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OPCW Council Backs Deadline Extension for Destroying Japanese Chemical Weapons in China

The executive body for an international nonproliferation organization on Wednesday backed a 10-year schedule extension for the destruction of World War II-era Japanese chemical munitions left behind in China, Kyodo News reported (see GSN, Sept. 8, 2010).

Tokyo and Beijing supported the new 2022 deadline upon determining it was impossible to meet the mandate of eliminating the weapons by April 29 of this year.

The plan received endorsement from the 41-nation Executive Council to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague, Netherlands-based agency charged with overseeing implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Japan has collected roughly 48,000 of the hundreds of thousands of chemical munitions believed to have been abandoned in different sectors of China, Kyodo reported (Kyodo News/Mainichi Daily News, Feb. 16).

"China urges Japan to truly honor its obligations under the convention as the abandoning state party by increasing inputs and making all efforts to accelerate the destruction process, with a view to completing destruction in the shortest time possible," China's envoy to the organization, Zhang Jun, said on Wednesday at the Executive Council meeting. "China will as always provide appropriate cooperation. At the same time, China appeals for and welcomes the active and constructive role by other states parties and the secretariat in facilitating and monitoring the destruction process" (Chinese Embassy to the Netherlands release, Feb. 15).

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