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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sha Zukang, Head of Delegation of the Government of the People?s Republic of China, at the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

2000-04-24 00:00

24 April 2000, New York

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, our sincere congratulations to you on your election of the Chairman of this Conference. I am confident, your wisdom, talent and rich diplomatic experience will surely lead the conference to a success. You can rest assured of my delegation's support and cooperation in your work. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Amb. Pasi Patokallio of Finland, Amb. Tadeusz Strulak of Poland and Mr. Andelfo Garcia Gonzales of Colombia, Chairmen of the past three sessions of the Preparatory Committee, for the work they have done.

Mr. Chairman,

At the beginning of the new millennium, we are full of hope for the future, but at the same time, we feel deeply in our hearts, the heavy responsibility on our shoulders. Looking back at the human history, we find that, the development of science and technology and the spread of knowledge have brought us civilization and progress whereas leaving ignorance and backwardness far behind. However, mankind has suffered repeated ruins of war along its road towards prosperity and happiness. The two world wars in the twentieth century left the world with miserable memories of blood and tears. Since then, confrontation between the eastern and western blocs forced people to live under the shadow of war danger during the Cold War period which lasted for more than forty years. Such bitter experience has made people more eager for peace and stability. To establish lasting peace and sustainable development have become the common desire of the entire people of the world.

Since the end of Cold War, there was for a period of time some relaxation of tension in the international situation. But the world is not peaceful. Recently, the unstable and uncertain elements in the international security situation have obviously increased and the world has been undergoing the most profound and complicated changes since the end of Cold War.

One should see that the Cold War mentality is not gone with the Cold War, that some military alliances get consolidated, hegemonism, power politics manifest themselves from time to time and a small bunch of countries advocate the so-called "humanitarian intervention", ignoring sovereignty, even resorting to force against a sovereign state by bypassing the United Nations. Such moves not only have gravely undermined the world peace and stability and grossly treaded on the international law and the norms governing international relations, but also brought the collective security system with UN at the core formed after the Cold War under unprecedented challenge.

In order to enhance its strategic superiority and establish its own absolute security, a certain country has stepped up its development, deployment and proliferation of the advanced ballistic missile defense system, thus posing a severe threat to the global balance and stability.

Forces of ethnic separatists and religious extremists are on the rise in some regions, which not only jeopardize the regional peace, but also add new elements of instability to the international security.

Such development not only gives rise to the increase of military factors in the international relations and a decline in the sense of security among various countries, but also seriously undermines the trust and cooperation in the field of international arms control. The good momentum which appeared in the field of arms control and non-proliferation after the end of the Cold War has been seriously frustrated, and the international non-proliferation regime has suffered frequent and heavy blows. The prospect of the disarmament process causes great concern.

So it is against such a backdrop that the current Review Conference is convened. But it is a very important conference. The outcome of the conference will have a direct impact on the future and fate of the international non-proliferation regime and the nuclear disarmament process. It is therefore the common responsibility of all State Parties here to ensure the success of this Conference. The aim of a review conference should be reviewing the past and looking forward into the future. Now, in the context of the current international situation in arms control and disarmament, I would like to elaborate the position of the Chinese Delegation on the three objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), namely, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Mr. Chairman,

Since the Treaty we are reviewing now is called the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons should be one of its major goals. In 1995, we achieved the indefinite extension of the NPT, which constitutes a significant milestone to the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation, promotion of nuclear disarmament process and realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world. However, to our regret, only three years later, the nuclear explosions in Rajasthan and Baluchistan sounded respectively, which have gloomed the future of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The international community responded strongly. Resolution 1172 adopted by the UN Security Council has set the correct principle and direction to the solution to the nuclear issue in South Asia. However, it is regretted to see that there has been no substantial progress so far and that Resolution 1172 has yet to be implemented.

We noticed that the two countries in South Asia said they would conduct "no more new nuclear tests" or "would not be the first to conduct new nuclear tests" and "would not impede the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)". We urge the two countries an early implementation of the above commitments. At the same time, it must be stressed that Resolution 1172 reflects the common will of the international community on the South Asia nuclear issue so the authority and integrity of the Resolution must be observed, and the two countries should fully implement it at an early date.

