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Introductory Statement by H.E.Ambassador FU Cong, At the Conference on Disarmament
2015/03/10
Mr. President,

Since I am taking the floor for the first time as the Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs at the Conference, please allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency, and thank you and other colleagues for the kind welcome you have extended to me upon my arrival.

Over 20 years ago, and right here in this chamber, I participated as a young member of the Chinese delegation in the final stage of the negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as the whole process of the negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and witnessed these significant achievements in the history of the CD. Today, I am highly honoured to be back in the Council Chamber as the Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, and to join colleagues to continue the efforts for the cause of international disarmament and arms control. I also have a strong sense of the enormity of the responsibility.

Over the past few days, dignitaries from a number of countries came to address the Conference, and expressed well-thought-of as well as inspirational views on current international security situation, and major arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation issues. I would also like to take this opportunity to share with colleagues some of my thoughts on these issues.

Mr. President,   

Today the world is experiencing profound transformation and adjustment. Economic globalization and rapid development in science and technology are turning the world into an ever closer community sharing an increasingly common destiny and interests, and also leading to numerous new issues and challenges, which have made the threats to the world's security ever more complex and diversified.

Throughout the history of mankind, arms control and disarmament have always been an important means to maintain international peace and stability. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the victory of the World's Anti-fascist War.  Upholding the post-war order for international security is in the best interests of the overwhelming majority of states. The multilateral and bilateral treaties on arms control and disarmament, including the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty are the cornerstone and pillars for the stabilization of the post-war order for international security. In the current situation, we should adopt a more responsible approach in effectively implementing the obligations under these treaties, safeguarding the credibility and authority of the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, and give full play to their important roles in maintaining international peace and security.

Mr. President,

I had the privilege to work at the World Health Organization for over five years. There is a golden rule in the field of health, namely prevention is better than cure. I believe this rule also applies to arms control and disarmament.

The wisdom of mankind is inexhaustible. Progress in science and technology has ushered human activities into outer space and virtual space. As every coin has two sides, new technologies offer mankind huge benefits and unlimited possibilities while their military application can also pose immense potential risks and threats to the security and even the survival of mankind. Mitigation and control of such risks and threats are the historic responsibilities of people engaged in arms control. We should refrain from the old path of  arms expansion followed by disarmament or disarmament accompanied by such expansion. The efforts should instead be devoted to preventive diplomacy, and focus on checking the emerging arms race in the outer space and the cyberspace.    

The objective of arms control is to maintain security. And its achievement relies on a correct and reasonable security concept. President Xi Jinping of China recently highlighted the necessity for a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable new security concept, which has an important role in guiding and promoting efforts for international arms control.

Undiminished security is a fundamental principle for the international arms control efforts. Due to different national conditions and faced with various security environments, countries naturally have different security concerns. The legitimate security interests of all countries, big or small, strong or weak, need to be understood and respected, and their legitimate positions treated fairly on an equal basis, because only universal security for all countries constitutes genuine and sustainable security. No country should base its own security on the insecurity of others. It is necessary to abandon the practice of double standards, namely vigorously pushing for agenda items of one's own concern, but refusing to discuss those of concern to other countries. Only in this way can the process of international arms control and disarmament obtain wide support from the international community and can it be possible to achieve universality, authority and sustainability.

Mr. President,

The CD once had its glorious moment. Yet its prolonged stalemate for almost 20 years has become a matter of grave concern to all parties. Its revitalization  has become the most pressing task facing all delegations.

China believes that the key to revitalizing the CD lies in keeping pace with the changing times. In light of the new situation, we should exercise creativity by thinking out of the box and exploring new ways to overcome the deadlock. Here I would like to share some preliminary ideas.

The first is to increase the representativeness of the CD. Today when multi-polarization of the world and democratization of international relationship have become the trend of times, the lack of a broad representation is a fatal flaw to the CD, which has seriously undermined its authority. Little headway has been made over the years in the discussions to expand its membership. Instead of being bogged down by endless discussions on which country or countries should be admitted, it would be far better to take bolder measures by throwing the door open to all sovereign states, so that all aspirant countries will have the right to be members of this Conference. 

The second is to add new agenda items. A major reason for the current deadlock is that countries attach importance to vastly different agenda items, causing difficulties for reaching agreement on the Program of Work. Under such circumstances, it is on the one hand necessary to continue exploring avenues for the CD to conduct substantive work on nuclear disarmament and other traditional agenda items. On the other hand, it may not be a bad idea for breaking the stalemate to introduce some new agenda items.  In this regard, information security and the prevention of an arms race in cyberspace might be a good option.

Thirdly, treaty negotiations might not be the only objective of the CD. As the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum, the CD has always tended to view negotiations on arms control treaties as its major objective. Treaty negotiations are time-consuming and strenuous, and countries generally take a more cautious attitude to legally binding instruments. Therefore, it may be easier for the CD to make progress if it can negotiate and conclude some codes of conduct on pressing threats to international security and on issues of common concern to all countries.

Mr. President,

Those are a few ideas which have come to my mind upon my return to the CD after 20 years. I am looking forward to exploring in-depth with all colleagues in a common effort to revitalize the CD, to generate new progress in international arms control and disarmament, and to make new contributions to maintaining world peace and security.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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