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Statement by Ambassador Hu Xiaodi at the First Committee of the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
(New York, 5 October 2004)

2004/10/05


Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me to congratulate you on your election to the Chairmanship of the First Committee of this Session of the United Nations General Assembly. With your rich experience and outstanding diplomatic skills, you will surely guide this session of the Committee to a success. You and other members of the Bureau can rest assured of full cooperation and support of the Chinese delegation. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Ambassador Jarmo Sarevo for his excellent work as the Chairman of the Committee of the last session.

Mr. Chairman,

In the 21st century, economic globalization has been deepening under the tide of the new scientific and technological revolution. Against such a backdrop, people-to-people contacts and exchanges are ever more frequent, dialogue and cooperation among countries are further enhanced. Regional integration is quickening up. Various regional security mechanisms are displaying unprecedented dynamism. Pursuing peace, seeking cooperation and promoting development has become the main theme of our times.

However, we are confronted with quite a few potential dangers and challenges on the way toward peace and development. In the security arena, there exist numerous uncertain and unpredictable factors. Violent strife and regional conflicts caused by traditional security factors such as ethnic, religious and territorial disputes are far from eradication. Non-traditional security threats are on the rise. Terrorist activities are ever more rampant. From the New York World Trade Center to North Ossetia, the alarm bell of terrorist threats has tolled loud time and again. The danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is ever more salient, posing grave threat to world peace. Transnational crimes, epidemics, environmental pollution and growing gap between the rich and the poor are all constraining the development of humankind.

In face of such threats and challenges, no country can manage alone or stand aloof. To build lasting peace and universal security, it is imperative for us to foster a new security concept centered on equality, mutual trust,mutual benefit and cooperation. Whatever difficulties or challenges may lie ahead, we shall follow through the path of enhancing mutual-trust through dialogue, solving disputes through negotiation and promoting development through cooperation.

Multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts constitute an indispensable part of the international security framework as well as an important aspect of practicing the new security concept. Therefore, we are duty-bound to push forward the multilateral arms control and disarmament process, and improve the international non-proliferation mechanisms on the basis of equal and universal participation of all countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Currently, we are seeing a mixed picture in the international non-proliferation field. On the one hand, international consensus on non-proliferation has been further enhanced and positive progress has been made in the non-proliferation field. Libya has renunciated WMD and joined the international non-proliferation regime. Both the DPRK and Iranian nuclear issues have been put on the track of political solution. The unanimous adoption of the Resolution 1540 by the Security Council further exemplified the international consolidation and resolve on non-proliferation.

On the other hand, we are also confronted with quite a few new challenges. With the deepening of globalization and development of science and technology, traditional export control mechanisms are insufficient to cope with increasingly sophisticated and covert proliferation activities. Exposure of the international nuclear smuggling network demonstrated that the originally country-targeted non-proliferation norms were obviously fraught with defects. The rising risk of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists is already a real threat that needs to be seriously addressed.

Some countries and international organizations have come up with new proposals to strengthen the multilateral non-proliferation regimes, particularly the nuclear non-proliferation regime. China supports all efforts devoted to maintaining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), strengthening the role of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in safeguards and verification and bridging the gaps in the current regimes through multilateral cooperation. We stand ready to discuss with all parties concerned in an open-minded and serious manner.

The complex nature of non-proliferation calls for a comprehensive approach that addresses both its symptoms and root causes. In this regard, China stands for the following:

First, we should strive to promote common security for all countries so as to eliminate the motivation behind acquiring WMD.

Second, we should address proliferation issues through cooperation and dialogue and by political and diplomatic means.

Third, we should vigorously promote multilateralism and strive to improve the existing international non-proliferation regimes.

Fourth, we should ensure the impartiality, rationality and legality of non-proliferation measures.

Fifth, we should keep a balance between non-proliferation and peaceful uses. It takes both dams and dredges to counter the floods. Similarly, it is quite important to guarantee the rights to peaceful uses of science and technology on the premise that the goal of non-proliferation is ensured.

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, China has made fruitful efforts to strengthen its export control. We have put in place a comprehensive and effective export control system. This system has adopted international standards and practices, such as licensing system, end-user and end-use certification, list control and the catch-all principle. The principles, scopes and practices of our export control are basically identical to international standards. In the meantime, efforts were also made to improve the relevant supporting mechanisms for export control. We have set up an inter-agency emergency coordination mechanism, a unique export registration system and a technical expert panel on export control, and developed Customs HS code for controlled items. In addition, the government has taken various measures to enhance publicity of our export control regulations and policies as well as awareness of the industry. Most important of all, we have all along been rigorous in law enforcement. Violations of laws and regulations have been investigated and the punitive measures made public.

China attaches importance to international cooperation in the export control area. We have been actively developing relations with multilateral export control mechanisms and engaging in close exchanges and cooperation on export control with other countries. We have joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and are willing to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Besides, China is also willing to continue dialogue and cooperation with mechanisms such as the Australia Group (AG) and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and other countries so as to draw upon each other's experiences and improve export control.

