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Statement by Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the 2002 Session of the Conference on Disarmament

2002/08/15


(August 15, 2002, Geneva)

Mr. President,

Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to express our appreciation for your efforts in facilitating the substantive work of the Conference on Disarmament and our gratitude for the valuable work done by your predecessors, Amb. Markku Reima of Finland and Amb. La FORTELLE of France.  I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank H.E. Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Secretary-General of the Conference, Mr. Roman-Morey, Deputy Secretary-General, and the Secretariat for their enormous help throughout our work.


International Security Situation and A New Concept of Security

Mr. President,

Since the end of the Cold War, the international security situation has moved towards relaxation.  The relations among major powers have been improved and a series of progress have been registered on the arms control and disarmament front.  Nevertheless, the international community is also confronted with such new challenges as increasingly diversified and non-traditional security threats are on the rise.  These threats exploded themselves out in a radical manner as the September 11 events, which have profound impact on the overall international security situation and the security concepts of each country.  How to make and maintain security in the new century gives us much food for thought.

At present, as the aspiration of multilateralism and democratization of international relations are deeply seeded in peoples' minds while our interdependence in security ever deepening, it is high time for every country to foster a new security concept with mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination at its core.  Specifically, it requires building mutual trust through dialogue, settling disputes through negotiation and seeking security through mutually beneficial cooperation.  Only by so doing, can we achieve individual security based on common security for all and create a peaceful and stable international security environment for the sustainable progress of arms control and disarmament.  The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) have accumulated invaluable experiences in this regard.


Global Strategic Framework

Global strategic framework has been undergoing complicated and profound evolvement since the demise of the 1972 ABM Treaty, which constituted a cornerstone of international strategic balance and stability over the last 30 years.  Against such a backdrop, all countries need to consider such an urgent issue as what kind of a new global strategic framework should be built, so as to safeguard effectively world peace and stability in the 21 century.

In our view, the paramount and fundamental objective of a new global strategic framework should be the common security for all countries.  It is imperative for such a new global strategic framework to be based on maintaining and observing the norms of international law.  Furthermore, international cooperation would be the effective way to build a stable global strategic framework.  In this regard, we believe the following elements are indispensable:

  -Continuous efforts of nuclear disarmament and a diminishing role of nuclear weapons;

  -Prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space;

  -Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

  -To ensure the missile defense system not to disrupt global strategic balance and stability, or lead to the proliferation of missiles and related technologies.


Nuclear Disarmament

The progress of nuclear disarmament hinges upon global strategic balance and stability as well as undiminished security for all.  Countries with the largest and the most advanced nuclear arsenals shoulder special and principal responsibility for nuclear disarmament.  The Chinese side welcomes the signing of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions, also known as the "Moscow Treaty".  It is our hope that the two sides will strictly apply the principle of irreversibility and verifiability to the undertaking of the treaty obligations, so as to achieve genuine reduction and destruction of their nuclear warheads and the delivery means of nuclear weapons.

As a nuclear-weapons State, China has never evaded its responsibilities and obligations for nuclear disarmament.  On the very first day when it possessed nuclear weapons, China solemnly declared that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances.  China also pledged unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones.  China has always kept its nuclear force at the minimum level necessary for self-defense.

We renew the appeal that all the five nuclear-weapon States undertake never to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and commit themselves unconditionally and in a legally binding manner never to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State.

We continue to merit CTBT, for it serves to check the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons. Therefore, every country should strive for the early entry into force of CTBT and early completion of the preparatory work for establishing relevant verification regime.  Equally important, a FMCT that stops the quantitative accumulation of nuclear fissile materials for weapons should be negotiated and concluded.  We stand for the Conference on Disarmament reaching a comprehensive and balanced programme of work so as to launch FMCT negotiations at an early date.

The achievement of CTBT and FMCT, accompanied by the conclusion of a legally binding agreement on Negative Security Assurances and the withdrawal of the nuclear weapons stationed on the territory of other countries, will be conducive to further pursuing nuclear disarmament process towards the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.  Of utmost importance for such a process is maintaining global strategic stability and preserving undiminished security for all.  In this connection, a comprehensive rather than selective implementation of the Final Document of 2000 NPT Review Conference is not only desirable but also necessary.  We call upon all the States that have not joined NPT to accede to the Treaty without further delay, so as to achieve its universality at an early date.


Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones represents a significant step towards the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  To this end, China has always respected and supported the efforts by non-nuclear-weapon States to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones in line with the situation in their respective regions and on the basis of agreement reached through their consultations.  At the same time, we maintain that the nuclear-weapon States should respect the status of nuclear-weapon-free zones and undertake relevant obligations.  China has signed and ratified relevant Protocols to the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga and Pelindaba.  Proceeding from this position, China supports the efforts of Central Asian States to establish the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.  We respect the nuclear-weapon-free status of Mongolia and appreciate Belerus's pursuit for the establishment of a Central East European Nuclear-Weapon-Free Space.  We also support Middle East countries' position on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone and a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the region of Middle East.

Last year, Premier Zhu Rongji of China reiterated that China continues to support ASEAN in establishing a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and is ready to sign the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty as soon as possible.  China hopes that ASEAN and the other four nuclear-weapon States will soon resolve the remaining issues so that the Protocol will be open for signature at an early date.  Meanwhile, China is of the view that in their consultations, the relevant parties will take into full consideration of the principled agreement reached between ASEAN and China in 1999 and ensure that the text of the Protocol conforms to the purpose and principles of a nuclear-weapons-free zone.


PAROS

The exploration and utilization of the outer space for peaceful purposes is the common aspiration and demand of all humanity.  With the on-going development and increment of space technology and countries' space assets, outer space is playing an increasingly important role in people's economic, social and scientific life.  However, the development of military technologies and outer-space-related weaponry, coupled by outer-space warfare theories and concepts, have brought the danger of weaponization and an arms race into outer space.  Such a prospect will distract and even derail the peaceful use of outer space and further damage global strategic balance and stability, which will be in no one's interests.  Preventing such a danger must be high on the agenda of the international community.

On June 27 this year, China, together with the Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syrian Arab Republic, tabled at this Conference a working paper entitled "Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects" (CD/1679).  It is precisely our objective, in the framework of the CD and in a legally binding manner, to plug the loophole in the existing outer space arms control and disarmament legal regime and to prevent the weaponization of outer space once and for all, so as to maintain peace and tranquility of outer space.  It must be pointed out that this working paper has only outlined our preliminary views on a new outer space treaty.  We remain open-minded and welcome all suggestions and amendments to improve this document.

It is our hope that the CD can hold formal or informal meetings to work substantively on this working paper so as to lay foundations for the future negotiation.


Non-proliferation

The September 11 events have once again highlighted the urgency and importance for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Non-proliferation is both the common task of the international community and a consistent policy of the Chinese Government.  We have been taking measures to strengthen and improve our export control systems.  At the end of last March, we notified the IAEA about China's completion of the required legal process for the Protocol Additional to the Safeguards Agreement and the Protocol's coming into effect for China.  We hope that other countries can take positive steps in this regard.  

The international community cannot but take concerted efforts, by adopting co-operational rather than confrontational approaches, applying uniform instead of double or even multiple standards, to establish a fair, reasonable and universal non-proliferation system, and to conclude, observe and improve relevant international legal instruments.  Only by so doing, can the objective of non-proliferation be achieved.

For any country to apply wanton and unjustifiable sanctions upon others in the name of non-proliferation and on the grounds of its "domestic legislation" or "national policy" runs counter to the rights and obligations under international law.  Thus it is unacceptable.

As far as the missile issue is concerned, the establishment of a comprehensive and non-discriminatory multilateral mechanism represents an effective approach.  China favors the United Nations to play a primary and leading role in this field.  Our active participation in the UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Missiles attests to this position.

We have taken part in some of the discussions on the draft "International Code of Conduct on Prevention of the Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles" (ICOC).  On a preliminary basis, we note that the draft ICOC has not taken due account of the views and opinions from the developing countries, thus falling short of their expectations.  We hope that the drafters of this document could tune their ears to different views so as to enable further improvement and wider endorsement of the text.


Resumed 5th Review Conference on Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

We deeply regret that the 5th Review Conference on BWC last year failed to reach a consensus.  Therefore, the success of the resumed Review Conference, to be held in November, is of special importance to the process of preserving and strengthening the BWC.  Undoubtedly, the outcome of the conference will depend on the sincerity and commitments from all sides.  It is necessary to take care of the reasonable political and security concerns of each State Party and avoid confrontations.

