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Statement by H.E. Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament (15 February, 2001, Geneva)
2004/04/16
Mr. President,

Since it is the first time I have asked for the floor during your presidency, allow me to begin by expressing the appreciation of the Chinese delegation for your unremitting efforts to facilitate the early start of substantive work of the CD. I would also like to extend our gratitude to your predecessor, Ambassador Draganov, for the valuable endeavor he has made to help overcome the difficulty facing this organization. Furthermore, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to our Secretary-General, Mr. Petrovsky, our new Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Roman-Morey, and other staff of the CD secretariat, whose hard work and good service deserve high appreciation from all of us.

Mr. President,

With the midnight striking of the bell on the New Year's Eve, mankind has entered the 21st century. The past century has experienced unprecedented social, cultural and economic development worldwide. It has also, however, witnessed the untold sufferings of mankind in innumerable wars and conflicts. Reflecting on the past in the light of the present, mankind could not aspire more for building and preserving the lasting peace, common security and universal development in the 21st century.

Facing the new century, we firmly believe that, only through mutual understanding, accommodation, respect, coordination and cooperation, can all countries in the world join hands to maintain peace and security and achieve development and prosperity. The old security concept, based on military alliances and build-up of armaments, aimed at seeking absolute security for a single country at the expense of other countries' interests, should be discarded. The 21st century needs a new security concept. The core of such a concept should be mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, cooperation, and resolving disputes through dialogue.

Mr. President,

The Chinese government has all along pursued an independent foreign policy of peace. It attaches importance to and actively participates in the ongoing efforts of the international community to promote just and rational arms control and disarmament. In the new century, China will stick to its set of principles, positions and proposals, such as preserving strategic security and stability, promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. It will continue to undertake its obliged international responsibilities. China is ready to make greater efforts to safeguard enduring peace and common security of all countries in the world.

Mr. President,

Nuclear weapons were invented by mankind in the 20th century. We believe that they can also be eliminated by mankind in the 21st century. The Final Document adopted by the 2000 NPT Review Conference bears great significance in guiding and promoting nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament process.

We believe that progress in nuclear disarmament hinges on preserving global strategic balance and stability, as well as on ensuring the undiminished security of all countries. Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should continue to reduce their respective nuclear arms drastically and irreversibly.

As a nuclear-weapon state, China never evades its responsibilities and obligations regarding nuclear disarmament. In fact, China has made unique contributions to the international nuclear disarmament cause through its rational nuclear-weapon policies as well as its positions and proposals on nuclear disarmament. The Chinese government has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all nuclear weapons. In 1994, Chinese Vice-Premier and then Foreign Minister, Mr. Qian Qichen, proposed at the UN General Assembly that the international community should negotiate and conclude a treaty banning nuclear weapons. We hope that the treaty will be concluded at an early date in the new century.

China has actively participated in the negotiation of the CTBT and was among the first batch of countries to sign the Treaty. The Chinese government has already submitted the Treaty to China's National People's Congress for ratification. We keep on urging that all nuclear-weapon states undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and that they unconditionally commit themselves never to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states. These should be codified into solemn international legal instruments. At the same time, nuclear-weapon states should also withdraw their nuclear weapons to their own territories and forgo the policies and practice of "nuclear sharing" and "nuclear umbrella".

To preserve the ABM Treaty and check the trend of weaponization of outer space is the most urgent and imperative task of today. This is also indispensable for the follow-up steps as specified in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference to proceed. On how to deal with nuclear disarmament in the CD, the Chinese delegation is in favor of the proposals put forward by the Group of 21 in CD/1570 and CD/1571. China also supports the early negotiation and conclusion of FMCT, on the premise that the global strategic stability is maintained and the nuclear disarmament process further pursued.

Mr. President,

The ABM Treaty is the cornerstone of preserving global strategic stability. Its significance is far beyond the scope of US-Russian bilateral relationship and has a direct bearing on the security of all countries. Therefore, the ABM Treaty should be strictly observed. Any attempt to undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the Treaty, by whatever excuses, will bring far-reaching negative consequences to international peace and security. The UN General Assembly has for two consecutive years overwhelmingly adopted the resolution on the preservation of and compliance with the ABM Treaty. This fully demonstrates the will and determination of the international community to maintain global strategic balance and stability and its clear position against the development and deployment of national missile defense systems.

