Negative Security Assurances is an important agenda item of the Conference on Disarmament. China believes that security assurances by the nuclear-weapon states to non-nuclear-weapon states is of great importance to strengthening international non-proliferation regime with the NPT as its cornerstone, safeguarding international security and achieving the ultimate goal of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
Firstly, to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument on NSA is the strong aspiration of the majority of countries. In 1978, the first special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to disarmament declared that effective arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons could strengthen the security of those states. In 2000, the Final Document of the sixth NPT Review Conference agrees that legally binding security assurances by the nuclear-weapon states to the non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Action Plan in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference provides that the CD should, within the context of an agreed programme of work, immediately begin substantive discussion on negative security assurances.
Secondly, the provision of legally binding security assurances by nuclear-weapon states to non-nuclear-weapon states constitutes an important intermediate step towards a world without nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear-weapon states have committed themselves not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. They are therefore entitled to receiving negative security assurances from nuclear-weapon states. The commitment by nuclear-weapon states not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states, together with commitment by nuclear-weapon states not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other, will significantly reduce the potential threats of nuclear war, and create necessary conditions for further promoting nuclear disarmament and achieving complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
Thirdly, efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones should be respected and supported. Those efforts by non-nuclear-weapon states to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned have made great contributions to nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Nuclear-weapon states should respect the status of those nuclear-weapon-free zones, duly assume relevant obligations in a legally-binding manner, especially undertaking not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nuclear-weapon-free zones. Meanwhile, the international community should work together to promote and facilitate efforts to build new nuclear-weapon-free zones.
Fourthly, the CD should carry out substantive work on negotiating and concluding an international legal instrument on NSA as soon as possible. NSA has been a mature agenda item of the CD. Since the 1990s, the UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions every year calling on the CD to start negotiations to conclude such international legal instrument. The CD had for consecutive years established Ad Hoc Committees on NSA, which had carried out in-depth work on ways and means to achieve negative security assurances and produced many useful proposals, laying a solid foundation for the negotiation of relevant legal instrument. The CD should start substantive work on NSA at an early stage on the basis of its previous efforts.
China’s position on negative security assurances remains clear and consistent. Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has committed not to be the first to use such weapons at any time and in any circumstances, and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China supports the early start of substantive work in the CD to conclude an international legal instrument on negative security assurances. China is open to any proposals or initiatives that may contribute to this goal.
Thank you, Mr. President.