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Statement By H.E. Ambassador Fu Cong At the Meeting of Informal Working Group

Madame Co-chair,

      At the outset, we'd like to express our appreciation to you for once again convening the meeting of the Informal Working Group on the Program of Work, as well as the fact that, during the preceding period, you reached out extensively to seek the opinions of all sides regarding a program of work. We are convinced that under your leadership, this Working Group will achieve positive progress this year.

      Madame Co-Chair,

     At the meeting of this Informal Working Group on June 19th, I presented China's train of thought on how to break the deadlock in the CD and achieve a program of  work, such as promoting discussions in the CD of new emerging topics in the fields of international security and arms control, drawing up political instruments on hot topics in the fields of international arms control and disarmament through negotiations, as well as conducting substantive structural discussions on all agenda items on the CD's agenda. In connection with the list of questions you have circulated through the Secretariat, I would like to make some further comments.

     Firstly, we are open to considering and adding new agenda items in light of new developments of the international security and arms control situations. At the same time, we could also consider discussing and addressing new issues of international security and arms control within the framework of the traditional agenda items of the CD.

     I flagged the issue of cyber security at our last meeting. This question could be discussed as a new agenda item in the CD.  It could also be addressed under a traditional agenda item, such as item 5 "New Types of Weapons of Mass Destruction ".  Recently, the 2014-2015 UN Group of Governmental Experts on Information Security successfully concluded its report, which we welcome. This current GGE achieved a further understanding of the threat posed by the malicious use of ICTs to international peace and security, conducted in-depth deliberations on how to formulate norms governing state's behavior in cyber space, and recommended further development by states collectively of concept of international peace and security in the use of ICTs at the legal, technical and policy levels. The CD could potentially play an active role in this regard.

    Secondly, we support negotiations in the CD to conclude political instruments. The Conference on Disarmament is a multilateral disarmament negotiating body, and nothing in its rules of procedures precludes it from negotiating politically-binding international instruments such as codes of conduct. The prevention of an arms race in outer space has always been the priority item for our delegation in this forum. We have all along called for negotiations to be launched as soon as possible in the Conference on an international legal instrument on this topic based on the PPWT tabled by China and Russia. Pending that, as an intermediate step or a complimentary measure, we are also ready for negotiations here on a political instrument on outer space security.

     We are aware that EU members are actively pushing for negotiations on an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, but there are still grave concerns on the part of many countries on its content and mandate for negotiations. Since the draft Code is trying to grapple with issues of international security, like the right to self-defence, we may very well envisage having such negotiations in the CD. This will on the one hand break its stalemate and on the other hand ensure the authority, credibility and effectiveness of such a Code once it is adopted.

     Thirdly, we have also noted proposals for work on the item of transparency in armaments, particularly on nuclear transparency. Since the 1990s, discussions on TIA were indeed held in the Conference on Disarmament. But no substantive outcome was reached because of major differences among delegations.

     Meanwhile, the international community has for many years undertaken successful endeavours in this field, as reflected in the smooth operation of the UN Register for Conventional Arms, leaving little scope for the CD to get involved. As for the nuclear transparency, there are decisions adopted by successive NPT Review Conferences on the transparency measures to be taken by nuclear weapon states. Besides, such an issue is too sensitive and complicated to be taken as an issue for the CD to break out from the deadlock. It would be better to leave the relevant discussions to the NPT.

     Fourthly, we are in favour of having discussions at technical experts level in the CD on some agenda items as a means to deepen our understanding of the issues involved and generate momentums for substantive progress. We are looking forward to an early agreement on the programme of work of the CD at the start of its next annual session. Falling short of that, we can at least produce a Schedule of Activities right as early as possible. Substantive discussions on agenda items should be held at the CD plenary. To facilitate the participation of experts from capitals, it would be desirable for meetings under the same agenda item to be grouped together. We hope such discussions will produce outcome documents of a substantial nature.

     Thank you, Madame Co-Chair.

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