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National compliance key to biological weapons ban: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2023-08-08 20:50
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Cluster bombs used by the US forces during Vietnam War are displayed in the Engineers Museum in the capital Hanoi, Vietnam, on July 14, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

With the Ukraine crisis having led to talk about the possibility of using unconventional weapons, the second meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention, which takes place from Monday to Aug 18 in Geneva, is an important gathering to discuss national implementations regarding the convention.

As of February this year, 185 countries have become party to the treaty that entered into force in 1975. However, it is a fact that the convention's effectiveness has been limited due to insufficient institutional support and the absence of any formal verification regime to monitor compliance.

China firmly supports the purposes and objectives of the convention, strictly fulfills its obligations under the convention, and actively participates in and supports multilateral processes to enhance the effectiveness of the convention. The country is deeply involved in global biosecurity governance, and actively contributes Chinese wisdom and offers Chinese solutions, which is aligned with the Global Security Initiative it has put forward, to promote the implementation of the convention.

Beijing advocates strengthening the convention, and vigorously promotes the establishment of a verification mechanism through multilateral negotiations to ensure compliance with the convention. It stands for the prohibition and destruction of all weapons of mass destruction, including biological weapons, and firmly opposes the proliferation of biological weapons and their technologies.

In April 2021, the Biosafety Law of China came into effect, providing stronger legal and institutional guarantees for China's implementation of the convention. The country has also actively advocated for the negotiation and formulation of an international convention on combating acts of biological and chemical terrorism to plug the loopholes in international law.

China also actively supports strengthening the review of the development of biotechnology under the framework of the convention, promoting responsible biological research, and formulating necessary voluntary codes of conduct. It has played an indispensable role in facilitating the formation and release of Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists in 2021.

Plus, in response to the call of developing countries for sharing the dividends of scientific and technological development in biology and other fields, China has also submitted its proposal for Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses under the Framework of the Biological Weapons Convention to the United Nations. That it has been adopted as a resolution of the UN General Assembly for two consecutive years shows the important role China plays in promoting dialogue and cooperation in the crucial field to prevent it from becoming a new area for major power contest at the cost of less-developed countries.

As such, China will continue to play a key role in the ongoing meeting in Geneva, working with the international community to promote global biosafety governance, and making greater contributions to universal security and common development.

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