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Statement by Chinese Delegation at the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference on Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Nuclear Issues in the Middle East

Mr. Chairman,

The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is an important step toward a nuclear-weapon-free world and an important aspect of nuclear governance. It has great significance in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as well as promoting global and regional peace and security.

Currently, the NPT is still facing numerous challenges, and the situation of non-proliferation remains serious, which makes the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones extremely necessary. The international community should respect and support the efforts of non-nuclear-weapon states in establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of consultations among themselves and voluntary agreements according to their actual regional situations.

The Article VII of the NPT and the guidelines on establishing nuclear-weapons-free zones adopted by the United Nations Disarmament Commission in 1999 are still of irreplaceable importance to the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, which all relevant parties should strictly abide by and fully implement.

Mr. Chairman,

China is deeply committed to promoting global governance in the nuclear field, and supports the global efforts of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones. China is the only nuclear-weapon state that has committed unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear weapon free zones.

China has signed and ratified all the relevant protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, Treaty of Rarotonga, Treaty of Pelindaba and Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. For more than forty years, China has unswervingly fulfilled the relevant obligations. China congratulates the Treaty of Tlatelolco on its 50th anniversary, and appreciates its great contribution in the establishment of follow-up NWFZs and the enhancement of global peace and security.

China supports the Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, we calls on that concerned country to ratify this Protocol at an early date.

China respects the nuclear-weapon-free status of Mongolia. Five nuclear weapon states issued another joint statement in 2012, reiterating the support for Mongolia's status and the supply of relevant security assurances.

China has resolved all pending issues with ASEAN countries regarding the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The key issue now rests is that based on the agreement between the five nuclear-weapon states and ASEAN countries in 2011, the ASEAN countries should first sign a joint statement to confirm the Protocol, and then sign with China a relevant MOU as soon as possible. On the above basis, if the ASEAN countries all agree to sign the Protocol with five nuclear weapon states separately, China is ready to be the first to sign.

China will continue to support the efforts in establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, and commit to contribute for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

One of the root causes of the on-going hot-spot issues is that the security concerns of different countries are not equally treated and respected. The international community should abandon double standards and address these issues through political and diplomatic means. In order to ease the tension over the Korean Peninsula and pull relevant parties back to the negotiating table at an early date, China has put forward the “dual-track approach” and “suspension for suspension” proposal, on which we urge the concerned parties to make serious considerations.

The Middle East nuclear issue, as closely relates to the future of the NPT review process, is a sensitive issue which urgently needs to be properly addressed. Since this issue is also interlinked with the security of the Middle East, all parties concerned should promote the Middle East peace process in a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation, so as to enhance the regional peace and stability.

Establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones in Middle East will help ease tension and promote regional and international peace and stability. According to the Action Plan of the 8th Review Conference,the International Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and All Other Weapons of Mass Destruction should have been held in 2012 .It is a regret that the meeting has not been held so far and this led to the fruitlessness of the 9th Review Conference. The meeting can not be delayed indefinitely. All relevant parties should take flexible and practical steps to break the deadlock and to ensure the international conference be held at an early date. China is willing to participate actively in the relevant process and provide all necessary assistance.

Meanwhile, China calls on that states concerned in this region should sign and ratify Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements with IAEA, Israel should accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State and fulfill its obligations in an earnest manner, and the international society should continue to encourage concerned states to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Delegation has submitted a working paper on nuclear-weapon-free zones and nuclear issues in the Middle East which elaborates China's relevant position. We hope the elements contained therein will be reflected in the report of this PrepCom.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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