Boris Johnson praises China's ivory trade ban, urging UK, EU to follow

Updated 2018-02-02 09:12:01 Xinhua

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has praised China's total ban on ivory trade as an important and far-reaching decision. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has praised China's total ban on ivory trade as an important and far-reaching decision.

"China has struck a blow against elephant poaches by closing down its domestic ivory market," said Johnson in a press briefing on China's full implementation of the ban on ivory trade. The event was jointly held in the British Parliament Wednesday by the WWF, All Party Parliamentary China Group and the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

"China's enlightened and foresighted decisions, would give humanity a chance to reverse the tragic decline of the African elephant," said Johnson, stressing that the British side is willing to work with China to combat poaching and protect rare wild species.

Existing rules allow for "worked" or carved items produced before March 3, 1947 to be sold in the UK while sale of raw ivory of any age is prohibited. Johnson said he looks forward to seeing a complete ban on the sale of ivory in Britain and the EU.

"The only question is where we have the collective will. And I believe that today is a manifestation, I think it's great that the UK and China are united and expected on this, on this policy, we are more forward looking the ambitious in our ban and the European union," the British minister said.

Zhu Qin, Minister-Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in the UK, said protecting the wildlife is a key to save environment. "Out planet is our only home. It is also crucial to the future of human civilization. In the past five years, china has make remarkable progress in building ecological civilization both at home and for ecological Conservation of the world," he said.

Charles Mayhew, CEO of Tusk, which represents Prince William's charity, told Xinhua that China has made a huge significant move to support the protection of African elephants and "UK should follow the way in China's lead."

John Stephenson, CEO of Stop Ivory organization, said China's efforts are significant in two aspects. "One is the ban get implemented and two is the neighbouring countries learn from China's leadership and begin to engage."

He believed China's move is a massive step but it can not do it all by its own, and others need to step forward as well. "We fully expect UK government to announce a stronger ban."

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