China wants to join the Arms Trade Treaty

China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it had launched domestic legal procedures to join the Arms Trade Treaty.

The United Nations’ International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which came into effect on December 24, is considered to open a new chapter in efforts to control the global arms trade market.

“The signing of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) continues to be evidence of Beijing’s commitment to the protection of multilateralism”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the UN General Assembly in New York September 27. The Chinese Foreign Ministry later said it was trying to join the treaty as soon as possible.


ATT was launched to adjust the flow of weapons into conflict areas. It requires Member States to maintain records of international arms transfers and prohibits cross-border shipments that can be used in human rights violations or civilian attacks.

130 countries have signed the treaty but only 104 have ratified and acceded, including powers such as France, Germany and Britain; There are no major arms sellers in the world, such as the United States, China and Russia. The Obama administration signed the treaty, but it was opposed by the National Rifle Association of America and other conservative groups and was not approved by the US Senate.


President Trump said in April that he intended to withdraw the United States from the treaty. The White House assesses the ATT binding responsible countries while tolerating irresponsible arms dealers.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sept. 27 that any unilateral move to leave the treaty “would have a negative impact on many regions”, but did not directly mention the US.

Although China is one of the five largest arms suppliers in the world, its sales are dominated by the US, accounting for only 5.2% of the arms traded globally in 2014 – 2018, compared to 36% of the US. Chinese customers mainly come from Asia and Oceania.

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