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Statement by Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the 2002 Session of the Conference on Disarmament (Feburary 7,2002, Geneva)

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, by congratulating you on your assumption of the first Presidency of the 2002 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), and expressing our appreciation for your unremitting efforts in facilitating the early commencement of substantive work of the CD.  It is my hope that, under your guidance, CD will get off to a fresh start from a sound basis at the very beginning of the Year of Horse.  I also wish to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Roberto Retancourt Ruales for the valuable contributions he made during his Presidency.

Mr. President,

As the sole multilateral negotiating body in disarmament, CD resembles a barometer of international political and security environment that in turn has a direct bearing on CD's work and progress.  Let us not deceive ourselves. The international arms control and disarmament process is facing a grave situation beset by enormous difficulties.  The ABM Treaty, which was held to be the "cornerstone of strategic stability" by the international community at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) 2000 Review Conference, will formally become null and void in months' time.  The 7-year-long negotiation on the protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was abandoned and the Ad Hoc Group has suspended its work and been left with an uncertain future.  The rejection of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has cast a pall on its future prospect while the possibility of resumption of nuclear tests is looming large on the horizon.  All these have inevitably produced a negative impact on the mutual trust among States and the overall confidence in multilateral efforts in the field of arms control and disarmament.

Against this backdrop, we are deeply convinced of the need for CD to discuss such fundamental issues as: What is the status and role of existing arms control and disarmament legal regime?  What would be the future for the international arms control and disarmament efforts?  And how to establish and preserve global strategic stability?  Such discussion will undoubtedly help guide CD in carrying out its substantive work in the future.

I.  The Status and Role of Existing International Arms Control and Disarmament Legal Regime

Mr. President,

Arms control and disarmament is not the monopoly of a handful of States.  Multilateral disarmament treaties are concluded through negotiations among many States, and as such, they embody the common will of the international community.  Thanks to the concerted efforts of the international community in the past decades, a relatively comprehensive legal regime for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation has been put in place, covering nuclear, chemical, biological and some types of conventional weapons.  The treaties concluded during the Cold War era, such as the NPT, ABM and BWC and those concluded or negotiated after the Cold War, such as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the CTBT, have all exemplified humankind's tireless pursuit for international peace and security through arms control and disarmament.  Such a legal regime has become part and parcel of the global collective security structure centered on the United Nations and plays a crucial role in maintaining global and regional security and stability.  This role should be preserved and further enhanced.

Nevertheless, this legal regime is now confronted with unprecedented challenges, including in particular attempts to replace international cooperation with unilateral actions and the adoption of policies of expediency towards international legal instruments in the interests of one's own "absolute security".   Subsequently, we have witnessed a series of negative developments:

 --The abrogation of the ABM Treaty.

 --The adoption of egoistic attitude and double standards on the issue of non-proliferation;

 --The practice of applying stringent measures on others and lenient ones on oneself with respect to treaty compliance;

 --The adoption of certain domestic legislation, which is tantamount to distorting the obligations explicitly provided for in international treaty;

 --Push for speedy conclusion of a treaty with an extremely strict verification regime during negotiations, but make a U-turn when the deal is done to reject out of hand the ratification of such a treaty.

All those behaviors have not only undermined the credibility and fairness of international arms control and disarmament treaties, but also impaired the confidence among States.

In view of the new situation, it is the common responsibility of the international community to preserve the integrity and credibility of international arms control and disarmament system, as such a system is of vital importance to maintaining international peace and security.

Countries should join hands in working to preserve and promote this system.  In doing so, what is required is cooperation rather than confrontation, a uniform standard rather than double or even multiple standards, and consistent rather than fluid policies and positions.

Any conduct that seeks to undermine this legal regime will prove to be shortsighted, and will only add uncertainty and unpredictability to the international security landscape.

Mr. President,

Last December, in the wake of the declared withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, President Jiang Zemin pointed out to President Putin and President Bush that, in the current situation, it is essential to preserve international arms control and disarmament system, and that China stands ready with the rest of the world to make its continuous efforts in maintaining international peace and stability.

This will continue to guide the efforts of my delegation.  

