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Statement by Ambassador HU Xiaodi, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the Meeting of Experts of the Biological Weapons Convention

2003/08/18
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to extend to you my warmest congratulation for your chairing the 2003 Meeting of Experts as well as Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).  I fully believe that your rich experience in diplomatic and particularly in BWC affairs will make valuable contributions to the meeting.

Mr. Chairman,

The security challenges faced by the international community have been pluralized whereas uncertainties for world security are on the rise. Non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transnational crimes, are intertwined with traditional ones.  The deepening of mutual-dependency between States in terms of security requests a new security concept featured by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination.  The system of arms control and non-proliferation regimes established over the years have played an important and positive role in maintaining the international security and stability.  It is imperative to keep and improve this system under the present situation, bearing both practical and far-reaching significance in effectively tackling all kinds of challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

As part and parcel of international arms control system and global collective security architecture centered on the United Nations, the Biological Weapons Convention has always played an important role in the comprehensive prohibition, thorough destruction and non-proliferation of biological weapons.  Since the termination of the seven-years' negotiation of a Protocol to the Convention, the multilateral process of strengthening the Convention's effectiveness has experienced low tide for a time.  With the rapid development of biotechnology and escalation of bio-terrorism threats, it has become all the more imperative and important to discuss, within a multilateral framework, concrete measures to strengthen effectiveness of the Convention.

The convening of the Meeting of Experts is the first substantial effort of the international community in strengthening the Convention after the end of the negotiation of the Protocol.  Therefore it is of great significance.  "Well begin, half done", China believes that the Meetings of Experts and Annual Meetings of States Parties constitute important fora for states parties to explore effective measures to implement the Convention.  Through exchange of views and discussions during the multilateral forum, States parties will formulate or improve their national implementation system, taking into consideration of both their specific national situation and the good experience of others, and hence jointly furthering the effective implementation of the Convention.

Mr. Chairman,

National implementation measures are basic requirements and guarantee for the States Parties to fulfill the obligations set forth in the Convention. They are also the concrete manifestation of the States Parties' political commitment.  All States Parties are duty-bound to take all necessary measures for preventing and prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition and retention of biological weapons.  Biosecurity measures play a positive role in the protection against and management on pathogenic microorganisms and toxins, the prevention from infecting the related personnel and leaking of pathogenic microorganisms, and the fight against bio-terrorism.  Such measures cannot but form an important part in the implementation of the Convention.  States Parties should guarantee, through legal and administrative measures, that pathogenic microorganisms and toxins be used for purposes not prohibited by the Convention rather than for biological weapons or bio-terrorism purposes. At the same time, States Parties should attach great importance to safeguarding public health and safety.

Mr. Chairman,

China is a victim of biological weapons. We have all along stood for the comprehensive prohibition and thorough destruction of biological weapons and opposed the proliferation of such weapons.  The Chinese government thinks highly of the Convention and fulfills its obligations in a comprehensive and earnest manner.  China promulgated and implemented a series of laws and regulations, strictly implementing the prohibition article of the Convention, administering the transfer, shipment, storage and wrapping of the pathogenic microorganisms and toxins and stipulating in details the concrete implementing measures and punishment of illegal activities.  These laws and regulations cover the risk assessment and classification of pathogenic microorganisms, the laboratories criteria, operation guidelines etc., which form a complete biosecurity system. We will, according to the principle of rule by law, continue to enhance the relevant law making, enacting and supervision so as to ensure the strict and effective implementation of the Convention in China.

Mr. Chairman,

The complicated and profound changes in the international situation and the fast development of biotechnology bring greater opportunities and challenges for the Convention than ever before.  The issue of how to turn challenges into opportunities and hence making all the development of biotechnology contribute to the peace and improvement of mankind should be the common task of all States parties.  China believes that States parties will reach common understanding on effective action of strengthening the Convention by continued effort under the multilateral framework.  China will make effort with all the other sides to realize this objective.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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