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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, at the Security Council Meeting on Iraq
(November 8, 2002)

2002/11/08


The Chinese delegation voted in favour of the just-adopted Security Council resolution. Our decision is based on the Chinese Government's consistent and clear-cut position on the question of Iraq.

China firmly stands for a peaceful solution to the question of Iraq through political and diplomatic means and within the framework of the United Nations.

China has all along urged Iraq to fully and strictly implement relevant Security Council resolutions and cooperate fully with the United Nations with a view to thoroughly accounting for and destroying weapons of mass destruction.

China has consistently held that in seeking a comprehensive settlement of the question of Iraq, the sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the legitimate concerns of Iraq should be respected and that the Security Council should, depending on Iraqi implementation of relevant resolutions, consider suspending and eventually lifting the twelve-year long sanctions against Iraq.

We support the dialogue between the U.N. Secretary-General and the Iraqi side to break the stalemate and welcome efforts made by the Arab League and other organizations for the peaceful resolution of the question of Iraq. We also welcome the announcement by Iraq last September to unconditionally accept the return of U.N. inspectors and its subsequent talks with UNMOVIC and the IAEA on the practical arrangements concerning inspections.

We are in favour of strengtheing effectiveness of the inspections. At the same time, we believe that the relevant provisions concerning inspections should be practical and feasible. We appreciate the work done by UNMOVIC and the IAEA with regard to the inspections and hope they will be able to return to Iraq at an early date to conduct independent, fair, professional and effective inspections and report to the Security Council the result of their inspections in a truthful and timely manner. This will enable the Council to draw objective, fair and realistic conclusions, and decide on the next steps in the light of the situation and the views of the various parties concerned.

China supports the two-stage approach. The Chinese delegation has actively participated in all stages of the consultations on the draft resolution, and put forward its views and suggestions in a constructive manner. We are pleased to note that after many rounds of consultations, the co-sponsors of the draft resolution accommodated our concerns, and the Council members have finally reached consensus. As the co-sponsors pointed out during their statements, the purpose of the resolution is to achieve the disarmament of Iraq through effective inspections. The text no longer includes automaticity for authorizing the use of force. According to the resolution, only upon receipt of a report by UNMOVIC and the IAEA on Iraq's non-compliance and failure to cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution shall the Security Council consider the situation and take a position.

We are also pleased to note that at the request of many members, including China, the resolution has now included some important elements, e.g."reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighboring States," "Commending the Secretary-General and members of the League of Arab States and its Secretary-General for their efforts,"and "recalling its resolution 1382 of November 29, 2001 and its intention to implement it fully."

The Security Council shoulders primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security entrusted to it by the Charter of the United Nations. Now the Council has adopted this important resolution by the Security Council at this crucial moment. We hope it will contribute to preserving the authority of the Security Council, facilitate a political settlement of the question of Iraq, and enable an early return of UN inspectors to Iraq.

It is our hope that Iraq will seriously implement the resolution, fully cooperate with UN weapons inspectors and fully comply with its disarmament obligation so as to create conditions for an early and comprehensive resolution of the question of Iraq. We would also like to point out that the UN inspectors should draw lessons from UNSCOM. We trust that they will strictly abide by the mandate given by the Security Council in its resolutions and fulfill its duties faithfully.

Finally, we once again make a strong appeal to all parties to continue to strive for a political solution of the Iraqi issue. This is the common aspiration of the whole international community, particularly the Gulf and the Arab states. We sincerely hope that the adoption and smooth implementation of this resolution will be conducive to the effective conduct of the weapons inspections in Iraq, and facilitate a final and comprehensive resolution of the Iraqi issue within the framework of the United Nations.

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