On behalf of the Chinese delegation and in my own name, I would like to congratulate you most warmly on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). We are quite confident that your outstanding diplomatic skills, rich experiences and in-depth understanding of the work of the CD would benefit the CD greatly. In discharging the important tasks of the CD Presidency, you can rest assured of the full cooperation of my delegation. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to your predecessor, Ambassador Mr. Nguyen Quy Binh of Viet Nam, and extend our thanks and appreciation for his tireless efforts in pushing the CD for progress.
Fundamentally speaking, the substantive progress of the work of the CD is closely related to the international peace and security situation which has a direct bearing on disarmament affairs. The progress also depends on the concerted efforts by all the CD members while taking into account each other's concerns and demonstrating necessary flexibilities.
The CD has entered the 13th working week and has thus crossed the half-way mark of this year's session. However, we have not been able to agree on the program of work because of the divergent views on the two agenda items, namely "Nuclear Disarmament" and "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space"(PAROS). The impasse on this procedural matter reflects the profound divergence over substantive issues among relevant countries or country groups. The Chinese delegation, while finding the situation deeply regrettable and worrisome, has given some thought to the reasons underlining the situation and possible ways out of this stalemate. Today, I would like to share with colleagues some of the perspectives of my delegation.
I would like to stress that, the developments in recent years, especially since the beginning of this year, which are detrimental to the international peace and security, have exerted grave and negative impact on the disarmament process.
Just as we cannot breathe in vacuum, the work of the CD cannot be isolated from the overall international security environment. The disarmament process is closely related to the international peace and the security interests of all countries. They are interactive and mutually promoting.
During the Cold War, the arms race kept on escalating and it was impossible to achieve any major progress in disarmament field. In the wake of the Cold War and the ending of confrontations between the two military blocs, the relations between major powers moved to relaxation. All the peace-loving countries, including China, fervently hoped that our planet could be free from the nightmares of both "Cold War" and "Hot War", and continuous progress in disarmament could be achieved in a healthy international security environment, thus further promoting international peace and security as well as the economic and social development of all countries. So the world in the 21st century would be one of peace, development and common prosperity for mankind.
Against this backdrop, the international arms control and disarmament process has been offered an unprecedented "window of opportunity". Thanks to the efforts and co-operations by all parties, particularly with the wide support of the developing countries, some major achievements have been scored, such as the conclusion of the CWC, the signing of the START II by US and Russia, the indefinite extension of the NPT, the commencement of the negotiations of the Protocol to strengthen the BWC, the conclusion of the CTBT, and the amended Landmine Protocol of the CCW, etc.
The CD has played an important and indelible role in negotiating and concluding the CWC and the CTBT.
It was under the above-mentioned historical background that the UNGA adopted the relevant resolution on FMCT, according to which the CD established an Ad Hoc Committee in 1995.
After the conclusion of the CTBT, it had been expected that negotiations on FMCT would commence and progress could be made on other important disarmament issues as well, especially on nuclear disarmament. It had also been expected that such progress in disarmament would be conducive to the further relaxation of international situation, promoting world peace and further enhancing security environments of all countries, and that a favorable international environment would in turn promote the progress on disarmament, thus creating a positively interactive situation.
Unfortunately, the momentum of improving world peace and security has not been kept as expected. Dark clouds have gathered after a brief spell of sunshine. In recent years, particularly this year, some disturbing developments in the international arena, like darkening clouds, have overshadowed world peace and disarmament process.
Just as President Jiang Zemin of China pointed out in his statement at the CD Plenary on March 26, while there are positive factors which are conducive to the relaxation of the global situation and peace and development, there still exist some negative elements which can not be ignored, i.e. cold war mentality still lingers on and power politics manifest themselves from time to time; the tendency toward closer military alliance is on the rise; new forms of "gunboat policy" are rampant.
This concise but comprehensive statement of President Jiang has been corroborated by the developments in the recent two months. I am referring to the wanton bombing of Yugoslavia by the Military Alliance led by one superpower. Over one thousand military air-crafts have been used in the air-strike, tens of thousands tons of bombs have been dropped, and thousands of missiles were launched to a small country. New types of weapons with mass killing capacity, including cluster bombs and radioactive depleted uranium bombs were used. Many civilian facilities such as hospitals, schools, bridges, railways, roads, airports, power plants and TV stations have been hit and destroyed, causing thousands of civilian casualties and rendered nearly a million refugees homeless. Chemical plants, fertilizer factories and oil refinery plants were also attacked, causing the leakage of toxic chemicals and resulting in serious ecological disasters and threatening the life and health of the people in Yugoslavia and its neighboring countries.
