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Statement by the Head of the Chinese Delegation, Counsellor Sun Lei of the Permanent Mission of China to the UN, at the General Debate of the 2016 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission


Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of this session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC). I am confident that your rich diplomatic experience and wisdom will steer the session to positive achievements. I would like to assure you of our full cooperation. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to your predecessor, Ambassador Fodé Seck of Senegal as well as the Kazakhstan and Morocco, Chair of the Working Group, for their outstanding work.

At present, human society has increasingly become a community of integrated interests and shared future. Meanwhile, the world is still not transquil, with lingering wars, turbulence and rising non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, extremism, epidemics and cyber security issue. To maintain international security remains an arduous task. 

Under the new circumstances, all countries should follow the trend of the times featuring peace and development, abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game theory, and foster a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. The international community should advance global security governance in a coordinated way, and develop a new and win-win approach to security that is built, shared and maintained by all.

Mr. Chairman,

China has consistently stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and faithfully fulfilled its nuclear disarmament obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Over the decades, China has pursued a nuclear strategy of self-defence and kept its nuclear arsenal at the minimum level required for its national security. China has neither deployed nuclear weapons in any other country nor taken part in any form of nuclear arms races. Among nuclear-weapon states, only China has pledged unconditionally not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.

China believes that nuclear disarmament should be promoted in a step-by-step manner with “universal security” as the guiding principle, “strategic stability” as the basic guarantee, and making full use of the existing mechanisms as an important platform. The principle of “undiminished security for all” must be upheld in transparency measures. At the same time, countries with the largest nuclear arsenals bear special and main responsibilities for nuclear disarmament, and they should continue to drastically reduce their nuclear stockpiles by verifiable, irreversible manner to create conditions for the ultimate realization of complete nuclear disarmament.

China supports the efforts to build Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zones. We oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons in any form and work for the diplomatic resolution of regional hot-spot nuclear issues. China welcomes the Joint Plan of Action concluded by P5+1 and Iran, which contributes to the maintenance of the international non-proliferation regime, promotes peace and stability in the Middle East region and provides valuable experience to resolve major disputes through negotiations. At present, the Situation on the Korean Peninsula is complex and sensitive, we hope that all parties concerned stay on the right course of dialogue and consultation in search of a solution, work together for the early restart of Six-Party Talks, and pursue a dual-track parallel approach that includes denuclearization and replacing the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a peace agreement. China stands ready to work with the international community towards denuclearization and a peaceful, stable Korean Peninsula.

China actively participates in global nuclear governance by stauchly supporting the nuclear disarmament process, firmly upholding nuclear non-proliferation regime and actively promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, thus making its important and unique contribution to the endeavor of promoting international peace and security. The Fourth Nuclear Security Summit has just concluded. Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited to attend the summit and delivered a keynote speech, comprehensively expounding on China's policies and propositions, introducing China's new measures and achievements in the field of nuclear security and putting forward substantial initiatives to strengthen global nuclear security.

Mr. Chairman,

China has always supported practical and feasible confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms control, and has made continuous efforts in promoting related international and regional disarmament process. China has been an active participant in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations Military Expenditures. The UN Group Governmental Experts (GGE) on the Register of Conventional Arms will meet and review operation and developments of the Register this year. China holds that the pressing task is to improve the universality of the Register, i.e. to increase the number of participating countries.

China attaches great importance to the fight against illicit trade against small arms and light weapons (SALW). China has been earnestly implementing the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. In this regards, China has adopted a series of measures on legislation, law enforcement, capacity building, international exchanges and cooperation, achieving remarkable results. China will actively participate in the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States on SALW to be held in this June and work with all sides to make positive progress in this meeting.

China supports the international community to take necessary measures to regulate international conventional arms trade and to combat the illicit transfer and trafficking of conventional arms. China has constructively participated in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiation process and is currently looking into the issue of acceding to the ATT. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with all parties with a view to building a regulated and reasonable arms trade order.

China attaches great importance to and actively participates in the on-going discussions about lethal autonomous weapon systems. We are of the view that the international community shall intensively study and properly address the relevant concerns on the basis of comprehensive and inclusive discussions.

China is open to the addition of the third agenda item, and is willing to participate in the discussions constructively.

Mr. Chairman,

The issue of arms control and disarmament bears on the international security. All countries have the responsibility and obligations to make joint efforts to promote the process of international arms control, disarmament and non proliferation, and make contribution to the maintenance of universal security of mankind.

As the unique deliberative body of the disarmament machinery under the UN framework, the UNDC has played an important role in setting priority agenda for multilateral disarmament negotiations. In recent years, the multilateral disarmament machinery, including UNDC has been confronted with some difficulties. China hopes that each party works jointly in a pragmatic manner so as to make positive progress in this round of review.

Last September, President Xi Jinping announced that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000, which is a showcase of China's sincerity and aspiration to join hands with the rest of the world to maintain peace, pursue development and shared prosperity. China is willing to work with other countries to make efforts to uphold world peace and stability and push forward the multilateral arms control and disarmament process.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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