The Chinese delegation would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the important post of presidency of the Conference on Disarmament(CD). I am confident that your outstanding diplomatic skills and rich experience will help us revitalize the work of the CD. The Chinese delegation assures you of its full cooperation. I would also take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to your predecessor, Ambassador Mr. Sergey Martynov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus, for his constructive efforts in seeking progress in our work.
May I take the floor to address two issues.
Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS)
The UN General Assembly again overwhelmingly adopted at its 54th Session Resolution 54/53 on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, which reiterates that the CD has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. This has again demonstrated that most countries in the world are worried about the ominous prospect of an arms race in outer space and believe that the prevention of such a race is a realistic and pressing issue for the international community.
Today, based on overwhelming political, economic, sci-tech and military strength, a program aimed at domination of outer space has been put forward and under implementation, with a view to seeking unilateral military and strategic superiority. The most outstanding examples in this regard over the past two years are the development and planned deployment of the so-called National and Theatre Missile Defense systems. According to the relevant program, some advanced weapon systems will be deployed in outer space or will target objects in outer space. Some others, by using outer space as a platform, will provide targeting information and guidance for ground-based weapon systems. Even a layman can see that the above mentioned program will inevitably introduce relevant weapons or weapons systems into outer space, which will turn outer space into a new weapon base and a battlefield. This runs counter to the sincere aspirations of the international community to use outer space for peaceful purposes.
The development and deployment of National Missile Defense (NMD) system will violate the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty). Therefore there have been tenacious attempts to amend the Treaty, totally ignoring the grave consequences entailed by overthrowing the Treaty as the cornerstone of preserving global strategic balance and stability. In fact, the so-called "phase one deployment" or "moderate amendment" are nothing but a tip of the iceberg. Once the door for amendment is opened, larger scales of deployment in different phases will be inevitable. The ABM Treaty will thus be increasingly weakened, leading to its total abolition. These negative developments will not only bring about the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, but also jeopardize the global strategic balance and stability, disrupt the basis for international nuclear disarmament process and trigger off global weapons proliferation and another round of arms race. All the achievements already made in the field of international arms control and disarmament are in the danger of being lost.
Some people might ask: If the CD conducts substantive work on PAROS, is it only directed against the NMD program? Or only a political game played among a few countries? The answer is no. The Chinese delegation believes that under the agenda item of PAROS, the CD should not confine itself to the above mentioned issues. On the contrary, it should cover more extensive areas, involving not only strategic balance and military significance on the ground, but also the common heritage of the mankind――the peace and tranquility in outer space.
With the development of science and technology, the ability of mankind to explore and use outer space is also improving fast. Unfortunately, as shown by historical experience, advancements in science and technology are often applied to military use first and converted easily to serve the development of weapon technology and capability. This leads to innovation of new military theories. More often than not, such a process results in arms build-up or even arms races.
There is no exception in the field of outer space science and technology. In certain case and as a high priority, advanced space technologies have already been applied to the development of space weapons. Accordingly, military theory has also been renewed. As the development of airspace technologies led to the arms build-up and arms race to seek "air monopoly", an arms build-up plan to "control space" also comes into being, under the guidance of the current military theory of "space monopoly". This tendency deserves serious attention and careful study by the international community. If we sincerely wish to prevent the emergence of the arms build-up, unilateral military advantage or arms race in outer space, it is incumbent upon us to begin right now elaborating and working out "the rules of the game" to prevent an arms race in outer space, taking into account all the relevant developments over the past decade.
In 1991, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS put forward, in his own name and as an annex to that year's annual report of the CD, lists of topics corresponding to each one of the three items of the Committee's program of work. The lists recorded what the CD had done on PAROS a decade ago. They may still be inspiring to our work today. I believe that after ten years, there will be some changes to the lists of issues and tasks for today's CD to work on. As a matter of fact, to achieve the objective of PAROS, we now face even more problems, which are both complex and pressing. All the delegations and their experts in this field are welcome to join effort in tackling the problems in front of us.