This is outright military intervention against a sovereign state. It not only undermines the peace in the Balkans but also upsets the tranquillity of the world. They even bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, grossly violating international law and the norms governing international relations.
This military bloc, a typical product of the cold war, did not disappear from the world scene with the end of cold war, but has been further expanded Moreover, while carrying on the air strike against Yugoslavia, this bloc declared its "New Strategic Concept", thus transforming itself from a defensive military organization to a military one of offensive nature which can extend its military operation to areas beyond its borders and use military force against any country without the UN authorization. Yugoslavia has become a test ground for its "new strategic concept". If such perverse acts are to continue, the international community would witness repetitions of similar military interventions and attacks against those countries which firmly safeguard their sovereignty and oppose hegemonism and power politics. If that is the case, the norms governing international relations and security framework based on the UN Charter, which was established after the Anti-Fascism War, will be seriously undermined.
Under such circumstances, countries which are outside military alliance would be deprived of basic security, how could we anticipate any progress in the field of arms control and disarmament? Should those small and weak countries be pushed to the corner, how could they be convinced to support the international non-proliferation regimes?
It is more than clear that the practice of hegemonism, power politics and "gunboat policy" will not only seriously jeopardize world peace and development, but also directly undermine or even reverse international arms control and disarmament process. This is not the prospect the international community, including China, wish to see. However, this is the reality we are confronted with. Whether the "window of opportunity" once emerged since the 90s is to close depends on whether the countries concerned change their course and abide by the UN charter and basic norms governing international relations, respecting all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and doing away with hegemonism, power politics and "gunboat policy". The world is watching.
Now, I would like to touch upon the basic principles to be followed in the international disarmament process. This is also an important factor which has a bearing on the progress of work in the CD. In his statement at the CD Plenary on 26th of March, President Jiang Zemin pointed out that, the aim of disarmament is to increase security. And that must be universal security for all countries to enjoy. Disarmament should not become a tool for stronger nations to control weaker ones, still less should it be an instrument for a handful of countries to optimize their armament in order to seek unilateral security superiority. To reduce the armament of others while keeping one's own intact, to reduce the obsolete while develop the state-of-the-art, or even to sacrifice the security of others for one's own security, all these run counter to the fundamental purposes and objectives of disarmament.
China has all along held the view that only just, reasonable and balanced international arms control and disarmament can genuinely promote global peace, security and stability. However, some countries try every means to limit and reduce the armament of other states under the cover of arms control and disarmament, at the same time they never cease to arm themselves with more advanced military technology and equipment. They interfere with other nation's internal affairs and sovereignty with violent and ruthless military means. On one hand, they exaggerate the so-called "missile threats" from developing countries as a pretext for developing its missile defense system; on the other hand they are launching their most advanced missiles onto the soil of developing countries.
Currently, the significant divergence on the position of the CD members on the two agenda items namely "Nuclear Disarmament" and PAROS reflects the different stands of various countries on the objectives and purposes of disarmament.
CD members are for the re-establishment an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate FMCT, so as to promote the nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. At the same time, many member states are of the view that, the CD should also take appropriate actions on Nuclear Disarmament and PAROS by establishing necessary working mechanism accordingly, such as Ad Hoc Committee or working group with appropriate mandates. It is regrettable that up to now this just and reasonable demand has been ignored by some countries, and in particular only one delegation opposes the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS.
Many delegations, including the Chinese Delegation, believe that the importance of Nuclear Disarmament and PAROS is no less than that of FMCT. At the beginning of this year, one country breached the existing arms control treaty by announcing its decision to accelerate the research and development of missile defense systems. At the same time, that country also has ambitious programs to extend its weaponry system to the outer space. The aim of such program is to seek absolute military dominance. These programs will certainly have negative impact on bilateral and multilateral nuclear disarmament process and on the global strategic security and stability as well. All these developments make the CD's deliberation on PAROS ever more relevant and pressing.
To sum up, the agenda items of "Nuclear Disarmament", NSA, PAROS and FMCT are inter-related. The issue of CD program of work should be addressed as a whole. Singling out any one of the items while excluding the others is unjustified and unhelpful.
My delegation reiterates its position that the CD should re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS. Progress in this area, just like the progress in working mechanism on nuclear disarmament, will be conducive to making progress in formulating CD's integrated work program acceptable to all. It is the sincere hope of the Chinese delegation that a favorable turn can come about during the remaining weeks of the 1999 session.
Thank you, Mr. President.