As a State Party to the NPT, China has all along taken a serious and responsible attitude towards nuclear non-proliferation and firmly opposed to any form of proliferation of nuclear weapons to any country. China pursues a policy of not endorsing, encouraging or engaging in nuclear weapons proliferation, neither will it assist other countries in developing nuclear weapons nor provide any assistance to the nuclear facilities not subject to the safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). China has been abided by the three principles of nuclear export, i.e., nuclear export is conducted only for peaceful purposes and subject to IAEA safeguards, and the receiving party shall not make a transfer to a third country without permission from the Government of China. To further strengthen and improve nuclear export control in China, the Chinese Government respectively promulgated Regulations on the Control of Nuclear Export on September 10, 1997 and the Regulations on the Control of Nuclear Dual-Use Items and Related Technologies Export promulgated on June 1, 1998. Moreover, China joined the Zangger Committee, an international nuclear export control system in October, 1997. China has also participated in the negotiations of the "93+2" plan aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system. China signed the Additional Protocol to the Agreement between China and the IAEA for the Application of Safeguards in China on December 31, 1998 and has undertaken appropriate obligations.

Mr. Chairman,

With the development of science and technology, further advancement of globalization and the coming of information era, there will be more and more difficulties in preventing nuclear weapons proliferation. Practice shows that it is impossible to realize the goal of non-proliferation only by the traditional means of blocking or pressing. How to effectively prevent the nuclear weapons proliferation under the new circumstance has become the common task for the international community. China is of the view that further efforts should be made in the following three aspects in order to solve non-proliferation issues. Firstly, to establish global security environment of stability, cooperation and mutual trust, which will constitute the basic guarantee for the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation. It is known to all that the important reason for some countries to allocate huge financial resources in seeking the development of weapons of mass destruction is the lack of a sense of security and an effective way for self protection. The establishment of a favorable international environment, the insistence on the peaceful solution of international disputes and security for all the members of the international community will be conducive to the elimination of the motives of some countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Secondly, to abolish the double or multi-standards in the field of nuclear non-proliferation is the prerequisite for the success of nuclear non-proliferation. As for nuclear non-proliferation, we should take the increase of the security of all instead of only a few countries as the goal, and the implementation of the NPT instead of preferences of a certain country as the only criteria. Otherwise, the reputation of the nuclear non-proliferation system would be undermined and the extensive support lost. Thirdly, the enhancement of the international cooperation is the only correct and effective way to solve the question of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Prevention of proliferation of such weapons can not be achieved without the common efforts of the international community and must be put under the framework of cooperation and security. Without cooperation of other countries, any country, no matter how strong it is, can hardly reach the goal of non-proliferation by only depending on the power of its own or several allies. Any trend or action of unilateralism runs counter to the main tide of the non-proliferation efforts.

Mr. Chairman,

Nuclear-weapon states must faithfully implement its obligations of nuclear disarmament, which is the necessary guarantee for the maintenance of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The indefinite extension of the NPT unconditionally agreed upon by the non-nuclear-weapon states by no means endows the nuclear-weapon states with the indefinite right to own nuclear weapons.

The production and development of nuclear weapons not only owes to the technological development, but even more to international security environment and the judgment of security for each country. Nuclear weapons came into being in the latter part of the Second World War and were developed during the Cold War when the eastern and western blocs confronted and mistrusted each other. During the period between the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Cold War ended, the tension in the world was reduced, and the relations among major countries were improved along with some significant progress made in the field of international nuclear disarmament. The US and Russia (the former Soviet Union) have concluded some treaties on nuclear disarmament such as the INF Treaty, START I and START II. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was reached at last after several years of painstaking efforts by the international community. Due to the changes in the international security situation since 1990s, the international nuclear disarmament process has once again bogged down to a stalemate. The bilateral nuclear disarmament treaty between the US and Russia is sluggish in its ratification and implementation and the US senate even refused to ratify the CTBT.

It is gratifying to see that Duma of the Russian Federation has finally ratified the START II treaty recently after many years of twists and turns. We look forward to its early implementation and the initiation of the START III negotiations. China is of the view that nuclear disarmament process should be comprehensive and irreversible. It can not be seen as nuclear disarmament in real sense, either only by reducing obsolete nuclear weapons while enhancing nuclear capability or only by reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons while putting reduced nuclear warheads into the so-called "inactive reserve", which can be maintained or even renewed, ready for redeployment at anytime.

