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Statement at the 2003 Session of United Nations Disarmament Commission by H.E. Ambassador Hu Xiaodi, Head of the Chinese Delegation


(March 31 2003, New York)

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Delegation would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the current session and stand ready to fully cooperate with you and other delegations.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mme. Diane Quarless of Jamaica for her contribution as chairperson of the last session.

Mr. Chairman,

With the rapid development of globalization, countries are becoming more and more interdependent both economically and in terms of security.  While the international security situation has been stable on the whole, uncertainty and unpredictability are sharply increasing.  Military confrontation caused by disputes over territory, resources, religion and interest continues.  And non-traditional security threats characterized by terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have become more salient.  Against such a backdrop, the multilateral disarmament and arms control process is facing a severe test.

To promote a sound development for disarmament and arms control, we need to create a favorable international security environment.  To this end, we advocate a new security concept based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation with the aim of establishing common security for all countries.  We stand for resolution of conflict through dialogue and cooperation.  We strive for maintenance of the multilateralism and promotion of the democratization of international relations.

Mr. Chairman,

The two issues on this year's agenda, namely, "ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament" and "practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms", are both important and complex, which have been under discussion during the last two sessions and witnessed many relevant propositions.
Since the invention of nuclear weapons, mankind has been exploring ways for their elimination.  It is regrettable that we have not been able to find effective and workable solutions.  Some recent developments have been particularly worrisome.  First, although the quantity of nuclear weapons has been in decline, their role in certain country's national strategy has not been drastically reduced.  Second, the development of missile defense systems and outer-space weapons have negative effects on global strategic stability.  Third, the deterioration of international security environment increases the risks of nuclear proliferation.  In view of the above and to promote nuclear disarmament, China maintains the following:

-Countries should pursue a new security concept based upon mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, and should work for a just and equitable new international political and economic order, so as to ensure common security for all and create a favorable international environment for nuclear disarmament.

-Countries should refrain from introducing weapons into outer space.  To this end, it is necessary to conclude respective international instruments through negotiation, with a view to maintaining global strategic balance and stability and promoting nuclear disarmament.

-Nuclear disarmament measures, including interim ones, should be based on the principles of global strategic stability and undiminished security for all, thus being conducive to enhancing international peace and security.

-The nuclear-weapon States possessing the largest nuclear arsenals bear special responsibility for nuclear disarmament and should take the lead in reducing their respective nuclear arsenals drastically and in a legally binding form.  The nuclear weapons reduced should be destroyed.  This will create conditions for other nuclear-weapon States to join in the nuclear disarmament process.

-The reduction of nuclear weapons should be effectively verifiable, irreversible and in a legally binding manner.

-All nuclear-weapon States should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time or under any circumstances.  International legal instruments to this effect should be concluded.

-Nuclear-weapon States should withdraw all the nuclear weapons they have deployed abroad back into their own territories.

-Countries that have not done so should sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as soon as possible so that the Treaty may enter into force at an early date according to its provisions.  Nuclear-weapon States should continue the moratorium on nuclear testing.

-The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva should reach a work program at an early date to start the substantive work on such important issues as nuclear disarmament, banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and preventing an arms race in outer space.

The above-mentioned measures will lead to the negotiation and conclusion of a treaty on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, thus paving the way towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

The establishment of concrete and practical confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the field of conventional arms will not only be conducive to a sound development of the disarmament cause but also useful in relaxing regional tension and defusing hotspot issues.  On the other hand, neither disarmament measure nor the establishment of CBMs in the field of conventional arms could progress without a favorable international security environment.  Therefore, we call for a just, reasonable, tolerant and cooperative world.

The world is diverse, so are the means of realizing security.  In establishing CBMs in the field of conventional arms, we should take into account different situations and adhere to such principles as seeking common ground while shelving differences, making gradual progress, maintaining voluntarism and realizing undiminished security for all.

In recent years, China has been exploring ways to establish CBMs.  Since 1996, China has been initiating a new security concept based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, with the aim of enhancing trust through dialogue and promoting security through cooperation.  The new security concept has been proven feasible through our practice.

In 1996 and 1997, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China signed the Agreement on Confidence Building in the Military Field in Border Areas and the Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in the Border Areas.

On 15 July 2001, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China signed the Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and declared the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.  The six countries decided to cooperate extensively in the security, political, anti-terrorist, economic, cultural and technological field, enhance mutual trust and good-neighborliness and maintain regional peace and stability.  The "Shanghai Spirit", with "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversified culture and seeking common development" as its basic contents, has become a principle governing the relationships among the organization's member states.

On 4 Nov 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, committing themselves to exploring possible means to build confidence on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Mr. Chairman,

Last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 57/63, the first in the disarmament and non-proliferation field that stresses multilateral approach.  In the present situation, it is all the more necessary to enhance the role of the UNDC as the sole disarmament multilateral deliberating mechanism.  For many years, the UNDC has been the source of valuable proposals in promoting negotiations on arms control and disarmament treaties.  Norms formulated at this venue have become relevant guidelines.  Therefore, it is of great significance to maintain and further develop the guiding role of the UNDC, while any attempt to weaken or abandon this organ will only be detrimental to the disarmament process.

The chairmen of the two working groups have put on table their documents.  Taking them as a basis, we would join efforts with all other delegations to seek agreement on a final document, which, we hope, will appropriately reflect China's positions and propositions.  The Chinese delegation is ready to cooperate with all other parties for and contribute to the success of this session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  

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