China on Tuesday said it would adopt the United Nations-approved global migration pact according to its own laws and domestic conditions.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in a UN conference attended by leaders and representatives from over 150 countries on Monday in Marrakesh.
The pact "will provide a global cooperation framework to address the immigration issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing.
The Chinese government said it participated in the negotiations of 23 general principles of the pact that each country will pledge to respect in the development of its national migration policies.
However, China said it would implement the agreement voluntarily and according to its domestic laws, adding it was “not an international treaty” and “not binding, so countries can implement on a voluntary basis in light of their conditions.”
"We are calling to protect the legitimate rights and issues of immigrants and also differentiate between immigrants and refugees, between regular and irregular immigrants," Lu said.
China, he added, would make efforts to play a positive role in immigration within the framework established by the international community.
More than 150 countries signed the pact that guarantees "the sovereign right of states to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday.
Countries, especially recipients of immigrants, such as Australia, Chile, Italy, Israel, and a large group from central Europe, have withdrawn from the pact in the last few weeks while the United States had opposed it from the outset.
These countries argue that the agreement, despite its non-binding nature, can generate political commitments to the detriment of the sovereignty of states, and that it does not differentiate between regular and irregular immigrants.