It should be particularly stressed that global nuclear disarmament can not be reached without the global strategic balance. President Jiang Zemin pointed out in his speech at the Conference on Disarmament last May that the missile defense system "will inevitably exert an extensive negative impact on international security and stability and trigger off a new round of arms race in new areas, thereby seriously obstructing or neutralizing international efforts of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation". He also called for in his speech close attention of the international community and necessary measures to preempt such dangerous developments.

We have noticed that Russia declared when it ratified the START II that any attempt by the US to abandon the 1972 ABM treaty would prompt Moscow to withdraw from START II and all the other arms control agreements. History shows that, as the cornerstone of the global strategic balance and stability, the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty concluded in 1972 has provided necessary security framework for US-Russia nuclear weapons reduction and has played an unreplaceable and important role in assuring the continuous development of their bilateral nuclear disarmament. Relying on its superb power in economy, science and technology, notwithstanding its large nuclear arsenals with decimating capability, a certain military power is vigorously pursuing the development of national missile defense (NMD) system in an attempt to seek absolute security of its own. Not to mention whether such security exists or not, this kind of action is another way of nuclear armament, which will not only bring severe damage to the integrity and vitality of the ABM treaty and the global strategic balance and stability, but will inevitably harm the basis for the US-Russia bilateral nuclear disarmament, and impede the international nuclear disarmament process, thus shaking the prerequisite and basis for international nuclear non-proliferation. Russia's ratification of the START II ushers in a gleam of light to the nuclear disarmament process and we hoped countries concerned can seize this opportunity and get back on the right track of arms control and disarmament proved to be feasible in the decade after the end of Cold War.

Mr. Chairman,

China's development of nuclear weapons is solely for the purpose of self-defense and it has therefore taken a very restrained attitude towards nuclear weapons development. China has unconditionally undertaken not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and thereafter not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has never avoided its responsibilities and obligations in nuclear disarmament and has been advocating the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. It participated in the CTBT negotiations with a serious and responsible manner and was among the first group of countries to sign the Treaty. The Chinese Government has now formally submitted the treaty to the National People's Congress for review and ratification. However, I must emphasize here that there are two basic prerequisites for China to participate in any arms control negotiations, nuclear arms control in particular, namely, these negotiations and the treaties or agreements resulted from these negotiations, must not undermine the global strategic balance and stability, or China's important strategic security interests. The profound changes that have taken place recently in the international security environment, in defiance of strong opposition from the international community, the development of NMD by a certain country, which will disrupt the global strategic stability, will inevitably affect China's arms control policy.

The Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) is conducive to the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and promotion of nuclear disarmament. Based on this understanding, China supports to conclude a FMCT through negotiations. However, China is of the view that, when a country sticks to the development of missile defense system with the outer space as its important base, the prevention of weaponization in outer space is more urgent than the FMCT negotiation. Therefore, the three major disarmament issues on outer space, nuclear disarmament and FMCT should at least be reasonably and evenly solved at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). As a matter of fact, whether CD can evenly treat the three issues has become a matter of principle rather than of procedure, and whether each country's just security concerns can be equally addressed at the CD, the only forum for negotiation of multilateral disarmament. Disarmament should be conducive to the enhancement of each country's general security instead of becoming the instrument and means for a few countries to strengthen their military superiority by weakening or restricting other countries.

At present, transparency of nuclear weapons is another topic in arms control which invites wide attention. China holds that, as an integral part of the efforts of the comprehensive ban and total elimination of nuclear weapons, it is necessary to take some transparency measures to certain extent. However, under such circumstance, it needs to consider whether time and conditions are ripe to take such measures and whether mutual trust, as a result, could really be increased as expected. Nuclear-weapon states have big differences in nuclear strategy and nuclear capability so it is unreasonable to ask these countries to take the same transparency measures at the same time. What is more, to which degree of transparency in military field can a country accept, directly relates to the its strategic security environment. Now, a certain superpower, which rampantly intervenes in other countries' internal affairs and willfully resorts to force, keeps improving its overwhelming first-strike nuclear capability on the one hand; while on the other hand, it spares no efforts in acquiring the advanced missile defense system, capable of neutralizing any counter-strike that a small- and medium-sized nuclear-weapon state can possibly launch after sustaining a decimating nuclear first strike. Under such circumstances, it is neither conducive to their own security nor to the global strategic balance and stability to ask the small- and medium-sized nuclear countries to take transparency measures.

