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Statement by Ambassador Fu Cong on Nuclear Disarmament at the Informal Meetings of the Conference on Disarmament

Mr Coordinator ,


First of all, please allow me to congratulate you on assuming the role of the coordinator for the informal meetings on nuclear disarmament. My delegation is fully ready to work with other delegations and to have in-depth discussions on this issue under your guidance.


We have just concluded the 9th Review Conference of the NPT. Although it did not produce any outcome document, the conference did provide an opportunity for state parties to have thorough and frank discussions on a series of questions including that of nuclear disarmament, and resulted in some basic common understandings which will serve as a good basis for the nex treview cycle as we seek to advance the international nuclear disarmament process.


China agrees that the nuclear weapon states have important responsibilities in the field of nuclear disarmament. The United States and the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation have reached a series of bilateral nuclear disarmament treaties, such as the INF, the START and the new START. Those treaties are important milestones in the international nuclear disarmament process and must be scrupulously respected. At the same time, we also hope to see further substantial reductions of their respectivenucleararsenals. Once conditions are ripe, China willalso commititself to joiningthe multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiation process to make its contribution to the total and complete nuclear disarmament.


Negative security assurances are an important step to bring forward the nuclear disarmament process. All nuclearweapon States should undertake unambiguously and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states or nuclear-weapon-free zones and conclude a legallybinding international instrument to that effect. China opposes the policy and practice of some countries of extending nuclear umbrellas or nuclear sharing, or the deployment of nuclear weapons outside their own territories. We further call on those countries to withdraw such weapons and stop the development and deployment of missile defence systems, as they undermine the global and regional strategic stability and are detrimental to the international nuclear disarmament efforts.


China believes that appropriate transparency measures in the nuclear field can play a positive role in the disarmament process by increasing confidence and reducing distrust. But we must also emphasize that since the nuclear weapon states differ considerabally in their nuclear strength and strategies a one-size-fits-all transparency measure in the nuclear field is neither practical nor compatible with the principle of undiminished security for all. China has always adopted a highly transparent attitude in its nuclear policies and strategies. We recently released a white paper entitled China's Military Strategy, which reaffirmed our adherence to the principles of defence, self defence and post emptive strike. It also stressed that China will never be the first to use nuclear weapons or to carry out a nuclear arms race with any other country. The role of China's nuclear forces is to deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.  It must be noted that there is a certain degree of ambiguity in our policy concerning the number, type and places of deployment of ournuclear forces, precisely because this is an important element of our efforts to ensure that China's nuclear forces will be kept at a low-level over a long period of time. Excessive emphasis on transparency may not necessarily produce results favourable to nuclear disarmament as some countries might expect. In fact, it may even have the opposite effect. During the previous NPT review cycle, the five nuclear weapon States agreed on a common reporting framework and submitted their national implementation reports to the prepartory sessions of the 9th Review Conference. During the next review cycle, China will continue to make efforts along that line under the principle of undiminished national security.


China fully understands the concerns of some countries over the possible humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. We likewise stand for the complete prohibition and total destruction of nuclear weapons and support international efforts to draw up a practical and phased long-term plan at an appropriate moment, including the conclusion of a convention on the complete prohibition of nucelar weapons, leading to total and complete nuclear disarmament. At the same time, however,we must also realise that nuclear weapons are related to national security and the global strategic stability. Failure to recognise this fact will not contribute to progress in the nuclear disarmament process, and will over time also make such humanitarian initiatives unsustainable.


Mr. coordinator,


The international nuclear disarmament process can not take place without the participation of all the major relevant players. The principle of consensus guarantees in an important way the undiminished security of all countries. For that reason, we have always maintained that the Conference on Disarmament is the best forum for discussing and negotiating issues of nuclear disarmament. The current stalemate in the conference is caused by the lack of political will rather than by the conference itself. Therefore, starting all over again or setting up a new forum will not solve our problems. As a realistic way out, we should try and make full use of existing mechanisms and push discussions to greater depth in order to build up consensus and move the global nuclear disarmament process forward. China is ready to do its part in such an effort.


Thank you, Mr Coordinator


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