|Statement by Ambassador Fu Cong of China at the Thematic Discussion on Chemical and Biological Weapons at the First Committee of the 70th Session of the UNGA|
In the past year, China faithfully and strictly implemented its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), making positive contribution to the promotion of the universality and effectiveness of the Convention. China also continued to help other States Parties strengthen their capacity on implementation of the Convention by donating funds through the OPCW, providing protective equipment and co-hosting workshops and seminars. With strong conviction in political settlement of disputes, China actively involved itself in international efforts to solve the Syrian chemical weapon issue. By providing experts and equipment for verification and destruction and joining in the multilateral naval escort of the shipments of Syrian chemical weapons, China played an significant role in defusing the crisis and in the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.
China has all along committed itself to the comprehensive and strict implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In this regard, China has established a complete legislative framework and national implementation mechanism, exercised effective control over export of dual-use biological items and technologies, and made continued efforts to strengthen bio-safety and bio-security as well as epidemic surveillance. China is of the view that the 8th Review Conference of the BWC provides the international community with a good opportunity to explore concrete measures to strengthen the Convention. It is our hope that, in next review cycle, work could be focused on the formulation of a Code of Conduct for scientists in the field of biology and the establishment of a multilateral and non-discriminatory export control regime.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the centennial anniversary of the first massive use of chemical weapons. During World War II, the Japanese invaders systematically developed and used biological and chemical weapons in China in blatant violation of international law, massacring the Chinese people in the most inhumane manner. This has become a page of utmost barbarism and cruelty in the history of humanity.
During Japan’s aggression against China from 1931 to 1945, the Japanese army built a large number poisonous gas factories and chemical weapon assembly plants in many Chinese cities including Dunhua, Hailar, Taiyuan, Yichang, Jinan, Nanjing, Hankou and Guangzhou. Japan deployed chemical warfare troops in Shanghai, Yichang, Taiyuan and other places. According to incomplete statistics, the Japanese army systematically and indiscriminately used chemical weapons for more than 1131 times in 77 counties or districts across 14 provinces in China, resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties.
Even today, the huge amount of Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons (ACWs) on Chinese soil is still posing a grave threat to people’s lives and health, as well as environmental security. So far, Japanese ACWs have been discovered in over 90 locations in 18 provinces or municipalities. The largest burial site is located in Harbaling, Jilin Province. In Harbaling alone, it is estimated that over 330,000 pieces of Japanese ACWs are buried. To our disappointment, to date, only around 50,000 Japanese ACW items have been retrieved safely, only 38,000 of which were destroyed. It is worth pointing out that ACWs’ pose a greater threat to people and environment than that of chemical weapons in stockpile.
For Japan, the destruction of chemical weapons it abandoned in China is a binding international obligation under the Chemical Weapon Convention. It is disconcerting to note that Japan has failed to meet the deadline for the destruction of its ACWs as prescribed by the Convention, and the current pace of destruction has repeatedly fallen behind the schedule of the Destruction Plan. We urge Japan to expedite work on implementation of its obligations and decontaminate all the affected land in China as soon as possible.
In addition to the use of chemical weapons, the Japanese army also established bases for biological warfare troops in China. According to Japanese historians, Japan has 5 germ warfare units numbering more than 20,000 personnel. Among them, the most notorious is the 731 unit based in Haerbin. The experience on living human bodies alone by these germ warfare units resulted in the death of over 20,000 people. The majority of the victims were Chinese, but they also include Russians, Koreans and Mongolians. The Japanese aggressors also waged large scale germ warfare in China by aerial spread of, and release into rivers and lakes, germs of plague, cholera and typhoid. According to incomplete statistics, the Japanese germ warfare caused civilian deaths as high as more than 1.2 million, four times that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing. Among them, 769,772 were killed immediately and about 350,000 died of infection. Taking into account the consequent epidemics, the death toll should be even more horrific. On the eve of its imminent defeat, the Japanese invaders in an attempt to cover up their war crimes, blew up the related facilities, destroyed experimental equipment and documents, secretly executed all the “detainees” and shipped the documents and research papers back to Japan. Of all the Japanese war criminals convicted by the Far East International Military Tribunal, more than half were involved in germ warfare.
During the World War II, the Japanese militarists committed numerous heinous crimes and caused horrendous sufferings to the Chinese people and people of other countries. 70 years after the war, Japan is still going to great lengths to cover up and evade history.
China stands firm in upholding the victorious outcomes of the WWII and the post-war international order, and firmly opposes any devious act aimed at denying or distorting history. China urges Japan to face up to the history and genuinely reflect on its war responsibilities, and take concrete steps to win the trust of the neighboring countries and the international community at large.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.