It is the common aspiration of mankind to use outer space, the heritage of all peoples, for peaceful purposes. However, the missile defense systems currently under development pose a serious danger of outer space weaponization, which might trigger off a new arms race. We are seriously concerned about the report of a space war exercise that took place late last month. The exercise used the outer space as the battlefield and its scenario was set to happen in 2017. Anti-Satellite weapons, strategic missile defense systems and land-based laser weapons were envisaged in the exercise to attack targets in space, and space weapons to launch preventive strikes. This has irrefutably demonstrated that the weaponization of outer space is imminent.

Therefore, it has become a top priority task for the international community to take effective measures to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. China urges all countries, those with great space capabilities in particular, to strictly abide by all relevant international conventions and arms control and disarmament agreements, including bilateral ones, concerning outer space. It is imperative for each and every relevant country to stop all the activities that contravene the principles of peaceful use of outer space. What is of particular importance, the Conference on Disarmament should immediately reestablish an Ad Hoc Committee under the agenda item of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument or instruments preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, as urged by the relevant UNGA resolutions, with a view to remedying the deficiencies in the existing international legal regime.

We are deeply worried over the fact that, in recent years, the very country conducting the above-mentioned space war exercise and weaponizing outer space has single-handedly obstructed the PAROS negotiation in CD by denying the risk of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. By doing so, it will only make all countries suffer, undermining the interests of others without benefiting itself.

Mr. President,

Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has made persistent efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. To promote non-proliferation process within the framework of collective security and to conduct consultation, dialogue and cooperation on an equal footing have proven to be the correct and effective way to address the problem of proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. On the contrary, it is totally infeasible to create any unilateral or small-group regimes outside the truly global systems, or to impose, in the name of non-proliferation, unjustified economic or other type of sanctions against other countries. This can only undermine the objective of non-proliferation.

Non-proliferation is aimed at enhancing the equality and security of all countries. It must not be used as a tool for stronger or larger countries to control weaker or smaller ones, nor should it become an instrument for a handful of countries to obstruct the building of national defense of most countries in order to enhance the former's own advantages towards domination. The pragmatism of playing double standards should not be allowed in non-proliferation. Certain country vigorously promotes negotiations on non-proliferation to guard against other countries. It is far more concerned about the non-proliferation measures of other countries than about its own, always in fear of "loopholes" in other countries. At the same time, it acts willfully regarding the existing arms control and disarmament agreements, making disguised reservations through its domestic legislation, rejecting ratification or even threatening a withdrawal. Such actions will severely undermine the confidence of the international community in arms control and non-proliferation efforts. Needless to say, introducing weapons and military means into outer space or other new sphere and seeking one's own absolute security and superiority at the expense of all others will certainly disrupt all international non-proliferation efforts.

Mr. President,

Three months ago, someone alleged that the impasse in the Conference on Disarmament should be attributed to China, because China held "hostage" or set up "linkage". This is a distortion of facts. Today, it is all the more evident to everybody that the threat to strategic stability and the introduction of weapons and an arms race into outer space constitute the root cause for the stalemate in the CD during the recent two years. It is simple logic that every agenda item addressed by the CD is closely related to security and that all aspects of security are inseparable. Therefore, each agenda item cannot but inherently link to other items. The priorities of all parties should be equally valued. Negotiations can never be conducted for the benefit of one party while undermining the interests of others. We sincerely hope that the relevant delegation will take into consideration not only its own concerns but also the concerns of other countries.

The Conference on Disarmament is not only a mirror reflecting international security situation, but also a means promoting international arms control and disarmament. It should not negotiate for negotiation's sake and, what is more important, it must never only offer lip-service without doing true negotiation. The CD is duty-bound to eliminate or reduce the threat to peace and security by conducting serious negotiations to solve the serious problems facing the international community in the field of arms control and disarmament.

Undoubtedly, international arms control and disarmament efforts are currently at a crossroad. The most outstanding menace comes from the attempts to overthrow the ABM Treaty and weaponize outer space. Under such circumstances, to formulate a comprehensive and balanced programme of work and start negotiations on such issues as PAROS, nuclear disarmament, FMCT and Negative Security Assurances is not only the obligation of the CD, but also the only possible way to break the current stalemate and achieve progress. The Chinese delegation supports the Amorim Proposal as a basis for further consultation and is ready to make further efforts to reach a comprehensive and balanced programme of work.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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