II. The Future Direction of International Arms Control and Disarmament Efforts

Mr. President,

Faced with a growing negative trend in international affairs, the Chinese delegation has in the past two years repeatedly stressed that the international arms control and disarmament has come to a crossroads.  Confronted with such a grave situation, we need to reflect upon the direction of future arms control and disarmament process.

The objectives of future arms control and disarmament, as we hold, should be as follows:

 -- Preservation of global strategic stability;

 -- Consolidation, development and promotion of the existing arms control and disarmament legal regime;

 -- Prevention of the introduction of weapons or weapon systems into outer space;

 -- Complete prohibition and total destruction of all nuclear weapons and other weapons of massive destruction;

 -- Nonproliferation of such weapons and their means of delivery.

Two basic requirements must be met for the above objectives to be attained. Firstly, a new concept of security based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation should be established.  The Cold War mentality and power politics should be abolished, and disputes between nations should be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.   Disarmament is aimed at enhancing the security, and security must be for All.  The world would not enjoy genuine peace without the security for the vast majority of developing countries.  

Secondly, global arms control and disarmament cooperation should be strengthened.  Unilateralism and approach of expediency in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation must be discarded.  We are against employing arms control and disarmament as a tool for the strong to control the small and the weak, or as a means to optimize one's military buildup so as to obtain unilateral superiority.  Even less should we allow ensuring the absolute security at the expense of the security of others.  If common understanding is found on these aspects, the confidence, trust and political will of common endeavor among States will be restored, and the global arms control and disarmament process will break out the current standstill and resume its march on the right track.

With the evolution of international security situation and because of the increase in the non-traditional threats from diverse sources, the existing arms control and disarmament regime need to be further strengthened and developed. Only through multilateral and collective cooperation can we eliminate terrorism, a common enemy to the security of all countries.  Undoubtedly, the healthy development of arms control and disarmament efforts will contribute to the global war against terrorism.  Such an effort also requires multilateral cooperation since its objective is to ensure collective security.

It is our belief that negotiating legally binding treaties should continue to be the core of the international arms control and disarmament process. These treaties should be verifiable and equipped with mechanisms dealing with non-compliance.  Unilateral statement of a voluntary nature can only serve as a complementary measure to arms control and disarmament.

III. The Establishment and Preservation of International Strategic Stability

Mr. President,

The ABM Treaty, which has been the underpinning of international strategic balance and stability for almost thirty years, will soon be abolished.  How to establish and preserve global strategic balance and stability in the new context stands out as a pressing issue before the international community.  In our view, the following principles and measures are of vital importance:

 -- A sustainable strategic stability framework based on international legal regimes should be established and preserved;

 -- The negotiations between the Russian Federation and the US on a new strategic framework should take into account the interests of every State and aim at ensuring common security.  They should address the security concerns of all countries and should be open and transparent;

 -- Major nuclear powers should further cut their huge nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner through legally binding instrument(s);

 -- The CTBT, which aims at promoting nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation, deserves respect and should enter into force upon adequate ratification;

 -- The commitment of mutual de-targeting by the Nuclear Weapons States should be observed. The nuclear deterrence doctrine characterized by the policy of first-use should be abandoned;

 -- Measures should be taken to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space.  

IV. Prevention of Weaponization of Outer Space and the Work of the CD

Mr. President,

With the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and the accelerated development of missile defense and outer space weapon systems, outer space risks being weaponized.  Against this backdrop, it is our view that the CD should, in accordance with UNGA resolution A/RES/56/23, establish an Ad Hoc Committee on the prevention of an arms race in outer space with a negotiating mandate and conclude relevant legally binding international instrument at an early date.

To this end, China has submitted a working paper entitled "Possible Elements of the Future International Legal Instrument on the Prevention of the Weaponization of Outer Space"(CD/1645), about which we are ready to listen to comments and suggestions by all sides in a flexible and open-minded spirit.  With regard to the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS, the Chinese delegation has put forward a document contained in CD/1576. We also continue to support the draft mandate on PAROS proposed respectively by the Group of 21 and the delegation of the Russian Federation, which are contained in documents CD/1570 and CD/1644.  We hope that CD could immediately resume its substantive work on such a basis, so as to start negotiations also on other important issues, including nuclear disarmament and fissile material cut-off.

Thank you, Mr. President.                                                                                        

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