24 April 2014
China investigates involvement of Chinese chlorine in gas attack in Syria
On 23 April, the Chinese Foreign Ministry informed Reuters that it was investigating reports that a chlorine canister with the name of China’s largest arms producer, Norinco, on it was shown in a video that presumably documents a chlorine bomb attack in Syria earlier this month. Reuters reported that it could not verify the authenticity of the video, which was uploaded by opposition activists. On the basis of the characteristics of several attacks in Syria this month, analysts believe that a coordinated chlorine bomb campaign is taking place, with growing evidence that it is carried out by the Syrian government.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that ‘we oppose the production and use of chemical weapons. On this, we are conscientious and responsible. Domestically, we have relevant laws and rules and a supervision system,’ and that China ‘scrupulously abides by its non-proliferation obligations.’ It continued by saying that ‘chlorine is a raw material that has wide industrial uses, and it is not on any nation’s or organization’s list of controlled items.’
Syria has promised to hand over or destroy its chemical weapons arsenal before the end of the week. However, chlorine gas was never included on the list that Syria submitted to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Reuters reported that some countries are now considering to request an inquiry, possibly through the United Nations.