Representatives from the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) traveled to China to assess progress on abandoned chemical weapons (ACW) destruction, they announced on Friday.
Officials estimate that 50,000 items relating to ACW have been found to date and as of January 2015, 37,000 of these items have been destroyed. The units were abandoned by Japan at the close of World War II.
Leading the delegation was Ambassador Francesco Azzarello, permanent representative of Italy to the OPCW and chair of its Executive Council. He met with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Li Baodong and Head of the Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons Office of the Ministry of Defense of China, Li Kong. Briefings were presented that detailed the specific destruction activity by officials from both the Chinese and Japanese governments.
The Delegation will issue a report to the rest of the OPCW's executive council that will detail findings of the meeting and detail the progress made and the future steps that will need to take place. This report will be deliberated at the next meeting of the council that will take place between July 7 and 10.
“On behalf of the Executive Council delegation, I would like to note the good level of cooperation between China and Japan to complete the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China,” Azzarello, said. “During our visit, we took note of the high level of commitment to complete this task with the strong support of the OPCW Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat.”