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Statement by H.E. Mr. WU Haitao, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament

Mr. President,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), and extend our appreciation for your efforts aimed at reaching a Programme of Work of the CD. We hope that you and other members of the P6 will continue consultations with member states to promote early consensus on a comprehensive and balanced Programme of Work, which will enable the start of the substantive work of the Conference at an early date.

Mr. President,

I will conclude my current term as Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs and leave Geneva soon. This is my second assignment to Geneva in my diplomatic career. Twenty years ago, I had the privilege to participate in the negotiations of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the CD as a member of the Chinese delegation. Over the past 3 years, I worked together with colleagues in this Council Chamber to explore feasible ways to break the current impasse in the CD. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts and ideas on the work of CD.

Firstly, the CD is the most appropriate forum for multilateral disarmament negotiations. The CD and its predecessors successfully concluded treaties such as NPT, CWC and CTBT, which constitute important pillars of the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regime. It has played an irreplaceable role in safeguarding international peace and stability, and building confidence among nations. Though the CD is confronted with grave challenges, it remains an authoritative institution with suitable membership, rich experiences and great potential for negotiating arms control and disarmament legal instruments.

Secondly, the root cause of the CD's stalemate should be carefully reviewed. The deadlock of multilateral disarmament machinery is attributable first and foremost to political factors, rather than the machinery itself or its rules of procedure. The complex and in-depth evolution of overall international security situation is the most important exterior factor that has prevented substantive progress of the work of the CD. Only those prescriptions based on appropriate diagnosis can break the deadlock of the CD.

Thirdly, abandoning the CD is not the right way to solve the problems. Establishing new mechanisms and starting negotiations on core agenda items outside of the CD, will not guarantee the participation of all relevant countries as well as the universality and effectiveness of their possible outcomes. It will not achieve the important role of relevant treaties in promoting arms control, security and confidence building. And it will not contribute to the healthy and orderly development of the overall international arms control and disarmament process.

Mr. President,

In the current international security situation, we should continue to uphold the principles of the undiminished security for all and maintaining strategic balance and stability, and spare no efforts in exploring feasible ways to revitalize the work of the CD and other multilateral disarmament machinery.

Firstly, enhancing political will is the key in achieving a breakthrough of the current stalemate. All parties should fully demonstrate political will and necessary flexibility, accommodate respective legitimate security concerns based on mutual respect, and try to bridge differences and seek common ground through equal consultations, so as to reach solutions which can be accepted by all.

Secondly, confidence and patience is necessary, and the principle of consensus should be preserved. The principle of consensus is widely applied to multilateral disarmament mechanisms and relevant processes that have great bearings on international security and fundamental security interests of all countries. Its relevance and importance have been well testified by the history. As the core of the rules of procedures of the CD, the principle of consensus serves as an important institutional guarantee to safeguard national security interests of all countries.

Thirdly, a favorable external security environment should be nurtured. We should fully acknowledge the implications of international security situation on the disarmament and arms control process. And we should, through enhanced dialogue and communications, improve mutual trust and accommodate legitimate security concerns of relevant countries, so as to create positive conditions and favorable atmosphere for revitalizing the work of the CD.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, please allow me to express my heartfelt appreciations for the kind friendship to me and support to the Chinese Delegation from colleagues over the past 3 years. The Chinese lunar New Year is coming soon. I wish all of you good health and every success in your work.

Thank you, Mr. President and dear colleagues.

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