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

Mr. President,

At the outset, the Chinese delegation thanks you for arranging today’s discussion. We believe this kind of discussion is conducive to deepening understanding among member states on the situation in the field of international security and disarmament, and finding a new line of thought for overcoming the impasse in the CD.

Mr. President,

70 years after the victory of the war over fascism, international security is in a serious state due to a combination of traditional and non-traditional security threats, and a huge amount of work remains to be done on arms control and disarmament. S&T development has brought about tremendous improvement to the life of mankind, but new challenges to international security at the same time. Cyber security is especially a case in point. Cybercrimes and cyber terrorism are on the increase. Mass data surveillance over the Internet by certain countries has grossly violated the sovereignty of other countries and the right to privacy of their citizens. Cyber attacks and a tendency towards militarization of cyber space have undermined international security and mutual trust.

Security, stability and prosperity in cyber space are essential to the wellbeing of the entire human race and should be viewed in the context of the overall policy of international and regional security. Cyber security is of a global nature and crosses over multiple domains, and no country can cope with it alone. International cooperation is the only effective means for addressing this issue.

Over recent years, governance in cyber space has become a hot topic for international discussion. Some beneficial consensus has been achieved and some norms have been formulated, which have provided a basis for pragmatic cooperation. However, there still are divergences of views among countries on some significant issues related to the peace and security in cyber space. And the continued practice of unilateralism and double standards constitute a hidden threat to peace and security in cyber space. We are of the view that the pressing task at hand for the international community is to explore and formulate an international code of conduct or norms for the responsible behavior of states, which could suit the special nature of cyber space and are acceptable to all, in order to effectively prevent the cyber space from becoming a new battle ground.

According to the report adopted by the Group of Governmental Experts On Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications In the Context of International Security at its recent session, voluntary, non-binding norms of responsible State behavior can reduce risks to international peace, security and stability and can help to prevent conflict in the ICT environment and contribute to its peaceful use. The GGE has proposed some recommendations on possible norms of behavior, such as developing and applying measures to increase stability and security in the use of ICTs; not allowing one’s territory to be used for wrongful acts using ICT; strengthening cooperation and assistance on combating cybercrimes and cyber terrorism; refraining from cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure of other countries and ensuring the integrity of the supply chain for the network infrastructure.

It should be pointed out that in this regard China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Ouzbekistan in 2011 put forward a draft International Code of Conduct on Information Security, and not long ago tabled an updated draft of it. This is the first international document which comprehensively and systematically elaborates on norms of conduct for cyber space. It covers adherence to the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations, the prevention of cyber war and the militarization of cyber space, the protection of citizens’ rights and interests, opposition to interference in other countries’ internal affairs through cyber means, the combat against cyber crimes and cyber terrorism, the promotion of equitable governance of internet, obtaining support from many countries.

We have also noted that not long ago, the Secretary of State of U.S., Mr. Kerry stated that the international community should cooperate in cyber security, avoid conflict in cyber space and seek a broad consensus on where to draw the line between responsible and irresponsible behavior in cyber space. The U.S. supports principles that can contribute to conflict prevention and stability in cyber space, such as no supporting online activity that damages another country’s infrastructure, not preventing other countries’ emergency response to cyber incident, not conducting or supporting cyber-enabled theft of secrets, mitigating malicious cyber activity emanating from one’s soil, and helping states that are victimized by a cyber attack.

The above facts show that in spite of their different positions on the cyber issue, all countries are fully cognizant of the importance of maintaining the peaceful use of cyber space and the urgency of establishing norms of conduct for cyber space. It is our view that time is ripe for the international community to formulate an international code of conduct for the cyber space on the basis of universal participation and consultation on an equal footing.

Mr. President,

The cyber issue touches upon strategic stability and constitutes an unavoidable major item for arms control. As the single negotiating forum for multilateral disarmament, the CD should keep up with the times, discuss and address the issue of cyber security. Only in this way can it maintain its authority and revitalize itself. Although the cyber issue is not a traditional item of the CD, yet with creative thinking it should be possible to make appropriate arrangement for the CD to conduct in-depth discussion on cyber security, and to further advance the process of preventive diplomacy in the field of cyber security.

Peace, cooperation and development are the common aspiration of the international community. As human life has entered the new stage of increasing digitalization, the issue as to what kind of cyber space should be established needs no further elaboration. China is willing to work with the whole international community in an unremitting effort to build a better cyber space.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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