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US can't dodge the bullet of illicit guns: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-09-27 19:47

The manufacturing and trafficking of illicit firearms not only causes enormous civilian casualties, it also has obvious spillover effects such as exacerbating regional instability and fueling terrorism and transnational organized crimes.

While it is one of the safest countries in the world with the least gun-related violent crimes, China is willing to use its ratification of the Firearms Protocol as a chance to work with all parties so that concerted efforts can be made to address the global problem of gun proliferation.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China has launched the domestic procedure to ratify the United Nations' Firearms Protocol in a speech at the general debate of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition is the only legally binding instrument at the global level to counter the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms, their parts, components and ammunition.

It aims to curb the manufacturing of illicit firearms and prevent the diversion of legally manufactured guns into the illegal circuit, as well as facilitating the investigation and prosecution of related offenses without hampering legitimate transfers.

China is firmly opposed to the illegal manufacture and trafficking of firearms and actively supports the international multilateral process of light arms control. It has always taken a prudent and responsible attitude toward military exports, strictly abides by its international obligations and does not transfer firearms to non-state actors.

China has faithfully fulfilled its obligations under the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons as well as the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. It has actively participated in activities initiated by the World Customs Organization and Interpol to counter gun smuggling. And in July 2020, China formally acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty.

At present, the global gun epidemic is still serious. Governments of all countries should fulfill their responsibilities, strengthen domestic gun control and enhance international coordination and cooperation.

The United States not only has the world's largest number of private gun owners and a serious domestic gun violence problem, it is also the world's largest source of smuggled guns. The US has refused to accede to the Firearms Protocol and other international legal instruments on gun control, and refrained from signing the Arms Trade Treaty, seriously undermining the efforts of the international community to regulate the conventional arms trade.

To build a peaceful and safe world free from gun violence, the US is obligated to play its part in curbing gun proliferation.

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