BEIJING, May 29 -- "The US is the only country that still has stockpiles of chemical weapons. China hopes that the US will fulfill its commitment to complete the destruction of its stockpiles of chemical weapons by this autumn," said a Chinese defense spokesperson on Monday.
Defense Spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei made the remarks when asked to comment on announcement by the US at the Fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on its intention to complete the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile by this autumn.
The spokesperson said that the CWC serves as a crucial foundation for global security governance. The destruction of chemical weapons is both the core objective of the Convention and the foremost obligation of the State Parties. As stipulated by the Convention, the destruction of stockpiled chemical weapons should be completed within 10 years of its enactment in 1997. The repeated delays in the destruction process have severely impeded the uplifting goal of achieving "a world free of chemical weapons" described in the Convention.
The spokesperson pointed out that in the 26 years since the Convention came into effect, over 99% of global chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed, with seven out of eight states declaring stockpiles have completed the destruction. "The US is currently the only country that still maintains stockpiled chemical weapons. China hopes that the US will fulfill its commitments and demonstrate its sincerity through practical actions," added the spokesperson.
"Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the near-complete destruction of global stockpiles of chemical weapons, the destruction process of Japan's abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) in China is severely lagging behind, and the destruction plan has been overdue many times," said the spokesperson, adding that China urges the Japanese side to enhance its sense of urgency and increase investment to destroy the ACWs as early as possible, in a clean and thorough manner.
The spokesperson stressed that China hopes that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the international community will intensify supervision and inspection on the issue of Japan's ACWs in China, in a bid to accelerate the destruction process and remove obstacles to achieving "a world free of chemical weapons".