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Remarks by Minister-Counselor Sun Zhiqiang at the UN Security Council Briefing on Chemical Weapons Issue in Syria

2023-02-07 18:02

Madam President,

China wishes to express once again its deepest condolences to the Governments and peoples of Türkiye and Syria for the strong earthquakes that led to heavy casualties and property damages. In the face of this major disaster, China is doing its utmost to provide assistance. The Chinese Government will provide an initial batch of 40 million RMB as emergency aid to Türkiye. Chinese rescue teams are now rushing to the affected areas in Türkiye to join the rescue work. We are also coordinating the delivery of urgently needed supplies to Syria, and accelerating the implementation of existing food aid programs. We sincerely hope the peoples of Türkiye and Syria will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes as soon as possible.

Madam President,

We thank High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing, and welcome OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias to today’s meeting.

On chemical weapon-related issues, China’s position is consistent. China firmly opposes the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances for any purposes, and looks forward to a world rid of any and all chemical weapons as early as possible. We urge countries that possess chemical weapons to destroy all their chemical weapons as soon as possible.

It has always been China’s belief that dialogue and consultation is the only right way to address the Syria chemical weapon-related issues. We note that the Syrian Government has announced on many occasions that it firmly opposes the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances, and that it is ready to work with the OPCW to resolve outstanding issues. With regard to the fact that the Syrian Government and the Technical Secretariat have different answers to many questions, we maintain that science and facts should be respected and that an objective and fair approach upheld. Both parties should continue with thorough discussions and make efforts to move in the same direction, so as to resolve outstanding issues jointly as soon as possible. Recently, the Syrian Government and the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW have reached agreement on the conducting of activities in Syria by a small team of members of the DAT. This is a welcoming development. China calls on the international community to look at Syria’s efforts objectively, and hopes that the Technical Secretariat will respond to Syria’s concerns and appeals in a professional and transparent manner.

On the new report recently released by the IIT, first, I would like to point out that the initial creation of the IIT went beyond the scope of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and violated the tradition of consensus in the OPCW. Its working methods and procedures do not meet the requirements in the CWC and its verification annex. Many countries, including China, have expressed their objection at the beginning. China’s position on this has not changed. Based on this position, we wish to express our reservations on the choice of briefers at this meeting, and regret the fact that the President did not conduct extensive consultations with Council members on this issue. China would like to reiterate that the investigation and handling of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria must return to the framework of the CWC. We hope that Director-General Arias and the Technical Secretariat will facilitate the state parties’ resumption of the tradition of consensus, and effectively maintain the authority and effectiveness of the OPCW.

Thank you, Madam President.

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