China, Japan agree on arms disposal programme
BEIJING: China and Japan have agreed on methods and sites in the two countries’ efforts to destroy chemical weapons abandoned in China by Japanese troops during World War II, the China Daily said Monday.
It quoted a Chinese foreign ministry official saying after a bilateral meeting Friday that the weapons will be destroyed in Dunhua city in northeast China’s Jilin province, which has the biggest store of weapons, to reduce the need for and risks of arms transport. Until now, work on the project had been confined to research, but Friday’s meeting would allow the process of weapons disposal to begin, he said.
He stressed that the destruction of the weapons would reduce the risks to the Chinese people and added that the Chinese government would urge the Japanese to dispose of the arms as soon as possible.
Japan should shoulder responsibility for the weapons they used to attack China during the war, said the official, who was not identified. The report did not provide details of what methods would be used.
Chinese and Japanese teams have located a small proportion of the chemical weapons abandoned in China by Tokyo’s troops after their defeat in 1945.
Japanese experts say some 700,000 shells were left behind, though China has put the figure at more than two million. In July 1999, following several years of negotiations, the two governments signed a memorandum on the destruction of the chemical weapons, under which Japan agreed to destroy the weapons in accordance with the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons.
The details were not worked out. Since then, the two countries have made progress in selecting technologies, sites and relevant environmental standards. —AFP