At the outset, let me congratulate you on your assumption as the last President of this year¡¯s session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), guiding the work of, inter alias, preparing the annual work report of CD and the draft resolution to be submitted to the UN General Assembly.Your predecessor Ambassador Amorim has made valuable efforts for bridging the differences among the parties and breaking the impasse of CD, which deserve our high appreciation.I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to CD Secretary-General, Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, and Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Abdelkader Bensmail.
Mr. President, I would like to speak today on the negative impacts of the national missile defense system (NMD) and the relationship between NMD and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
I.The dire consequences of NMD
In recent years, there has been a negative development in the form of tremendous efforts to develop and deploy NMD, with a view to seeking unilateral military and strategic superiority.Subsequently, the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) is in danger of collapse.The international community is seriously concerned about this negative development, as it will result in a series of grave consequences.
On 18 July 2000, Presidents of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement on missile defense (The Russian and Chinese delegations have jointly required the Secretary-General of CD to distribute the joint statement as an official CD document. Its serial number is CD/1622).
The two leaders pointed out in the statement that the ABM Treaty remains the cornerstone of global strategic stability and international security and constitutes the basis for a framework of the key international agreements designed to reduce and limit offensive strategic weapons and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.To undermine the ABM Treaty will trigger off another round of arms race and subsequently reverse the positive trend that has emerged in world politics after the end of the Cold War.The country that presses for amending this fundamental treaty in the field of arms control and disarmament will have to bear the full responsibility for undermining international stability and security, and for all the consequences that may arise therefrom.
The two leaders also stressed in the statement that the plan to establish NMD prohibited by the ABM Treaty is a cause of profound concern.It is aimed, in essence, at seeking unilateral superiority in the military and security arena.Implementation of the plan would have the gravest adverse consequences for the security not only of China, Russia and other States, but also for that of the United States itself and for the global strategic stability.The international community should, therefore, continue to give serious attention to the perilous development and take necessary measures to halt it.
Mr. President, what will be the grave consequences of the development and deployment of NMD?
First, it will undermine global strategic balance and stability and threaten international peace and security.The ABM Treaty is the corner stone of global strategic balance and stability. It clearly limits the deployment of missile defense systems aimed at protecting the whole territory of its State parties. NMD, however, is exactly such a system that violates the ABM Treaty.Once NMD is deployed, the ABM Treaty will be dead in essence.To seek missile defense capability protecting the whole territory is tantamount to seeking unilateral absolute security so as to gain absolute freedom in using or threatening to use force in international relations.As a result, the blackmail of nuclear war will likely loom again and the international situation become turbulent and unstable.
Secondly, NMD will seriously obstruct arms control and disarmament process and may lead to a new arms race.NMD plan is, in fact, a unilateral nuclear force expansion program.The Russian Federation has stated in explicit terms that if the U.S. violates or pulls out of the ABM Treaty, it will be forced to withdraw from a series of agreements and treaties in the field of arms control and disarmament.Therefore, if NMD is deployed, the achievements made by the U.S. and Russia over the years in their bilateral nuclear disarmament will be gone at once. It will also be detrimental to multilateral arms control and disarmament process.Other countries will not sit by idly and allow their security jeopardized.So may arise various offensive-defensive and ground- or space-based measures and counter-measures, which will likely result in an arms race.
Thirdly, NMD will disrupt international efforts of non-proliferation.Non-nuclear-weapon States regard nuclear disarmament by nuclear-weapon States as the prime prerequisite for them to honour their commitment to stay non-nuclear. As NMD will reverse the process of nuclear disarmament, it will inevitably shake non-proliferation to its foundation. NMD will also sow mistrust and discord among many countries, which will in turn affect adversely their cooperation on non-proliferation. Furthermore, as missile defense program proceeds, there will be proliferation of sophisticated missile defense systems to other countries and regions.This will be de facto proliferation of advanced missile technology, since the technologies for missiles and missile defense are inter-related and mutually convertible.
In this regard, Mr. President, it is an absolutely urgent task for the international community to take effective measures to halt such a negative development.This is certainly not a groundless fear, nor an alarmist talk, but rather a truly realistic issue.
