China will join a global pact to regulate arms sales that has been rejected by the United States, with Beijing saying Monday it is committed to efforts to “enhance peace and stability” in the world.
The Communist Party leadership’s top legislative body voted Saturday to adopt a decision on joining the UN Arms Trade Treaty that is designed to control the flow of weapons into conflict zones.
It comes after US President Donald Trump announced plans last year to pull the United States out of the agreement — which entered into force in 2014.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that joining the treaty was “another important measure for China to support multilateralism”.
He added that the country would make a “continuous effort to maintain and enhance peace and stability in the world and region”, and that China has “always strictly controlled the export of military products”.
China only exports such products to sovereign countries and not to non-state actors, Zhao said at a regular briefing.
The US Senate never ratified the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty after former president Barack Obama endorsed it, and Trump has said he would revoke his predecessor’s signature.
It is among a number of international agreements reached under the Obama administration that Trump has moved to pull out of.
The treaty requires member countries to keep records of international transfers of weapons and to prohibit cross-border shipments that could be used in human rights violations or attacks on civilians.
A study in January by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said China is now the second largest arms producer in the world, behind the US.