China's foreign minister Wang Yi on September 28 claimed that he aims to join an international arms treaty that the United States has abandoned. He further added that it was China's responsibility to take part as a member of the international community. The agreement known as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), was signed by the former US President Barak Obama, however, it was later opposed by the American National Rifle Association (NRA) and other conservative pro-gun groups. Around 100 countries have officially signed the treaty so far and another 29 have signed but have not formally joined.
The signing of the treaty for China is considered to be important for it to actively participate in the governance of the global arms trade. It will also reflect China's determination to support multilateralism as Wang Yi claims that China has always attached great importance to the issue of illegal arms sale and their misuse. He further added that it also supports the purpose and objectives of the treaty. Yi also announced in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly that Beijing had initiated domestic legal procedures to join the Arms Trade Treaty.
“As a responsible member of the international family, China is willing to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with all parties and work together to build a standardized and reasonable arms trade order and make positive contributions to maintaining international and regional peace and stability,” it added.
The United States President Donald Trump claimed earlier in April that he intended to revoke the US signature from the pact which regulates the US $70 billion global trade in conventional arms. Further, the White House reportedly claimed that at that time the ATT would constrain responsible countries while allowing the irresponsible arms trade to continue. The US also withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in August reportedly claiming that the country was planning to deploy weapons in Asia to counter a possible threat from China and Russia. According to the reports, the United States is also the world's largest arms exporter, supplying weapons worth 58% more than those of its nearest competitor, Russia.
(With inputs from agencies)