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UN Seminar on the Issue of Small Arms Held in Beijing

April 19 2005, UN Seminar on the Issue of Small Arms opened in Beijing. Qiao Zonghuai, a senior official with the foreign ministry attended and addressed the seminar. More than 70 officials and scholars from over 30 countries including10 AESAN nations, 5 Central Asian nations, China, the U.S., Russia, U.K., and France, and 10 international, regional and non-governmental organizations including United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, UN Development Programme, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, and Small Arms Survey.

Qiao Zonghuai pointed out in his remarks that it has become an inevitable trend of the time to safeguard world peace, promote common development, and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the new century. However, disputes and conflicts incurred by traditional security factors such as race, religion and territory have never been addressed. Non-traditional security issues are emerging such as transnational crime, epidemic, terrorism, and proliferation of weapons. The harmful impacts brought about by the illegal trafficking and excessive accumulation of small arms cannot be neglected. Cracking down the illegal activities concerning small arms and properly managing the legal production and transfer of small arms and other legal activities concerning small arms is of great significance to maintaining regional peace, stability, and development, restraining rampant transnational organized crimes such as terrorism, smuggling and drug trafficking and alleviating the humanitarian crisis.

Qiao Zonghuai appreciated the international community for a series of effective efforts in combating the illicit trade in small arms in recent years. He stressed that comprehensive measures should be taken to effectively resolve the problem of small arms and the deep-rooted cause must be found out to prevent the proliferation of small arms. The UN should play a leading role in the area and all countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation between the law enforcement agencies such as the police and customs.

Qiao Zonghuai introduced the measures taken by the Chinese government in strengthening the management over the production, holding and export of small arms and stated that China will, as always, commit itself to the multilateral efforts in combating the illicit trade in small arms and that China is willing to work with the international community to deal with the challenge brought about by illegal small arms and will strive to fulfill the objective of eradicating the illicit trade in small arms.

UN Seminar on the Issue of Small Arms was initiated by China and co-organized by UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, Japan and Switzerland. UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe attended and addressed the opening ceremony. During the 3-day meeting, the participants carried out in-depth discussions on a series of topics concerning problems and challenges in combating the illicit trade in small arms, execution of UN Programme of Action on small arms, identification and investigation of illegal small arms, the regional cooperation and multilateral efforts in combating the illicit trade in small arms.

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