China on Thursday expressed its willingness to join the Missile Control Technology Regime in an effort to project itself as a responsible missile power in the international community's efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
After the end of a two-day, second round meeting between members of the MTCR and Chinese officials, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the MTCR has promised to give "positive consideration" to Beijing's application.
"The chairman of MTCR, Ambassador Carlos Sersale Di Cerisano, said the delegation will give positive consideration on China's application," Liu told reporters.
The MTCR is an informal and voluntary association of countries which share the goals of non-proliferation of unmanned delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction and seeks to coordinate national export licensing efforts aimed at preventing their proliferation.
Liu Jievie, Director General of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament under the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented China in the June 1-2 meeting with MTCR officials, Liu said.
"Both sides believe that the dialogues have increased mutual understanding and trust and it is of importance for the development of China-MTCR relationship," the spokesman said.
Interestingly, China's bid for membership comes at a time when there is increased pressure on Beijing from the US
to stop its alleged transfer of missile and nuclear technology to countries like Pakistan.
Last week, China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 40-member unofficial grouping engaged in preventing the proliferation of nuclear technology.
The MTCR was formed in 1987 by Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to counter the threat of the spread of WMD and maintain vigilance over transfer of missile equipment, material, and related technologies usable for systems capable of delivering WMD.
Since then the MTCR has grown to include 33 countries, all of which have equal standing within the regime.