State Parties covering 98 percent of the global population. Ninety-six percent of the world’s declared stockpile of 72,304 tons of chemical agents have been destroyed under the verification of the OPCW, which implements the provisions of convention to achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons and of the threat of their use.

However, Wu said that chemical weapons destruction had not been fully completed, alleged use of chemical weapons had occurred, the risk of non-state actors acquiring and using chemical weapons had increased, and there was a long way to go before the goal of a world free from such weapons was attained.

As a victim of chemical weapons, Wu said, China has always been opposed to their use under any circumstances and for any purpose.

China welcomes the adoption by the OPCW’s executive council of a decision to address the threat posed by the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors, Wu added.

With regard to allegations of the use of such weapons in Syria, China supports the relevant OPCW and UN bodies in conducting full, objective and impartial investigations, and come to conclusions based on solid evidence.

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