Destruction of chemical weapons top priority of convention, China says 2008-04-08 20:30:57   Print

    THE HAGUE, April 8 (Xinhua) -- China said Tuesday that the complete destruction of chemical weapons within the deadline remains the top priority of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

    "Total destruction of chemical weapons within the prescribed timelines is the core objective and central task of the convention," Cheng Jingye, head of the Chinese delegation told a review conference of the CWC, which began in The Hague on Monday.

    "Destruction is crucial to the authority and credibility of the convention," he said.

    China called on all possessor countries to complete destruction of their chemical weapons by April 29, 2012, the deadline set by the convention.

    Cheng asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the chemical weapons watchdog, to recognize the importance and complexity of the destruction process.

    Priority should be given to verification on destruction activities when the OPCW allocates human and financial resources and draws up its program of work, he said.

    "The coming years will be crucial as destruction operations peak," said Cheng, head of the arms control department of China's Foreign Ministry.

    He emphasized the importance of the effectiveness of verification. "Efforts to optimize and save resources should not be made at the expense of the effectiveness of verification," he said.

    Cheng also called for more efforts in improving international exchanges and cooperation in the field of chemical activities, claiming that they are important incentives for convention membership.

    "More resources should be allocated and viable programs be formulated to facilitate exchanges and cooperation in an effective and efficient manner," he told the conference.

    He asked Japan to initiate as soon as possible the destruction process for chemical weapons it had abandoned in China.

    Although there has been progress in excavation and recovery of those weapons, not a single piece has been destroyed so far, he said.

    "China urges Japan to faithfully fulfill its obligations under the convention and increase its input, so as to bring about an early start and timely completion of the destruction process."

    The review conference is the second of its kind since the birth of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. It is aimed at taking stock of the operation of the convention in the past five years and aligning implementation with latest scientific developments.

    A new implementation roadmap has been worked out for the following five years.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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