China on Monday urged Japan as well as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to further cooperate in destroying the abandoned chemical weapons in China.
"The issue of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China remains one of China's major concerns," said Zhu Zushou, the Hague-based ambassador from China, at the sixth conference of the state parties of the convention of the prohibition of chemical weapons.
"The abandoned chemical weapons have been and still are a serious threat to the ecological environment and the lives and property of the Chinese people."
He said that China had provided active cooperation during the OPCW field inspections to China while Japan, as the country that had abandoned chemical weapons in other countries, needs furthering its efforts to find and destroy the weapons.
"In contrast with the urgency of eliminating the serious threat of the abandoned chemical weapons and the requirement of the convention, the destruction process is lagging behind. The Chinese government strongly urges Japan to fulfill its due obligations under the convention and initiate the destruction process without further delay," the Chinese delegate stressed.
China reiterated the significance of the convention that is already four years old and has by now 143 signatory countries.
The Chinese delegate described the convention as "a milestone" in the field of international disarmament and arms control. "The four years of implementation witnessed positive development and laid sound foundation for the comprehensive prohibition and thorough elimination of chemical weapons that is the most significant object of the OPCW."
He also pointed out some other problems the convention and OPCW are facing now, like the fact that some countries have still not joined the convention, the lack of financial support in the destruction of chemical weapons and slow progress in international cooperation in the chemical industry due to the discriminatory mechanism by certain signatory states.
China promised to continue its contribution by earnestly fulfilling the convention and cooperating with other signatory states so as to get rid of the threat of the weapons of mass destruction and to make sure that the chemical technology can eventually be harnessed for the benefit of the mankind.
(People's Daily 05/15/2001)