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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Fu Cong 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. The Chinese delegation will fully support your work. At the same time, we would also like to express our appreciation to your predecessor, H.E. Ambassador Maung Wai, Permanent Representative of Myanmar for his unremitting efforts during his presidency.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Kim Woo-soo, the Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and congratulate Mr. Michael Møller for his appointment as the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva and Secretary-General of the Conference. We look forward to your continuing support to the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

Please allow me to express our regret for the departure of H.E. Ambassador Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference. We wish him every success on his new post.

Mr. President,

The second part of this year's session of the Conference on Disarmament is coming to an end. Although the Conference has yet to reach a program of work, member states have carried out in-depth discussions on core issues of the agenda in accordance with the schedule of activities, and conducted candid exchange of views on the program of work in the framework of the Informal Working Group. This is helpful to enhance mutual understanding of each other's positions, accumulate consensus, and explore feasible ways to break the impasse of the CD.

    We expect further discussions on relevant issues in the remaining part of the session will be equally in-depth and fruitful. We also hope the President and H.E. Ambassador Kairamo, co-chair of the IWG will continue their efforts to explore with member states possible program of work that can be accepted by all.

Mr. President,

Recently, I have on various occasions elaborated some of our views and approaches on promoting the work of the CD, including addressing cyber security and other emerging international security and arms control issues at the CD; negotiating politically binding instruments on such issues as space security; and carrying out structured and substantive discussions on various issues on the CD's agenda to create conditions and get prepared for the start of future negotiations.

I have taken note of the preliminary comments by some colleagues. I sincerely hope that all member states will, proceeding from the overall objective of promoting multilateral arms control and disarmament and revitalize the CD, keep an open mind and positively respond to these proposals.

Mr. President,

China attaches great importance to the unique role of the CD, and is deeply concerned about its long-standing deadlock. The current situation reflects that the root cause of the stalemate is the lack of political will of different parties on commencing negotiations on different agenda items. We need to face this reality. At the same time, we should realize that break the deadlock and revitalize the CD requires flexibility from all sides, and this also requires political will. 

Currently, the international situation is experiencing profound transformation. The security threats are becoming more complex and diversified. Regional hotspots and armed conflicts are popping up from time to time. New technology development has brought forth military transformation and new forms of arms race. Against this backdrop, the role of the CD and other international arms control and disarmament mechanism in safeguarding and enhancing world peace and security is getting more important rather than decreasing. We are deeply concerned that the CD remains in stalemate, and some security and arms control negotiations that can be carried out in the CD are taking place elsewhere.

As the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum, the CD should bear its responsibility to play its due role and commence substantive work as soon as possible. Therefore, rather than rigidly sticking to decades old established positions, member states should adopt a more open attitude, make necessary political decisions, including reviewing positions on the traditional agenda items of the CD, actively exploring ways to address important emerging issues in the field of international security and arms control, as well as more flexible approaches to traditional agenda items. No country should only push for their so-called priority issues, while rejecting any other proposals made by other parties. This will only end up in more deep stalemate of the CD, and further marginalization of its role in international security and arms control.

Mr. President,

Consensus lies at the core of the CD's rules of procedure. We always believe that this principle provides important guarantee for member states to safeguard their national security interests in multilateral negotiations. The history of the CD has proved that as long as there is enough political will from member states, the rule of consensus did not and will not constitute an obstacle to negotiations and conclusion of multilateral arms control treaties. On the contrary, such a rule helps to ensure that negotiations take place in an orderly manner and also helps to ensure the effectiveness and universality of the outcome of such negotiations. The principle of consensus should apply to all the negotiations of security and arms control legal and political instruments.

We note that for some states, the rule of consensus is absolutely crucial for issues they oppose, but to promote other issues in their interests, such states may prefer to give up this principle. Such a cynical approach to the rule of consensus is not acceptable.

In this regard, the EU's decision to organize multilateral negotiations on an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities later this month in New York is a case in point. Like many other states, we have raised in previous open-ended consultations various concerns about procedural issues including the venue and mandate for such negotiations, as well as substantive issues regarding the content of the draft code, such as the issue of right of self-defense. Unfortunately, these concerns have not been duly addressed by the EU. In particular, according to the modalities of organizing the negotiations as provided by the EU, abandoning the rule of consensus becomes a prerequisite for states to participate in the negotiations. We do not believe this is an appropriate approach on the part of the EU to conduct negotiations in good faith. We therefore hope the EU will fully address of the concerns of China and other states, so as to facilitate broad participation in the meeting. We appeal again that the negotiations of code of conduct should be brought into the framework of the Conference on Disarmament.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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