Beijing urged to sign pact

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2000, 12:00am

Oxfam Hong Kong yesterday called on the mainland, a leading manufacturer of land mines, to accede to the Mines Ban Treaty immediately.

The 1997 treaty became international law on March 1 last year but Beijing has yet to sign it.

About 250 million anti-personnel mines are stockpiled in at least 104 countries - the majority in nations that have not signed the treaty.

China, India and South Korea, which have all refused to sign, are the top Asian countries stockpiling mines.

Madeleine Slavick, Oxfam Hong Kong communications officer, said: 'China has a role to play in signing the treaty, being among Asia's top three stockpilers.' A total of 137 countries have signed the treaty and 91 have ratified it.

Now it has passed in to international law, 27 countries in the Asia Pacific region must accede to it.

Ms Slavick added: 'Over the past few years, there has been much progress in the anti-landmine campaign.

'The production of anti-personnel mines has been greatly reduced, mine exports have almost ended and more than 19 million anti-personnel mines have been destroyed in at least 50 nations.'