At the outset, we would like to welcome Your Excellency to assume your new post in Geneva and congratulate you on your assumption of the Coordinator of the informal meetings on agenda item of Negative Security Assurances (NSA). We appreciate your proposal on the agenda for this week’s informal meetings.
Negotiation and conclusion of international legal instruments on NSA is the aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the international community. The demands by non-nuclear-weapon States for security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and confirming such assurances in a legally binding form is fully justified and reasonable. Such assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States play a positive role in maintaining the international nuclear non-proliferation regime with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as its cornerstone, promoting nuclear disarmament process, and creating favorable international and regional security environment.
The international community has been actively promoting the conclusion of effective arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. In 1978, the first special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to disarmament called upon the nuclear-weapons States to pursue efforts to conclude effective arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Since the 1990s, the UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions every year calling on the Conference on Disarmament to start negotiations with a view to concluding relevant international legal instrument. In 2000, the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference agreed that legally binding security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States 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 the work, immediately begin substantive discussion on negative security assurances.
According to the UN Security Council Resolutions 255 and 984, the nuclear-weapon States provided positive and negative security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States. The nuclear-weapon States also provided security assurances to the parties to the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties by signing and ratifying relevant protocols to them. However, these arrangements still have flaws in their universality and effectiveness, which cannot resolve the security concerns of non-nuclear-weapon States.
China maintains that the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons is the fundamental way to resolving problems related to NSA. Pending the realization of that ultimate goal, the nuclear-weapon States should effectively decrease the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policy, commit themselves not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time under any circumstances; unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and to conclude such an international legal instrument as soon as possible.
Since the 1980s, the CD had established Ad Hoc Committees for many times to negotiate the issue of NSA, and many countries had put forward proposals on approaches and steps to achieving NSA, including definition, scope, basic obligation and framework structure of the relevant international arrangement. These proposals have positive significance in promoting the objective of NSA, and could constitute basis and references for our future work in this regard. China hopes that the CD will carry out substantive work on this issue, starting negotiations on the relevant legal instruments as early as possible.
Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China solemnly pledged no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances; unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has signed and ratified relevant Protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Treaty of Rarotonga and the Pelindaba Treaty. China has recently signed the Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-weapon-free Zone in Central Asia. China also called all nuclear-weapon states to conclude a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons.
In April 1995, the Chinese Government issued a statement reaffirming its unconditional negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon states and its commitment to offering them positive security assurances. During the Third Session of Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference recently, China submitted its national report on implementation of the NPT, reaffirming its commitments to the non-nuclear-weapon States, and reiterating its call on the international community to negotiate and conclude international legal instrument on assuring non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, and its support for the CD to start substantive work in this regard at an early date.
China will continue to make unremitting efforts to properly address the issue of security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. China is open to and will seriously study any proposals or measures which are conducive to further progress on this issue.
Thank you, Madam Coordinator