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Jiang Zemin's speech at the Conference on Disarmament
26 March 1999, Geneva

1999/03/26

"Promote Disarmament Process and Safeguard World Security" Address at the Conference on Disarmament by Jiang Zemin, President of the People's Republic of China

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Ambassadors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Conference on Disarmament, located along the Lac Lemon in Geneva, is the single multilateral disarmament negotiating body in the world today, and as such, it plays an indispensable role in safeguarding world peace and security. What you are doing is an arduous but lofty work.

Looking back on the 20th century, we see a century of unprecedented wars and calamities and of the tenacious struggle by people of all countries to achieve and safeguard world peace. The two world wars and the Cold War, which lasted for more than four decades, inflicted untold sufferings and pain on mankind and also left behind profound lessons.

Since the end of the Cold War, major and profound changes have taken place in the international situation. The world is moving deeper towards multi-polarity and economic globalization, which is, on the whole, conducive to the relaxation of international situation and world peace and development.

The turn of the century affords us a good opportunity to sum up historical experience and lessons and shape a lasting peace for the future. An overview of the current global reality reveals that the Cold War mentality still lingers on and hegemonism and power politics manifest themselves from time to time. The tendency towards closer military alliance is on the rise. New forms of "gunboat policy" are rampant. Regional conflicts have cropped up one after another. When air strikes and armed intervention were launched against Kosovo and other parts of Yugoslavia two days ago. I promptly expressed my deep concern and worry, and called for an immediate cessation of military strikes, so as to bring the Kosovo issue back to the track of political settlement. I hereby solemnly reiterate that the military actions against Kosovo and other parts of Yugoslavia violate the norms governing international relations and are detrimental to the peace of Balkan region, the international community, therefore, should make joint efforts to defuse the crisis as soon as possible.

On the issue of arms reductions, I have to point out that with regret that Military powers have not cut down their state-of-the-art weaponry, not even a single piece. Furthermore, they are still developing it. International efforts against nuclear proliferation are faced with severe challenges. Under these circumstances, the question of how to advance the disarmament process and safeguard global security cannot but become an important and pressing task that demands attention of all countries in the world.

History tells us that the old security concept based on military alliances and build-up of armaments will not help ensure global security, still less will it lead to a lasting world peace. This then r