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Statement by Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs and Head of Delegation of the People's Republic of China to the 24th Session of the Ad Hoc Group of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (August 17, 2001, Geneva)

Mr. Chairman,

We are now coming to the end of this session. When we came to this session of the Ad Hoc Group, we were fully prepared to engage in genuine and substantive negotiations in anticipation that the huge efforts and resources invested by all sides over the past years would bring about fruitful results. In retrospect of the past weeks, we deeply regret that no substantive negotiations took place during this session.

The reason for this situation is well known. The position of one country, which possesses nearly half of all the bio-industry and bio-defence facilities in the world, makes substantive negotiations impossible.

Mr. Chairman,

It is disappointing and regretful that the Ad Hoc Group has not yet been able to fulfill its mandate in a timely manner. How to proceed next? We are all faced with such a question. The Chinese delegation, as others, has been pondering deeply over this question.

Something against our wishes has happened. Our mandate, i.e. to conclude a Protocol through multilateral negotiations in the global framework so as to strengthen the Convention comprehensively, has not been fulfilled. However, this mandate has neither come to an end, nor changed in its scope or substance, letter or spirit.  The mandate remains as was agreed upon by all States Parties at the 1994 Special Conference and all its elements, whether now or in the future, should be interpreted and understood as what they really are. No matter what decision we take in the future, this mandate should serve as the basis and operational directions for our work.

We take note that no party has openly challenged the mandate so far, although this stands to be tested by time.

As a multilateral legal instrument on arms control, the Protocol is aimed at pursuing common security and a balance between "give " and "take".  It requires universal participation of States Parties. Absolute security of a single party never exists. A "take-but-not-give" approach, or the quest for one's own security at the price of insecurity of others, does not benefit anyone, even itself, and runs counter to the spirit of multilateralism. There is no exception in the field of the prohibition of biological weapons.
We have also noted that the country concerned claimed that it has not abandoned its commitment to strengthening the Convention in the multilateral framework. We will wait and see. We sincerely hope such rhetoric will soon be translated into concrete actions.

Mr. Chairman,

Although the Protocol negotiation is now suffering a serious setback, the Chinese delegation remains convinced that a balanced and effective Protocol concluded through multilateral negotiations is of critical importance to strengthening the effectiveness of the Convention in a comprehensive manner. A good Protocol will not only bring benefits to every State Party, but also promote the international peace and security. The Chinese delegation will, together with other delegations, continue to make unswerving efforts with a view to reaching our common goal of strengthening the effectiveness of the Convention in a comprehensive manner.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Unofficial translation, check against delivery)

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