Home Meetings & Statements Events & Activities China & UN 中文
  Home > China & UN
Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Risks for International Peace and Security

2023-07-18 17:55

Mr. President, 


China welcomes you presiding over today's Security Council meeting and thanks Secretary-General Guterres for his briefing. Many of his proposals deserve our study. I would also like to thank Professor Zeng Yi and Professor Jack Clark for their briefings. Their insights can help us better understand and handle issues related to AI.


In recent years, the world has witnessed a rapid development and wide application of AI with complex effects constantly emerging. On the one hand, the empowering role of AI in areas such as scientific research, healthcare, autonomous driving, and smart decision-making, is becoming increasingly prominent, generating huge technological dividends. On the other hand, the scope of AI application has been constantly expanding, causing increasing concerns in areas such as data privacy, spreading false information, exacerbating social inequality, and disrupting employment structures. In particular, the misuse of AI or abuse by terrorist or extremist forces will pose a significant threat to international peace and security. 


At present, as a cutting edge technology, AI is still in its early stage of development. As a double edged sword, whether it is good or evil, depends on how mankind utilized it, regulate it, and how we balance development and security. The international community should uphold the spirit of true multilateralism, engage in extensive dialogue, constantly seek consensus, and explore the development of guiding principles for AI governance. We support the central coordinating role of the UN in this regard, and support Secretary-General Guterres’ efforts in holding in-depth discussions among all parties, as well as the full participation of all countries, especially developing countries in participating in this cause and making their own contributions. I would like to make some preliminary observations. 


First, we should adhere to the principle of putting ethics first. The potential impacts of AI may exceed human cognitive boundaries. To ensure that this technology always benefits humanity, it is necessary to take people-oriented and AI for good as the basic principles to regulate the development of AI and to prevent this technology from turning into a runaway wild horse. Based on these two guidelines, efforts should be made to gradually establish and improve ethical norms, laws, regulations, and policy systems for AI, while allowing countries to establish AI governance systems that are in line with their own national conditions based on their own development stages and social and cultural characteristics. 


Second, we should adhere to safety and controllability. There are many uncertainties in the development and application of AI-related technologies, and safety is the bottom line that must be upheld. The international community needs to enhance risk awareness, establish effective risk warning and response mechanisms, ensure that risks beyond human control do not occur, and ensure that autonomous machine killing does not occur. We need to strengthen the detection and evaluation of the entire life cycle of AI, ensuring that mankind has the ability to press the stop button at critical moments. Leading technology enterprises should clarify the responsible parties, establish a sound accountability mechanism, and avoid developing or using risky technologies that may have serious negative consequences. 


Third, we should adhere to fairness and inclusiveness. The impact of AI on science and technology is worldwide and revolutionary. Equal access and utilization of AI technology products and services by developing countries are crucial to bridging the technological, digital, and development divides between the North and the South. The international community should work together to ensure that developing countries equally enjoy the development dividends brought by AI technology and continuously enhance their representation, voice, and rights of decision-making in this field. A certain developed country, in order to seek technological hegemony, seeks to build exclusive small clubs with various excuses and actions, maliciously obstruct the technological development of other countries, and artificially create technological barriers. China firmly opposes these behaviors. 


Fourth, we should adhere to openness and inclusiveness, The development of science and technology needs to achieve a relative balance between technological progress and safe applications. The best path is to maintain open cooperation, encourage interdisciplinary, inter-industrial, inter-regional, and cross-border exchanges and dialogues, and oppose various forms of exclusive clubs, decoupling and disconnection. We need to promote coordination and interaction among international organizations, government departments, research and educational institutions, enterprises, and the public in the field of AI development and governance under the UN framework, and jointly create an open, inclusive, just, and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological development. 


Fifth, we should be committed to peaceful utilization. The fundamental purpose of developing AI technologies is to enhance the common well-being of humanity. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on exploring the potential of AI in promoting sustainable development, promoting cross-disciplinary integration and innovation, and better empowering the global development cause. The Security Council could study in-deepth the application and impact of AI in conflict situations, and take actions to enrich the toolkit of the UN for peace. AI in the military field may lead to major changes in the way of warfare and the format of war. All countries should uphold a responsible defense policy, oppose the use of AI to seek military hegemony or to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, and avoid the abuse, unintentional misuse or even intentional misuse of AI weapon systems. 


Mr. President, 


Today's discussion on AI highlights the importance, necessity, and urgency of building a community of shared future for mankind. China adhere to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and has actively explored the scientific path of AI development and governance in all fields. In 2017, the Chinese Government issued the new generation artificial intelligence development plan, which clearly lays out basic principles such as technology leadership, system layout, market orientation, open source, and openness. In recent years, China has continuously improve relevant laws and regulations, ethical norms, intellectual property standards, safety monitoring, and evaluation measures to ensure the healthy and orderly development of AI. 


China has always participated in global cooperation and governance on AI with a highly responsible attitude. As early as 2021. China hosted ‘the impact of emerging technologies on international peace and security’ arria conference during its presidency of the Security Council, for the first time bringing the Council's attention to emerging technologies such as AI. China has successively submitted two position papers on the UN platforms on military application of AI and ethical governance, offering systematic proposals from the perspective of strategic security, military policy, legal ethics, technology security, rule-making, and international cooperation.


Last February, the Chinese Government released the Global Security Initiative concept paper, which clearly states that China is willing to strengthen communication and exchanges with the international community on AI security governance, promote the establishment of an international mechanism for universal participation, and form governance framework and standards with broad consensus. We stand ready to work with the international community to actively implement the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in the field of AI. we will continue to prioritize development, maintain common security, promote cross-cultural exchanges and cooperation, and work with other countries to share the benefit of AI, while jointly preventing and responding to risks and challenges. 


I thank you, Mr. President.


Suggest to a friend
  Print