|Statement by Counsellor WANG Chang of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction at the First Committee of the 72nd Session of the UNGA|
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Over the past two decades, the Chemical Weapon Convention has made great contribution to complete prohibition and thorough destruction of chemical weapons, and has played an important role in maintaining international peace and security. China has noted the recent complete destruction of Russia's chemical weapons stockpiles, which constitutes an important step to achieve the objective of the Convention, and wishes to express its congratulations. That said the chemical weapons stockpiles, the abandoned chemical weapons in particular remain unresolved, and the risk of chemical terrorism is on the rise. There is still a long way to go towards the goal of "a world free from chemical weapons".
In the past year, China continued to earnestly implement the CWC, and played an important role in promoting the universality and effectiveness of the Convention. Chinese National Authority responsible for compliance held a commemorative event to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the CWC, recalling the achievements, and outlining for the future work. Meanwhile, China attached great importance to the publicity of the Convention, and further raised the awareness of the business community and the general public for the implementation of the Convention. China has timely and accurately submitted declarations of all categories to OPCW, and received more than 480 on site inspections up to date. China has also actively promoted international cooperation, inter alia, by co-hosting training courses with OPCW, to assist other States Parties to improve their capabilities for implementing the Convention.
Even to this day, large quantities of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China are still posing grave threat and harm to the lives and properties of the people and the ecological and environmental safety in China. Japanese ACWs have been discovered on the territory of China at over 90 locations in 18 provinces (municipalities, autonomous regions). The largest burial site of Japanese ACWs ever discovered is located at Harbaling, Jilin Province. It is estimated that over 330,000 items of Japanese ACWs are buried there. However, the number of Japanese ACW items recovered so far has stood at approximately 60,000, of which about 48,000 items had been destroyed. Japanese ACWs are much more harmful to people and the environment than chemical weapons stockpiles.
The destruction of Japanese ACWs bears on the realization of the core objective of the Convention, and remains a bounden international legal obligation for Japan. China and Japan jointly invited an Executive Council delegation from OPCW to visit Harbaling Japanese ACWs destruction facility in June this year, Which helps relevant parties gain in-depth knowledge of the urgency of the destruction of Japanese ACWs and the perniciousness of Japanese ACWs. China regrets the fact that Japan failed to complete the destruction of its ACWs by the deadline provided by the Convention and urges Japan continue to scale up its input to destroy Japanese ACWs thoroughly and safely as soon as possible.
The issue of Syrian chemical weapons has continued for many years, which has become a major factor affecting peace and stability in Syria, the Middle East and even the whole world. China firmly opposes the use of chemical weapons for any purposes by any country, group or individual under any circumstances. China believes that comprehensive, objective and fair investigation into the issue of alleged use of CWs in Syria should be conducted by the OPCW and the relevant UN agencies, so as to reach a conclusion on the basis of solid evidence that can stand the test of time and be substantiated by facts. China calls upon the relevant parties to jointly promote the proper resolution of the issue of Syrian chemical weapons from the general perspective and in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
At present, biosecurity challenges such as the threat of biological weapons, bioterrorism and epidemic communicable diseases, are interlinked and getting more and more prominent. All countries are part of the community of shared future in dealing with biosecurity.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is an important platform for the maintenance of international biosecurity and strengthening global biosecurity governance. During the Eighth Review Conference of BWC last year, the State Parties conducted in-depth discussions on various agendas. However, regrettably, the consensus could not be reached on the substantive issues. China believes that the priority of the Meeting of State Parties of the BWC this year, is to pursue consensus on the basis of accommodating the concerns of all parties, with a view to charting the course of the work of this Inter-Sessional Process and comprehensively enhancing the effectiveness of the BWC. China have also proposed two initiatives, the Template of Code of Conduct for Biological Scientist and the establishment of a Non-proliferation Export Control and International Cooperation Regime under the framework of the BWC, so as to further promote the BWC process.
China has comprehensively and strictly implemented the BWC, steadily promoted the top-down structures for domestic biosecurity, further enhanced relevant legislation and regulations, and deepened international cooperation and communication in the area of biosecurity. In late October, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences will hold an International Workshop on Biosafety Laboratory Management and Experimental Techniques, in order to promote the awareness and capacity building in biosecurity for related staff from developing countries along The Belt and Road region, and to jointly deal with the biosecurity challenges.
During the World War II, certain individual country used the chemical and biological weapons, which violated the international law and caused millions of casualties on the Chinese military and civilians. This inhumane historical tragedy always reminds us of our important mission to promote the multilateral arms control process and the world peace. China is willing to make joint efforts with all parties, to maintain the multilateral arms control process and continue to promote the thorough elimination of the threats of chemical and biological weapons.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.