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Statement on Security Assurances for on-nuclear-weapon States by H. E. Mr. Cheng Jingye, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament

Mr. President,

Since this is the first time that I take the floor under your presidency, please allow me, at the outset, to congratulate you on your assumption of the CD presidency. You can count on the full cooperation of the Chinese Delegation. We believe the Conference, under your able guidance, will undertake a fruitful focused debate on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states.

Mr. President,

Providing security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states is an important issue in the field of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and also a main issue on the agenda of the CD. The issue has a long history. Before starting the negotiations on the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), non-nuclear-weapon states had tirelessly demanded for their legitimate rights of security assurances and their efforts have achieved certain results.

The Security Council Resolutions 255 and 984 require that the nuclear-weapon states, to a certain extent, provide positive and negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states. In recent years, the international community continues its efforts of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones. By signing and ratifying protocols related to various nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, the nuclear-weapon states have provided security assurances to the states parties of the treaties. The Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, which evolved eventually into the current CD, established an ad hoc working group on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states and reestablished the ad hoc committees for several times from then on to discuss this issue deeply. The issue has also been discussed extensively in the UN General Assembly and the review process of the NPT.

Regrettably, non-nuclear-weapon states have not been provided by nuclear-weapon states with unconditional security assurances of no-use of nuclear weapons, and the negotiations on an international legal instrument on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states have not yet been launched.

At the same time, some tendencies in the international security situation are disturbing. The development of following preemptive nuclear strategy, emphasizing nuclear weapon's role in national security policy and establishing nuclear strike plans targeting non-nuclear-weapon states has made the proper settlement of the NSA issue much more prominent.

Mr. President,

Security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states is not a one-way favor accorded by the nuclear-weapon states. The non-nuclear-weapon states, by refraining from developing nuclear weapons, contribute to the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear disarmament, which is obviously in the interests of world peace and stability. Providing them with security assurances will enhance their sense of security, reduce their motivation to acquire nuclear weapons, and will therefore play a positive role in preventing nuclear weapons proliferation and safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, of which the NPT is the cornerstone, and help create a positive and sound international and regional environment for nuclear disarmament.

Non-nuclear-weapon states are fully justified in demanding not to be threatened by nuclear weapons and insisting that the relevant assurances be given in a legally-binding form.

Mr. President,

The UN Security Council's resolution on security assurances is different from a legal instrument, and its content is limited. An international legal instrument on NSA is conducive to addressing the issue in a comprehensive, effective and sustainable way. Therefore, early commencement of negotiations on NSA remains a realistic task in the current context of international arms control and disarmament.

The 60th UNGA adopted once again a resolution which appeals to all states, especially the nuclear weapon states, to work actively towards an early conclusion of an international legal instrument on the negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states, and recommends the Conference on Disarmament to engage in such negotiations at an early date.

The fundamental solution to the issue of security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states is the complete prohibition and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. Before meeting this objective, all nuclear-weapon states should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time or under any circumstances, and to conclude an international legal instrument to this effect at an early date.

Mr. President,

Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has committed itself not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time and under any circumstances. China has undertaken to take action within the UN Security Council in order that the Council take appropriate measures to provide, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, necessary assistance to any non-nuclear-weapon State that comes under attack with nuclear weapons, and impose strict and effective sanctions on the attacking State. In its statement issued in 1995, China reaffirmed the above position.

China has been calling on all nuclear states to conclude a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons. China and the Russian Federation have concluded an agreement on no-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other.

China has signed and ratified all protocols to nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties which are open for signature. China has already reached an agreement with ASEAN on the protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. We hope for an early resolution of relevant issues between ASEAN and the other four nuclear-weapon states so that the protocol will be open for signature as soon as possible. China supports the efforts of the five Central Asian countries to set up a nuclear-weapon-free zone. China has no difficulty with the current texts of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its Protocol and hopes that an agreement could be reached between the five Central Asian countries and other nuclear-weapon states at an early date. China is in constant support of the UN resolution on Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas.

China supports the Conference on Disarmament to establish, in accordance with the relevant mandate as contained in the A5 proposal, an ad hoc committee on NSA so that it can start substantive work in negotiating an international legal instrument on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states. We can also agree to the negotiations of a protocol on security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states within the framework of the NPT. China will give favorable consideration to any proposal or initiative as long as they are conducive to progress on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states.

It is China's hope that the aspiration of non-nuclear-weapon states for universal and legally-binding security assurances will be realized at an early date and we shall make our unremitting efforts to that end.

Thank you, Mr. President,

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