China believes that the provision of security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States is of practical and vital significance to the full implementation of the NPT and further advancement of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Firstly, the demand for legally-binding security assurances by non-nuclear-weapon States is fully justified and reasonable. On the one hand, these countries, by committing themselves to refrain from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons, have made an important contribution to international nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation process and are therefore entitled to receiving negative security assurances from nuclear-weapon States. On the other hand, security assurances will enhance non-nuclear-weapons States' sense of security and reduce their incentives to seek nuclear weapons, thus contributing to maintaining and strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Secondly, the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons is the fundamental way to resolving problems related to negative security assurances. Pending the realization of that ultimate goal, the nuclear-weapon states should 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. Meanwhile, the nuclear-weapon States should effectively lower the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policy, and refrain from listing any country as target of nuclear strike or developing any plans for nuclear strikes against non-nuclear weapon states, so as to help promote progress on the issue of NSA.
Thirdly, the Conference on Disarmament should carry out substantive work on negotiating and concluding an international legal instrument on negative security assurances as soon as possible. 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 negative security assurances, which had carried out in-depth work on ways and means to achieve nuclear security assurances and produced many useful proposals, laying a sound basis for the negotiation of relevant international legal instrument. 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..
Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has committed unconditionally not to be the first to use such weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. In April 1995, the Chinese Government made a statement, reiterating its unconditional provision of negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon States. During the First PrepCom of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, China and other nuclear-weapon States issued a joint statement, reaffirming their commitment made in Resolution 984 of the UN Security Council in 1995. China supports the early start of substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament to conclude an international legal instrument on negative security assurances. And China remains open to any proposals or initiatives that might contribute to further progress on this issue.
Thank you, Mr.President.