China joins UN arms trade treaty to enhance world peace and stability

The top legislative body of the Communist Party of China voted on June 20 to adopt a decision on joining the UN Arms Trade Treaty that has been designed to control the flow of weaponry on the conflict zones.

Created On: Jun 24, 2020 12:03 IST
China joins Arms trade treaty
China joins Arms trade treaty

The People’s Republic of China has decided to join the UN Arms Trade Treaty which is a global pact to regulate arms sales in the world. While announcing the news, the Chinese government mentioned that it has been committed to efforts to enhance peace and stability in the world.

The top legislative body of the Communist Party voted on June 20 to adopt a decision on joining the UN Arms Trade Treaty that has been designed to control the flow of weaponry on the conflict zones.

The UN Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the arms sales was rejected by the United State’s President Donald Trump, who in 2019 had decided to pull the US out of the agreement. The country had come into force with the treaty in 2014.

China on joining UN Arms Trade Treaty:

Zhao Lijiah, spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry informed that joining the treaty was another important measure for China to support multilateralism. He further added that the country will make continuous efforts to maintain and enhance peace and stability in the region and the world and that China has always strictly controlled the export of military products. He mentioned that China only exports such products to the sovereign countries and not to the non-state actors.

As per the study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, after the United States, China is the second-largest arms producer in the world.

What is the UN Arms Trade Treaty?

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) came into force on December 4, 2014. It is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons with an aim of contributing to international and regional peace, responsible action by and among the states, promoting cooperation and transparency and reduce human suffering.

The ATT was first negotiated in New York City at the global conference under United Nations from 2 July to 27 July 2012. As it was impossible to reach an agreement on a final text at that time, a new meeting to come to a conclusion was scheduled for March 28 to 28, 2013.

The Arms Trade Treaty was finally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on April 2, 2013.

The treaty, however, does not place restrictions on types and quantities of arms that are sold, brought, or possessed by the states. The UN ATT also does not impact the state’s domestic gun control laws or any other firearm ownership policies.

As per the latest data, International weapons commerce globally has estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.

Objective of the Arms Trade Treaty:

The treaty aims at establishing common standards for the international trade of weapons. It aims at reducing human suffering that is caused by irresponsible and illegal arms transfers. Apart from improving regional stability and security, it also aims at promoting accountability and transparency by the state parties that are involved in transferring conventional arms.

Why India is not a part of the Arms Trade Treaty?

As soon as the ATT process was started, India had maintained that such as treaty must make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms as well as in their illicit use by the terrorists and other unlawful and unauthorized non-state actors.

However, as per the Indian government, the draft treaty that has been annexed to the resolution is weak on non-state actors and terrorism and these provisions have not found a mention in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty.

Indian also cannot accept that the treaty is used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states against importing states parties without consequences.

United States pulling out of the treaty:

The 2013 Arms Trade Treaty was not ratified by the US Senate after the former President Barack Obama had endorsed it. President Trump had clarified that he would revoke his predecessor’s signature.

The treaty was among a number of international agreements under the Obama administration that Trump had decided to pull out of.

Countries part of the UN Arms Trade Treaty:

105 states have ratified to the ATT, as of September 2019. These countries include 5 of the world’s top 10 arms producers. The 5 states part of the treaty are:


United Kingdom




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