China still holds the view that the negotiation on a balanced and effective protocol represents the most feasible way to comprehensively strengthen the BWC.  In the meantime, the Chinese side also welcomes any proposal aimed at strengthening the BWC process in the multilateral framework.  In principle, we are not against follow-ups to the 5th Review Conference, such as annual meetings of States Parties, etc.  We maintain that, however, the mandate, content and status of such meetings should be clearly stipulated.


Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

China has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons.  We have fulfilled our obligations under the Convention in good faith and strict manner.  We have constantly strengthened and improved our legalized export and import controls on relevant chemicals, their manufacture technologies and facilities.  As a victim of the use of chemical weapons, the Chinese government requests the country concerned, in accordance with its obligation under the Convention, to begin substantive destruction process at an early date and destroy completely and thoroughly all chemical weapons it abandoned on the territory of China as soon as possible in the timeframe set forth by the Convention.  We congratulate H.E. Mr. Rogelio PFIRTER on assuming the post of Director-General of the OPCW.  We hope that all State Parties join efforts for and remain committed to strengthening the effectiveness and universality of the Convention.


Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

The Second Session of CCW Governmental Expert Group just concluded a short while ago, where all sides held in-depth and useful discussions.  On the issue of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), many commonalities have been reached while some differences still remain, which merit further study and consideration.  We hope that the State Parties to the CCW will agree upon the ways and means to resolve the ERW issue.  On the issue of Anti-Vehicle Landmines (AVL), as far as we see it, there still exist principled differences among State Parties.  It is our firm belief that the Amended Protocol of Landmines to CCW has adequately resolved the AVL issue.  We do not perceive any need to conclude another protocol on this matter.


Small Arms

Last year, the Programme of Action was approved at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, and the Firearms Protocol of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes was adopted by the UN.  These are the important steps taken by the international community towards resolving the issue of small arms.  According to the relevant UNGA resolution, governmental experts, including one from China, are currently studying the issue of identification and tracing of small arms.  We wish their work a positive outcome.  I would like to reiterate that China is supportive to strengthening the control over the production and trade of small arms.  It is now carrying out the Programme of Action in good faith and positively considering the signature of the Firearms Protocol.  It is also our view that relevant measures should by no means compromise the security of any country.  They should be both feasible and effective.  Relevant identification on small arms should only be marked to the level of producing country and meet the demands of each national government for tracing.  There is no need to set up an uniformed global system of identification, or to publicize identification information.


Work of the CD

As the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, the CD represents the barometer of international political and security situation.  The revitalization of the CD directly hinges upon the international security environment.

Today, there undoubtedly exist divergent views on such fundamental issues as "unilateralism vs. multilateralism", "absolute security for one country vs. common security for all", and "whether it is necessary to negotiate and conclude universal arms control and disarmament legal instruments".  All these divergences have led to the low ebb and logjam of the arms control and disarmament efforts, which are at the crossroads without clear direction.  Against such a backdrop, it is highly necessary for the CD to take stock and consider the following questions, e.g., "the status of existing international arms control and disarmament legal system", "the future of multilateral arms control and disarmament process" and "how to preserve global strategic stability".

The Chinese delegation has noted that relevant sides have put forward several new proposals on the work programme of the CD in a bid to break the current deadlock.  We appreciate these efforts and stand ready to work with all sides to facilitate the adoption of a comprehensive and balanced work programme.  As far as the working mechanism for PAROS is concerned, the Chinese delegation offered a positive compromise proposal in June this year, in the form that the Ad Hoc Committee should deal with the issue of PAROS "with a view to negotiating relevant international legal instrument", rather than insisting on a negotiation mandate.  We hope that all sides will take full consideration of the Chinese position and respond favorably to this constructive approach.

As to how to address the issue of "Radiological Weapons" in the CD, we are currently open-minded and ready to listen to and consider views from all sides.  We support the continuation of the work of three special coordinators on the organizational and procedural issues.

Mr. President,

Mr. Jiang Zeming, President of China, has pointed out that the tenet of China's foreign policy is to maintain world peace and promote common development.  Let us join hands to overcome difficulties and contribute to the revitalization of arms control and disarmament, with a view to creating a peaceful and stable international security environment.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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