By Shi Xiaomeng
BEIJING, June 15 (ChinaMil) --"China fully understands the aspiration for security and development of mine-afflicted countries and people, and will earnestly fulfill its international obligations as always, provide help to its best ability, and work with the international community to address humanitarian concerns caused by landmine and other explosives," said Wu Haitao, deputy permanent representative of China to the UN, on June 13.
At the United Nations Security Council briefing on a comprehensive approach to mine action and explosive-hazard threat mitigation on June 13, Wu Haitao pointed out that in many countries and regions that are subject to war or armed conflicts today, landmines and explosives left from warfare are posing a serious threat to the life and property safety of civilians and impeding economic development and social reconstruction.
The improvised explosive device (IED) has become the means for terrorists and extremists to launch terrorist and violent actions in recent years. Strengthening international assistance and cooperation in mine action and effectively mitigating the threat posed by landmines and other explosives to civilians and peacekeepers is an important task, mentioned Wu.
China has attached great importance to humanitarian concerns stemming from the use of IEDs, and is a staunch supporter of international documents such as the Geneva Conventions and the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), said Wu.
China is a full member state of the CCW and its five additional protocols, and has faithfully performed the obligations prescribed therein. China has also maintained close communication and cooperation with contracting parties of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty) all these years, and participated in contracting parties' meetings as an observer state, Wu added.
He also said that China is actively engaged in international humanitarian demining programs and has provided assistance to mine-afflicted countries and victims to its best ability. Since 1998, China has provided humanitarian aid worth over RMB900 billion to nearly 40 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the form of providing mine-clearing equipment, holding technical training and making donations, and has trained about 500 professional mine sweepers.
China believes that to address humanitarian concerns over explosive devices such as landmines, the international community needs to consider the national conditions and needs of mine-affected countries, and continuously improve the ability and competence of countries participating in mine clearance while giving full play to them.
The international community should also uphold the principle of balance and practicality, Wu said. Differences in security environments and military capabilities should be respected, and countries' normal military security needs should be considered while properly addressing humanitarian concerns.
Emphasis must be put on the actual effect of mine-clearing assistance and cooperation, more should be done to enhance the capability of aid recipients, and de-mining efforts should be geared toward countries' self-reliance as opposed to external assistance, Wu Haitao stressed.