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China Takes Principled Stance on Illegal Arms Trade Accusation
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China on Thursday declared its strong objection to US claims that it is involved in the illegal arms trade.

"Some countries have sought to paint China's normal arms trade links with other countries as being akin to military smuggling," the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

Liu responded to a question regarding a US claim that its troops found Chinese-made missiles in Iraq after they were smuggled in from Iran.

"This has misled public opinion and has ulterior motives. We are strongly dissatisfied and are firmly opposed to such statements being made," Liu said.

Liu reiterated that China has always maintained a prudent and responsible approach towards any arms exports and imposes rigid self-control according to China's international obligations and domestic laws, said Liu.

"China adheres to three principles when selling armaments: enhancing the self-defense capability of importing countries, not posing a threat to regional and global peace, security and stability and not interfering with the internal affairs of other countries," he said.

The spokesman also explained that China only exports arms to sovereign states and prevents its arms being transferred to third-party countries without the Chinese government's permission. China has also set up a system to clarify the identity of end users of its exported arms, he said.

China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, clearly understands its responsibilities in maintaining regional and international peace and security, Liu said.

The country has pragmatically carried out relevant UN resolutions and has never sold embargoed arms to countries or regions under a UN Security Council arms embargo, the spokesman said.

In this way, China has enjoyed a normal arms trade with many countries in line with these principles, Liu said, adding the trade is carried out in a manner not only compliant with Chinese policies and regulations on the arms trade but also with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The spokesman stressed China has always actively participated in the reconstruction of Iraq, and has made concerted efforts for the region's peace and stability.

"Irresponsible rebukes cannot help to resolve problems," the spokesman said, calling on parties concerned to enhance cooperation and make joint efforts to safeguard international and regional peace.

China stands ever ready to help bring peace, stability and economic development to Iraq, in close partnership with the international community, he said.

Showing particular concern for the exports of small arms and conventional weapons, China promulgated the Law on Control of Guns in July 1996, issued regulations on the Administration of Arms Export in October 1997 and started amending the regulations from October 2002, proving its track record and positive attitude.

According to the regulations, only licensed enterprises are allowed to become part of the arms trade, and their export items and contracts must be thoroughly checked by related official departments. Weapon producers should offer valid certificates from import countries, including those of end users.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2007)

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