Isn't it our solemn responsibility entrusted by the international community to conduct substantial work to address these problems in time? We can not afford to be indifferent to or take no action on the current negative developments any longer. If we fail to start, right now, negotiations of a legal instrument to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, we will have to negotiate "disarmament" or "prevention of weapons proliferation" in outer space in the near future. Therefore, every possible measure should be taken to resolutely terminate the ongoing perilous developments and to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space.
Currently, there are some international legal instruments on outer space, such as the 1963 "Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty" (PTBT) and later the "Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty", the 1967 "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies", as well as the 1972 "ABM Treaty". Some people suggest that we only need to strengthen these treaties. In fact, though these treaties have provided us with a starting point for our future work, due to the loopholes and ambiguities contained therein, they can not effectively address new problems caused by the latest developments. Consequently, they are not up to preventing effectively the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space.
The Chinese delegation believes that the international community, while making efforts to consolidate and strengthen the existing international legal instruments concerning outer space, is also in great need of negotiating and concluding new legal instruments on PAROS, with a view to realizing non-weaponization of outer space.
In this regard, the CD is obliged and able to take the job. As the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body, the CD should focus its work on those issues that are most pressing, outstanding and influential on international peace and security. PAROS is such an issue. Therefore, PAROS has every reason to be one of the highest priorities on the CD's agenda. Since PAROS was listed on its agenda in 1982, the CD had established Ad Hoc Committees on PAROS for 10 consecutive years from 1985 to 1994 and much useful work had been done during that period. Last year, the UN General Assembly once again adopted at its 54th Session the resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space by an overwhelming majority. The resolution invites the CD to establish an ad hoc committee on PAROS as early as possible during the 2000 session and reiterates that the CD has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. No country voted against this resolution. Therefore, the Chinese delegation believes that there should be no obstacles for the CD to establish the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS and conduct substantive negotiations.
In view of the above, the Chinese delegation maintains that the CD should reestablish, in line with the wording of the proposal contained in document CD/1576, an Ad Hoc Committee under agenda item III entitled "prevention of an arms race in outer space", to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument banning the test, deployment and use of any weapons, weapons systems and their components in outer space. As to the basic framework of the new international legal instrument, the Chinese delegation has already put forward some initial concepts in its paper (document CD/1606) presented to the CD earlier this year. We hope that this will contribute to soliciting the ideas from all parties. Together with other delegations, we are ready to begin substantive work forthwith towards the development and completion of the future legal instrument.
CD's Program of Work
So far, the CD has failed to conduct substantive work for more than three years. The direct reason for the stalemate is the failure to formulate a program of work. The Chinese delegation is deeply concerned with this situation. According to the CD's rules of procedure, the program of work is the prerequisite and basis for the CD to conduct substantive work. Therefore, at the present stage, the CD should first and foremost make every effort to work out a program of work acceptable to all its members.
The Chinese delegation holds that the following two factors must be taken into account in achieving the CD's program of work:
First, the CD's program of work should be considered as a whole and every item on its agenda should be treated in a comprehensive and balanced way. In view of the fact that different sides and parties insist on different priority items, comprehensiveness and balance are the only guarantee for fair play, ensuring that the interests and concerns of all States are appropriately taken care of.
Second, the CD's work is not conducted in a vacuum and the current international reality should not be ignored. Therefore, the CD's program of work must address, rather than evade, the real problems in the international security, particularly those developments which have major negative impacts on international peace and on arms control and disarmament.
Proceeding from the above mentioned considerations, the Chinese delegation is prepared to seriously study all proposals that meet the above-mentioned requirements, including the establishment of appropriate mechanisms for the three agenda items, namely, nuclear disarmament, FMCT and PAROS. To enable the CD to start its substantive work as early as possible, the Chinese delegation is prepared to, under your auspices and together with all other delegations, to work out a truly comprehensive and balanced program of work. We also call on all the other delegations to make the same efforts so that the CD could walk out of the stalemate at an early date and create new splendor.
Thank you, Mr. President.