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Statement by H.E. Mr. Cheng Jingye, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

2009-05-05 05:38

  New York, 4 May 2009

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on your election as Chair of this session of the Preparatory Committee. I believe that with your rich experience and wisdom, you will guide this session to a fruitful outcome. The Chinese Delegation assures you of its full support and cooperation.

Mr. Chairman,

As the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has over the years played an important role in maintaining international security. Nowadays, we have witnessed a number of initiatives in the area of nuclear disarmament. More and more countries start to develop nuclear energy. Meanwhile, the nuclear non-proliferation situation is still grave.

It is now a common task for the entire international community to seize the opportunity of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to promote, in a comprehensive and balanced way, the NPT’s three major objectives -- nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Nuclear Disarmament

Mr. Chairman,

Complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons for the establishment of a world free of nuclear weapons, is not only the shared aspiration of the international community, but also the goal that China has advocated and worked for over the years. As early as in the 1960s, the Chinese Government by its statements solemnly proposed the convocation of a world summit to address the issue of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. It is encouraging to see that today a growing number of countries around the world have expressed their support to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Mankind was able to make nuclear weapons in the 20th century. We believe they are equally able to eliminate such weapons in the 21st century.

As a nuclear-weapon state, China has made relentless efforts to push forward complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.

-- Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has solemnly declared that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. China also undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China is the only one among the five nuclear-weapon states who has made such commitments.

-- China adheres to a self-defensive nuclear strategy and has exercised extreme restraint on the development of nuclear weapons. China has never deployed any nuclear weapon in other countries, and has never participated and would never participate in nuclear arms races in any form.

-- China is among the first to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and has always honoured its commitment on nuclear test moratorium. China supports early entry into force of the CTBT and will continue to make its efforts to this end.

-- China supports an early start of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, on the basis of an agreed programme of work at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

China is ready to work with other countries to make further contributions to the lofty goal of establishing a world free of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

China believes that nuclear disarmament should be a fair and reasonable process of gradual reductions towards a downward balance. All disarmament measures should follow the guidelines of “promoting international strategic stability” and “undiminished security for all”. Countries concerned should work towards nuclear disarmament in the following ways.

-- Nuclear-weapon states should commit themselves unequivocally to complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. In this respect, they should negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument at an early date.

-- Pending achievement of the above-mentioned goal, nuclear-weapon states should reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies. They should undertake unequivocally not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and conclude an international legal instrument on not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapons-free zones.

-- As states with largest nuclear arsenals, the United States and the Russian Federation bear special and primary responsibilities. They should continue to drastically cut their nuclear arsenals, which is indispensable for advancing the nuclear disarmament process and realizing the ultimate goal of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament. In this regard, China welcomes the agreement of the United States and the Russian Federation to start negotiations on a new bilateral nuclear disarmament treaty and we hope the two countries will further reduce their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner.

Nuclear disarmament is closely linked to international strategic stability. Deployment of weapons in outer space or development of global ballistic missile defence systems and cooperation in this field is neither conducive to maintaining international strategic stability, nor beneficial to international arms control and non-proliferation efforts. The Conference on Disarmament should negotiate and conclude a new international legal instrument on prohibiting the deployment of weapons in outer space at an early date. On the issue of ABM systems, the countries concerned should take the security interests of others into serious consideration and refrain from taking actions that may undermine the international nuclear disarmament process.

Mr. Chairman,

Establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones is an important step in promoting the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation process. China respects and supports efforts by relevant countries and regions to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of consultations among themselves and voluntary agreement in light of their actual conditions. We welcome the recent entry into force of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. We support the early establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The resolution on the Middle East issue adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference is very important. The international community should continue to make every effort to facilitate the implementation of the above resolutions.

Nuclear Non-proliferation

Mr. Chairman,

Strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and eliminating the risks of proliferation is a pressing task for the international community. The problem of proliferation of nuclear weapons is caused by complex factors, and requires a holistic approach which addresses both the symptoms and the root causes.

-- Efforts should be made to build an international environment of cooperation and trust, respect each other’s security interests, and seek collective security. This will help eliminate the root causes for seeking nuclear weapons.

-- Regional nuclear issues should be addressed through dialogues and negotiations. Imposing sanctions or resorting to force would only exacerbate tension instead of leading to a proper solution of relevant issues.

-- The universality and integrity of the international non-proliferation regime should be further reinforced. Any practice of selectivity should be discarded.

China supports the strengthening of IAEA’s safeguards function and is in favour of promoting the universality of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has made great efforts to promote peaceful settlement of nuclear issues in relevant regions through dialogues and negotiations.

China believes that the Six-Party-Talks still serves as an important mechanism for addressing the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. The parties concerned, proceeding from overall perspective, should keep calm and exercise restraint, and work together to maintain the Six-Party Talks process and safeguard peace and stability of the Peninsula,

China stands for a proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations. Now the situation concerning this issue is at a crucial juncture. Parties concerned should seize the opportunity, step up their diplomatic efforts, and restart negotiations at an early date between Iran and EU3+3, with a view to seeking a comprehensive, proper and long-term solution.

Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Mr. Chairman,

Peaceful uses of nuclear energy is an inalienable right by non-nuclear-weapon states under the NPT. At present, development of nuclear energy is attracting growing attention around the world. It is all the more important that the right of non-nuclear weapon states to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is fully respected and effectively safeguarded. This is of great importance to the integrity and effectiveness of the NPT.

China believes that the relationship between the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation should be handled in a balanced manner to ensure that they mutually reinforce rather than conflict with each other. We are against any attempt to restrict or deprive the right of non-nuclear weapon states to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the pretext of non-proliferation. And we are also against any attempt to engage in proliferation activities under the disguise of peaceful use.

Currently some countries have put forward a number of initiatives on establishing multilateral nuclear fuel supply mechanism. China supports in general the objectives and purposes of relevant initiatives and has taken an active part in relevant international discussions. Since those initiatives involve various political, economical, technical, and legal factors, the international community should continue in-depth and extensive consultations so as to seek a practical solution that is acceptable to all.

China appreciates the positive role of the IAEA in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We encourage and support the IAEA to make further inputs to promote international exchanges and cooperation in this field, so as to advance common prosperity and development.

Mr. Chairman,

The three major pillars of the NPT are closely linked and of equal importance. They should be advanced in a comprehensive and balanced way. We hope this will be reflected in the agenda, organizational structure, time allocation and documents of the NPT Review Conference.

This session of the Preparatory Committee is highly important to the Review Conference next year. It’s our hope that all parties will intensify their efforts to reach agreement on the agenda of the Review Conference as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to further in-depth exchange of views among parties on how to promote nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, so as to build up consensus and lay the ground work for substantive achievements at the Review Conference.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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