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China to Join Fight Against Illegal Weapons Trade

China will work with the international community to eliminate illegal trade in small arms and light weapons, said Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai at Tuesday's opening ceremony of a UN workshop under way in Beijing.

The three-day United Nations Workshop on Small Arms and Light Weapons is organized by the Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific of the Department for Disarmament Affairs. About 70 government officials and scholars from more than 30 countries and another 10 international, regional and nongovernmental organizations are attending.

Participants are discussing the issues and challenges of fighting the illegal trade in small arms, with a special focus on Central Asia and South-East Asia.

Qiao noted that both traditional and non-traditional threats to global security still exist, and the harm caused by illegal sales of small arms such as machine guns, rifles, grenades and pistols, should not be ignored.

He expressed China's appreciation for the efforts made by the international community in recent years to combat the illicit trade in small arms, saying that the UN should continue to play a leading role in this process and all countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation in their policing and customs.

Nobuyasu Abe, United Nations undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs, also spoke at the opening ceremony.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2005)

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