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Statement by H.E. Ambassador FU CONG, Head of the Chinese Delegation,At the 2015 BWC Meeting of Experts
2015/08/11
 

                                                      

Mr. Chairman,

       Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to sincerely congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the meeting. I am convinced that with your rich diplomatic experience, you will guide our meeting to a positive and fruitful result. The Chinese delegation will fully support your work.

Mr. Chairman,

While rapid progress in biological science and technology has brought benefits to human health and social development, it has also engendered various risks and challenges, and has rendered the issue of bio-safety and security more prominent in this century.

Firstly, the increasing risks for the misuse of biological science and technology. At present, the development of biological science and technology has entered the fast lane, with emerging new technologies and means as well as expanding scope of the research. The ensuing accumulated risks for misusing biological science and technology constitute potential challenges for the bright prospect of utilizing biological science and technology.

Secondly, the yawning gap between the North and the South in biological technology. Due to their low starting point, weak basis and late development in bio-tech research, the developing countries are lagging further behind the developed countries in bio-tech equipment, personnel qualifications and research capabilities with deteriorating imbalance between the North and the South in technological capabilities, and are increasingly becoming the weak area of bio-safety and security.

Thirdly, the grim situation in the prevention and control of epidemics. Epidemics pose a grave threat to human health and global security and stability. In recent years, successive outbreaks of SARS, Avian Influenza, Ebola Virus Disease and MERS have highlighted the disquieting situation in the prevention and control of epidemics in a globalized world.

Fourthly, the looming threat of biological weapons. Due to the long-standing lack of a legally-binding protocol of the Convention, rapid progress in bio-science and technological means and the dual-use nature of bio-defense technology, activities for the research and development of bio-offensive capabilities have become more secret and concealed, with the possibility for the evil of biological weapons to reappear in the world.

Mr. Chairman,

       In view of the above risks and challenges, the States Parties conducted in-depth and fruitful  discussions on the 4 items  adopted by the 7th Review Conference of the Convention, namely the development of bio-science and technology, international cooperation, national implementation and strengthening implementation of Article VII, in an effort to enhance the role of the Convention in areas such as the elimination of biological weapons, the prevention of  their proliferation, the promotion of peaceful use of bio-technology as well as exchange and transfer, and the maintenance of global bio-safety and security. In our view, it is necessary to adhere to a bio-safety and security concept featuring balance, cooperation, mutual assistance and equity, and to earnestly strengthen the effectiveness and authority of the Convention so as to create a community of common destiny for global bio-safety and security.

"Balance" means attaching importance to both development and supervision, and to reduce the risks for the misuse of biological science and technology. The continuous development of biological science and technology has raised the requirement for the supervising and monitoring of bio-safety and security. China supports the efforts of States Parties to improve their capacity building for bio-safety and security according to their specific situations, to raise their level of management and transparency for dual-use bio-science and technology research, to establish risk assessment and early warning systems for the misuse of bio-science and technology, and to raise awareness of research personnel concerning bio-safety and security. We also support the sharing of useful experience on bio-risk management among countries, to evaluate in time the impact of the development of bio-science and technology on the Convention, so as to ensure that the implementation of the Convention keep up with the progress of biological science and technology.

"Cooperation" means breaking the barrier between the North and the South so that the development of biological science and technology can benefit all States Parties, especially the developing countries. Bio-safety and security is common security. The incompetence in biological science and technology in one country will affect the global bio-safety and security system as a whole. The Chinese delegation calls on the States Parties to actively implement the Article X of the Convention, abandon double standards and discriminatory practices, take into full account developing countries' legitimate needs for bio-technology, materials and equipment, improve States Parties' capabilities for implementation and facilitate healthy and sustained development of the Convention. China is opposed to usurping other countries' bio-information and resources by using one's own technological advantages under the banner of cooperation.

"Mutual assistance" means proper response to any bio-safety and security incidents and timely carrying out relevant international assistance.  The Chinese delegation supports conducting assistance under the Article VII of the Convention. We believe that States Parties should provide assistance to other States Parties as requested when the latter are exposed to dangers of violation of the Convention, including alleged use of biological weapons. We are in favor of active roles played by WHO, OIE, and FAO as well as other competent international organizations in the response to major epidemiological outbreaks. These international organizations may, in accordance with their respective mandates, provide public health and humanitarian assistance to States Parties that experience real difficulties.

"Equitable" means the rights, interests and national conditions of different states should be respected, and a compliance mechanism of the Convention which is equitable, reasonable, effective, and viable should be established. The Chinese delegation supports enhanced national implementation by States Parties on a gradual and voluntary basis and in light of each country's national condition.  China always believes that the negotiation and conclusion of a protocol on the comprehensive strengthening of the effectiveness of the Convention, including a verification mechanism, would be the best compliance mechanism within the framework of the Convention.  Investigation of alleged use of biological weapons is a complex and sensitive matter and should be handled in strict accordance with the relevant provisions, namely, States Parties may lodge a complaint under Article VI with the Security Council, which should in turn decide upon and preside over any possible investigation. At the same time, States Parties must remain vigilant to the threats posed by conventional biological weapons, and enhance the cooperation between the Convention and the 1540 Committee and other relevant mechanisms, in order to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons and bio-terrorism.

Mr. Chairman,

China always upholds the objectives and purposes of the Convention, and attaches great importance to bio-safety and security. In the spirit of comprehensive and effective implementation of the Convention, China has timely submitted information on its confidence building measures, and put in place a legislative system that encompasses all aspects of the Convention, as well as an effective national implementation mechanism. Guided by its overall national security concept, China has set out to enhance the overall strategy on bio-safety and security, to engage in capacity building and to actively promote international cooperation in the field of biology. China has provided, to the best of its capacity and upon request, material assistance and training to other countries in need.  Last January, a Sino-French cooperation project, China's first BSL-4 laboratory was completed in Wuhan. Now the laboratory is in the general test-run stage. Relevant declaration will be submitted as soon as all the necessary certifications are available. During the past year, China has also actively provided financial, material, technical and personnel assistance to the West African countries in their response to the Ebola outbreak. 

Mr. Chairman,

As an important component of the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, the Convention has withstood the test of changing times, and made significant contribution to maintaining world peace, security and stability. This year marks the 70th anniversary of world's victory in the war against fascism, as well as the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention.  The 8th Review Conference is scheduled for next year. It is essential to seize this opportunity to further enhance the universality and effectiveness of the Convention and to give it a greater role to play.

The Chinese delegation pledges its readiness to participate in this meeting with a pragmatic and constructive attitude, and to engage in an in-depth exchange of views with all parties on relevant items, so that together we can move the meeting to a positive outcome.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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