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Statement by Ambassador Fu Cong on Reducing the Role of Nuclear Weapons at the Informal Meetings of the Conference on Disarmament
2015/06/18
 

Mr. Coordinator,

During the informal plenary last week, all parties held in-depth discussion on nuclear disarmament. I also elaborated the relevant positions of China on that occasion. In reference to some of the questions you have raised today, I wish further to elaborate China’s views on the issue of reducing the role of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Coordinator,

The size of the nuclear arsenals of a nuclear weapon state and the status of their deployment depend to a large extent on its military security strategy, especially on its nuclear doctrine. Only when the national security policy effectively reduces the role of nuclear weapons and dependency on nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence will the risk of the use of nuclear weapons be genuinely reduced and the necessary conditions created for substantive reduction of nuclear arsenals and the ultimate creation of a world free from nuclear weapons.

In this regard, the following measures will be of real significance for reducing the role of nuclear weapons:

I. No first use of nuclear weapons. A mutual and explicit undertaking by nuclear weapon states not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against one another and conclusion of an legal instrument to that effect will help increase mutual trust amongst nuclear weapon states, decrease the need for maintaining a huge nuclear arsenal and reduce the probability of the outbreak of a nuclear war among nuclear weapon states.

China has consistently abided by its undertaking not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances. In January 1994, China proposed to other four nuclear weapon states a draft Treaty on No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons and has actively sought a bilateral or multilateral undertaking with other nuclear weapon states not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against one another. Our offer of the draft treaty remains valid today. It is our hope that other nuclear weapon states can give favourable consideration to the draft.

II. No use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. Vast numbers of non-nuclear weapon states have given up developing or acquiring nuclear weapons, which represents the most fundamental contribution to prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to nuclear disarmament. Non-nuclear weapon states have raised a totally just and reasonable demand not to be subjected to the threat of nuclear weapons and to formalize such security assurances with a legally binding force.

China abides strictly by its commitment not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear weapon free zones. We call on other nuclear weapon states to enter such a commitment, too, and to support the conclusion, through the negotiation at the Conference on Disarmament, of a legally binding international instrument.

III. No provision of a nuclear umbrella to other countries. Nuclear sharing and extended nuclear deterrence are products of confrontation between two military blocs during the Cold War and are inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the Treaty of Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. They have increased the risk of use of nuclear weapons and the outbreak of nuclear war and have also become an obstacle to nuclear disarmament process. At the same time, while sheltered by a nuclear umbrella, some states talk incessantly of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear detonation, thus making people call into question the coherence and seriousness of their policy.

We call on the countries concerned to abandon their policy of nuclear sharing and extended nuclear deterrence by withdrawing their nuclear weapons deployed abroad and completely eliminating the role of nuclear weapons in their military alliance.

IV. No development or deployment of weapon systems that would disrupt strategic stability. We have consistently maintained that maintenance of a global strategic balance and stability is critical to a reduced role for nuclear weapons in national security policy. Nuclear disarmament cannot take place in a vacuum. Reduction of the role of nuclear weapons will require a relatively stable international environment and a relatively balanced strategic framework. Such practices as deployment of missile defence systems, vigorous development of advanced conventional weapons, an enthusiastic quest for military capabilities in outer space and cyberspace will not be conducive to global strategic balance and stability. Instead of helping reduce the role of nuclear weapons, they may even lead to a possible reversal of nuclear disarmament process, thus triggering a new round of the arms race.

V. Promotion of the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones. The establishment of nuclear weapon free zones will not only be conducive to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but is also an important measure in reducing the role of nuclear weapons, thus promoting comprehensive and thorough nuclear disarmament. China has signed and ratified relevant protocols of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Treaty of Rarotonga and the Pelindaba Treaty. China has recently ratified the protocol of the CANWFZ Treaty. We have no difficulty with the protocol of SEANWFZ Treaty. It is hoped that the relevant outstanding issues can be resolved at an early date so as to promote an early opening of the protocol to signature.

We deeply regret the failure of the NPT Review Conference to reach a consensus on the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. We are of the view that establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction will not only be conducive to the nuclear disarmament process, but also serve at the same time as an important channel for political reconciliation and for easing regional tension in the Middle East, and that the relevant international conference should be held at an early date. China is ready to take an active part in relevant efforts and provide all the necessary support.

Thank you, Mr. Coordinator.

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