Mr. Chairman,

While strengthening international non-proliferation efforts, we shall not neglect the importance of advancing arms control and disarmament process, in particular nuclear disarmament. China stands for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and never shies away from its responsibility for nuclear disarmament. China has undertaken unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones. China urges all nuclear-weapon states to make the same commitment and conclude an international legally binding instrument to this end. In the meantime, we also call upon the countries bearing special responsibility for nuclear disarmament to further substantially cut down their nuclear arsenals in an irreversible manner, thus creating favorable conditions for complete nuclear disarmament.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is of milestone significance for promoting nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. China firmly supports CTBT and stays committed to the moratorium on nuclear test. The Chinese Government wishes to see the entry into force of CTBT and is actively promoting consideration and ratification of the treaty by the National People's Congress in accordance with due legal procedures.

The Seventh Review Conference of NPT will be convened next year. Reviewing all aspects of the Treaty and making recommendations will serve to promote the three main objectives of the Treaty, ensure its vitality and enhance its effectiveness and universality. We hope all countries will show good faith and political will and work together to make the Conference a success.

Mr. Chairman,

Starting the substantive work of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) at an early date is of critical importance for promoting the multilateral arms control and non-proliferation process. At present, divergences over the relevant agenda items of the CD reflect the different views of various parties on international disarmament priorities. In order to break the current stalemate, the CD's Programme of Work shall address concerns of all parties in a comprehensive and balanced manner. In this regard, China has made unremitting efforts. We have announced our readiness to accept the Five Ambassadors' Proposal and are open-minded to dealing with "new issues" in the CD. We hope that the parties could reach consensus on the Programme of Work at an early date on the basis of the Five Ambassadors' Proposal.

To ensure peaceful use of outer space is in the common interest of humankind. The current situation highlights the necessity and urgency of preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. To this end, China and Russia have jointly tabled several relevant working papers with a view to clarifying our positions and promoting common understanding. We hope the CD could start substantive work on this subject as soon as possible, with a view to negotiating relevant international legal instrument.

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) will contribute to nuclear weapons non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. China supports the early negotiation of the treaty in the CD on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced Programme of Work. China is now studying in a serious manner the proposal of negotiating a FMCT without verification.

Mr. Chairman,

China has all along devoted itself to the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Last month, the Second Regional Meeting of National Authorities in Asia co-sponsored by China and the OPCW was held in Beijing and achieved desirable results.

For years, chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China have constantly caused human casualties. These tragic events illustrate again the importance and urgency of early and complete elimination of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons on Chinese territory. China urges Japan to make further efforts to start the destruction process at an early date.

At present, the threat of bio-terrorism is on the rise and the bio-security issue is ever more prominent. Therefore, it is quite necessary to continue multilateral discussions aiming at formulating measures to strengthen the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). China will continue its active participation in this process and make every effort to promote the comprehensive and effective implementation of the BWC.

China highly values the role of CCW in addressing humanitarian concerns. We have already initiated preparation for ratification of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War and will continue to participate actively in the work of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts. With regard to the issue of Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Landmines (MOTAPM), China is in favor of seeking an appropriate solution by striking a balance between humanitarian concerns and security needs as well as the economic and technical capabilities of different countries.

In recent years, China has been an active participant in international de-mining cooperation. We have provided mine-affected countries with de-mining assistance including funding, equipment and training. Last April, China and Australian Network of ICBL co-sponsored a Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation Workshop in Kunming. This workshop promoted exchanges and cooperation between donor countries and mine-affected countries. In the future, we will continue to give our support, within our capacity, to international mine clearance operations. We are also ready to intensify exchanges and cooperation with all interested countries and international organizations in this regard.

China supports and has participated constructively in the negotiation of an international instrument on identification and tracing of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW). We hope that the parties will continue to work on the basis of the report adopted by the UN Group of Governmental Experts on identifying and tracing of illicit SALW, with a view to achieving positive results. China also attaches importance to the Firearms Protocol. We are making intensive preparations for ratifying the Protocol and wish to see its early entry into force.

In view of the mounting threat of terrorism, it is quite necessary to strengthen the management of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). China stands ready to work with other parties to further explore rational and effective measures to prevent use of such weapons by terrorists.

Information security bears upon not only national economy and people's livelihood but also international security and stability. China supports further examination of the issue by the UN Governmental Expert Group with a view to making concrete proposals.

Mr. Chairman,

For years, the UNGA First Committee, as the most representative international forum on security and disarmament, has played a role of historic significance in promoting international disarmament and enhancing international security. Under the changing international situation, there is room for improving the efficiency and working methodology of the First Committee. In this regard, some countries have tabled various proposals. China is ready to have open-minded discussions with all parties.

Reform of the First Committee is a complicated issue that involves many aspects. Therefore, it is unrealistic to reach the goal in one move. We need enough patience. In this regard, we would like to make several principled suggestions for consideration.

First, the nature of the First Committee as the most representative international forum on security and disarmament shall be maintained. Reform efforts shall focus on taping the potential of the Committee, enhancing its role and improving its efficiency.

Second, democratic and universal participation in the work of the Committee shall not be jeopardized, and right of each party to express views on issues of its concern shall be ensured.

Third, reform of the Committee shall proceed in synchronization with reform of the UN as a whole and other disarmament mechanisms.

Fourth, reform measures shall be feasible and reflect concerns of all parties.

Mr. Chairman,

In the new century, development of the international situation has not only confronted us with serious challenges, but also opened up a bright prospect for us. We are ready, together with other countries, to push forward the international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation process, thus making our due contribution to creating a peaceful and safer world.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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