BEIJING   -     China wants to join as soon as possible an international arms treaty that the United States has spurned, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, adding it was China’s responsibility to take part as a member of the international community.

US President Donald Trump has said he intends to revoke the US signature to the treaty, which regulates the $70 billion global cross-border trade in conventional arms and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers. So far, 104 countries have joined the pact, which the General Assembly approved in 2013. Then-US President Barack Obama had signed it but it was opposed by the National Rifle Association and other conservative groups and never ratified by the US Senate. Speaking at the United Nations on Friday, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said China has initiated domestic legal procedures to join the Arms Trade Treaty. China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement following Wang’s  announcement that the country was striving to join the treaty “as soon as possible”.

This is an important action for China to actively participate in the governance of the global arms trade governance and reflects China’s determination to support multilateralism, it said. China has always attached great importance to the issue of illegal arms sales and their misuse, and supports the purposes and objectives of the treaty, the ministry added.

“As a responsible member of the international family, China is willing to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with all parties and work together to build a standardised and reasonable arms trade order and make positive contributions to maintaining international and regional peace and stability.”