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China pushes for landmine elimination
Updated: 2004-12-04 00:10

The Chinese Government "endorses the purposes and objectives of the Ottawa Convention."

What's more, the country is willing to do its part to quickly solved problems connected to landmines, a senior official said in Nairobi Friday.

While addressing the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World held from Monday to Friday, Liu Jieyi, head of the Chinese Observer Delegation, said the Ottawa Convention represents another important international effort to address the acute problems caused by anti-personnel landmines.

The convention, which became effective on March 1, 1999 and has been formally ratified by 144 states, seeks to end the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines by prohibiting their use, requiring the destruction of existing stockpiles, and obliging states to clear mined areas and assist victims.

China fully appreciates and has supported international efforts to resolve problems caused by landmines, Liu said.

"People command first priority" is a philosophy deeply rooted in Chinese history, said Liu, adding that the Chinese Government endorses the convention's purposes and objectives although China hasn't signed the treaty.

Being director-general of the Arms Control and Disarmament Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Liu said the Chinese Government has made unremitting efforts to help mine-afflicted countries through various programmes in practical ways, which are fully in line with the spirit enshrined in the Ottawa Convention signed in 1997.

According to Liu, in the 1990s, the Chinese Government carried out large-scale de-mining operations in areas along the border and basically eliminated landmine problems on its territory, which provided the local communities with a safe living and working environment.

In addition, Chinese military authorities have recently launched a new round of de-mining operation in areas where border demarcation is in progress.

Since 1998, the Chinese Government has actively contributed to mine actions in around 10 countries in Asia and Africa by providing funds, de-mining equipment and training programmes.

In recent years, China has stepped up its co-operation with relevant institutions of the United Nations by joining the Mine Action Supporting Group and participating in the UN landmine policy review process.

Earlier this year, the Chinese Government and the Australian Network of International Campaign to Ban Landmines co-sponsored a workshop in Kunming, capital city of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. The workshop was highly successful in promoting exchanges and co-operation between major donors and mine-affected countries.

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