It is true that there are international treaties concluded in the past on the prevention of the deployment of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space.However, it is irrefutable that the existing international legal mechanism only prohibits the deployment of WMD in outer space, but has nothing to do with preventing the deployment or use in outer space of non-WMD weapon systems and their components, such as laser, particle beam, x-ray and kinetic weapons.It is also a matter of fact that these are the very weapons envisaged for outer space by many programs and projects ranging from ¡°Star War¡± to NMD.Therefore, the existing international legal instruments need to be augmented and improved -- not only continue to ensure that WMD never be introduced into outer space, what is more important and urgent is, they must prevent the weaponization of outer space by any other weaponry.We are convinced that, like China, the majority countries in the world want to take effective measures now to prevent the weaponization of outer space, rather than wait for the future to curb weapons in outer space, let alone engaging in another ¡°space weapon non-proliferation¡±.
We believe, therefore, that it is of absolute necessity now to negotiate new international legal instruments to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space.This position has enjoyed extensive support from the international community, which has been adequately proven by the fact that the resolution on ¡°the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space¡± was again adopted by an overwhelming majority at the 54th Session of the UN General Assembly.
II. The relationship between NMD and an arms race in outer space
Mr. President, it is claimed that NMD systems are not outer space weapons and will not lead to an arms race in outer space.It is further asserted that time is not ripe for negotiations on outer space and that to call for such negotiations is putting the cart before the horse.Then, what is the true relationship between NMD and the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space?
Whether they are so-called ¡°limited¡±or ¡°more advanced¡±, NMD systems undoubtedly include space weapon systems.Some of these sophisticated non-WMD weapon systems will be space-based, providing target information and guidance for ground-based weapon systems, while others will be deployed in outer space or on ground, intercepting and destroying targets in space or attacking from space the targets within the atmosphere.Thus, outer space will be part of the battlefield.
It is obvious, therefore, that once the ABM Treaty is discarded and the door for NMD opened, advanced weapon systems will be brought into outer space, leading to its weaponization.Many documents, including important Party Platform, point to such a prospect.Other countries cannot but make necessary responses, as their important security interests will be adversely affected.As a result, it is very likely that an arms race in outer space will follow.
We have heard the claim that the only intention is to develop a limited NMD, which has nothing to do with outer space.If that is the case, then why is there the obstinate opposition to the negotiations on a treaty preventing weaponization of outer space?
III. The relationship between FMCT and the prevention of an arms race in outer space
There is an accusation that negotiations on FMCT are blocked because they are held ¡°hostage¡± to negotiations on PAROS.Therefore, FMCT and PAROS must be de-linked.
Mr. President, the Chinese delegation is of the view that, as the only multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament, CD ought to give priority to the most urgent and important issue in the international arena at present.Based on the analysis above, we are fully convinced that the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space is exactly such an issue.
Given that position, we never say no to the negotiations on FMCT, which is the top priority item of some other delegations.What we are asking for only is that when we negotiate FMCT, the negotiations on a treaty preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space should start as well.This is fully in line with the spirit of relevant UNGA resolutions.It is also the best way to break the impasse of CD by taking care of the concerns of all sides in a comprehensive and balanced manner.This is far from holding FMCT ¡°hostage¡±.On the contrary, no matter how pleasant it sounds, the so-called ¡°opposition to linkage¡± means in fact that only the negotiation on one¡¯s own priority item is allowed, at the expense of the primary concerns and priority items of others.Is that fair and reasonable?
It must be pointed out that CD items are all related with security and that different aspects of security are inherently inseparable.Inevitably, these CD items are inter-related with each other.As a result of a series of negative developments, including the setback of CTBT and in particular the NMD plan, the nature and purpose of FMCT negotiations have been put under serious doubt.Therefore, the issues of outer space and FMCT cannot but be closely linked.
Mr. President, it can never help break the impasse in CD if a country insists on negotiating its own priority only and does not allow negotiations on the priority items of others.We sincerely hope that each delegation will face reality, take into account the concerns of others while attending its own, and no longer block the PAROS negotiations.
Before I conclude, I would like to point out that the recent announcement by the US President not to deploy NMD for the time being does not mean at all that NMD plan has been given up.Rather, it is only a deferral of decision to deploy NMD when its technology is not ripe yet and it is facing strong opposition from the international community.The US President has instructed the continued development and testing of NMD.The international community should be clear about this fact.It remains, therefore, an urgent task for CD and the international community in general to negotiate legal instruments preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space and to safeguard the ABM Treaty from being scrapped or weakened.We hope that CD will be able to start the PAROS negotiations at the earliest possible time.
Thank you, Mr. President.