We hold that the most rational and feasible confidence-building measures now will be that nuclear-weapon states unconditionally undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. Although the ban on the first use of nuclear weapons can not substitute the concrete nuclear disarmament measures, it will increase mutual trust between nuclear-weapon states as well as nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, reduce the risk of nuclear war and help decrease the inherent nature of discrimination of the international nuclear non-proliferation so as to enhance the universality and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation system and create necessary conditions for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is one of the three objectives of the NPT. Nuclear power is a clean, highly -efficient energy with great potentials. Nuclear technology has been widely applied in every aspect of human life.

As a developing country with certain capabilities in nuclear industry, China adheres to the relevant provisions of the Treaty and actively carries out mutual-beneficial international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. China has signed governmental agreements on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy will sixteen countries including the Russian Federation, France, etc.. China has also helped developing countries in the fields of nuclear power, nuclear medical science and the application of nuclear technologies. For instance, China has helped Ghana build a nuclear medical center, which has enhanced its medical standard.

In the multilateral field, China has carried out fruitful cooperation and exchanges with the IAEA in areas of nuclear power plant construction, nuclear safety, management of nuclear wastes and the application of nuclear technologies. In addition to making timely and full payments to the Technical Assistance Fund (TCF) of the Agency, China has also provided extra-budgetary resources. While receiving in China the scientific and technical personnel from developing countries for inspection and training, China also sends experts to provide technical services and give lectures to transregional projects upon request by the Agency. Besides, China has actively participated in the cooperation of nuclear science and technologies in Asia and the Pacific, making great contributions to promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in this region.

In order to fully implement the obligations of promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and international cooperation set forth in the Treaty, China advocates to further strengthen the technical assistance to developing countries, lift various unreasonable limits existed in the nuclear technology transfer to developing countries, and actively support them to develop and make use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with a view to making nuclear energy beneficial to mankind.

Every country has the right for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy are complementary to each other. To strengthen the international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and expanding the application of nuclear technology will not only promote a country's economic development, improve people's living standard, but also help prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. But if the desire and demand for peaceful uses of nuclear energy from developing countries are ignored, nuclear proliferation and nuclear export control are over emphasized and normal peaceful uses of nuclear energy among various countries are impeded under the pretext of nuclear non-proliferation, all this will deviate from the original aims of the NPT and bring harm to the interests of the countries concerned. The nuclear non-proliferation regime will end up without support.

A certain country has classified the world according to its preferences, and put different kinds of weird names on the countries it dislikes, and has grossly deprived them of the right for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This double-standard or multi-standard conduct is extremely unfair and irresponsible, which will not help solve the concerns for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and will, deepen the mistrust among countries instead, consequently cause disappointment and doubt about the present nuclear non-proliferation regime by various countries, especially the developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

NPT is the most important and represented international treaty on arms control. Now the international situation is undergoing great changes and disarmament efforts are at an important turning point. Under such circumstances, it is of great importance to ensure the success of this Conference for benefit of reinforcement of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, promotion of the international nuclear disarmament and enhancement of the world peace and stability. It is China's sincere hope that a final document can be produced by consensus at the end of the conference, which will mark the success of the conference. As for the final document, it does not matter much whether it is one paper divided into two parts of reviewing and forward-looking or two separate papers. What is important is that the document should give an accurate evaluation of the implementation of the treaty in the past five years and make practical arrangements on what goals should be reached in the next five years. It is the first review conference since the indefinite extension in 1995 and we should cherish such a historic opportunity, overcome various kinds of negative elements and strive for a consensus on all major issues with a prudent, responsible and flexible attitude, so as to establish a good foundation for the future review and implementation of the treaty.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to wrap up my speech by quoting a paragraph from the statement of Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen at the United Nations General Assembly in 1994: "Since mankind has been able to make nuclear weapons and tap nuclear energy for peaceful purpose in the 20th century, we are confident that in the 21st century they will certainly be able to completely ban and destroy nuclear weapons and fully harness nuclear energy to enhance their own welfare". It is not an inaccessible goal. The key lies on whether there is enough political will of each country to realize it. We have entered the twenty-first century and it is up to our choice whether to live under the threat of nuclear weapons or enjoy peace and happy sunlight. May all the peace and freedom-loving people in the world join hand-in-hand in a joint effort for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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