The United States remains deeply committed to working together with China and other countries to strengthen the global commitment to combat and end wildlife trafficking, a State Department spokesman said Friday.
State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke made the remark as he lauded China for destroying over 600 kilograms of ivory in Beijing and for its commitment to eventually halt the commercial processing and sale of ivory.
"Destroying illegal wildlife products demonstrates China's ongoing strong commitment to ending wildlife trafficking, a global challenge with conservation, economic, health and security dimensions that affects all nations," Rathke said in a statement.
China's action, building on its crush in Guangdong Province in 2014, as well as similar events held in the United States, Britain, France, Chad, Belgium, Kenya, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Congo, "sends a powerful message to wildlife poachers and traffickers and to the consumers of illegal wildlife products," he said.
Friday's event is a concrete action that reinforces commitments made at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogues in 2013 and 2014, Rathke said.
"Securing a ban on the commercial sale of ivory is a critical element in our efforts to stop the poaching and end wildlife trafficking. We look forward to continuing our mutual efforts when we meet during the next Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June," the spokesperson said.
A total of 662 kilograms of confiscated ivory, seized over the past year, was dumped into crushers in Beijing and ground down. This was the second such demonstration of China's stance against the illegal trade of wildlife.
In January last year, 6.1 tons of confiscated ivory were destroyed in the southern city of Dongguan. In February, China announced a one-year ban on the import of ivory carvings to protect wild elephants.