China has decided to join the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

The people’s Republic of China will join the multilateral Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), this was decided during a three-day meeting from 18th June to 20th June of the top lawmaking committee in China- Legislative Affairs Committee. China was one of the 23 countries back in 2013 when it abstained from the vote to adopt the treaty at the United Nations.

China now seems determined to showcase itself on the world stage as a responsible player- After curbing the autonomy of Hong Kong, making continuous attempts to administer complete sovereignty in the South China Sea, and further making its territorial ambitions clear by raising border conflicts with India.

The U.S. President has announced in April 2019 that the U.S. will never ratify the Arms Trade Treaty under his administration (the U.S has signed the treaty but was yet to ratify). 5 months later on 27th September 2019, China is going through domestic legal procedures for joining the Arms Trade Treaty- This was stated by their Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the United Nations General Assembly.

As per a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in March 2020, between 2015 to 2019: By accounting 5.5 percent of the global market and exporting arms to 53 countries the fifth-largest arms-exporter in the world was China.

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Under this treaty, international sales and transfer of conventional arms are regulated as per the global standards. The treaty was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly on 2nd April 2013. It came into force from 24th December 2014.

The treaty was launched with the aim of maintaining international and regional peace. The global standards that have been set under the treaty are in line for promoting transparency and co-operation among the countries. To date, about 130 countries have ratified the treaty. India has not signed the treaty yet.

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