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Statement by H.E. Amb. LI Song on Nuclear Disarmament at the Tenth NPT Review Conference

2022-08-05 19:55

Mr. Chair,

The complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and the ultimate realization of a world without nuclear weapons serve the common interests of humanity and represent a shared aspiration of all countries. The tenth NPT Review Conference faces the most complex and severe situation since the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995. Driven by the Cold War mentality, the United States is obsessed with the “major power strategic competition”, seeking absolute strategic advantage, strengthening military alliances, stirring up bloc confrontation across the Eurasian continent, and pressing ahead with the forward deployment of nuclear, missile and other strategic forces. All these negative developments have undermined mutual trust between major countries, disrupted global strategic balance and stability, hindered international nuclear disarmament endeavor, and increased the risks of nuclear arms race and conflict.

The international community should take the Conference as an opportunity to practice true multilateralism, firmly resist the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontations, uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, conduct in-depth discussions on effective ways to advance the international nuclear disarmament process, and uphold and strengthen the authority and effectiveness of the Treaty.

First, the international consensus on nuclear disarmament should be maintained. The nuclear-weapon States should follow the basic principles of “maintaining global strategic stability” and “undiminished security for all” and pursue disarmament in a fair and reasonable manner with gradual and balanced reduction of nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia as the countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should further make significant and substantive reduction of their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner, so as to create necessary conditions for general and complete nuclear disarmament.

Second, efforts must be made to reduce nuclear risks. On 3rd January, the leaders of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States issued a Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races. What happens later on demonstrates that the timely issuance of this historic statement has significant effects on preventing nuclear war and maintaining global strategic stability. All nuclear-weapon States should further strengthen communication on strategic stability issues, and have in-depth dialogues on broad topics, including missile defense, outer space, cyber space and artificial intelligence. As there is no one-size-fits-all approach for nuclear risk reduction, we need to take into full account different security environment of nuclear-weapon States. The international community should also join hands to reject the hypocritical practices of stoking up confrontation and creating tensions while calling for nuclear risk reduction.   

Third, the role of nuclear weapons in national security doctrines should be diminished. All nuclear-weapon States should, like China, uphold the “no-first-use” policy, conclude a multilateral treaty on mutual no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and refrain from listing any country as a target of nuclear strike. Every effort should be made to avoid accidental or unauthorized launches of nuclear weapons. We should support the Conference on Disarmament in negotiating a legally binding international instrument on negative security assurances, and support the efforts for promoting the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. The United States should abandon the development or deployment of the global missile defense system, refrain from deploying land-based intermediate range missiles in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, abandon the policy and practices of nuclear umbrella and nuclear sharing, and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad back home. The international community should jointly oppose the attempts of certain countries to replicate the nuclear sharing arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region.

Fourth, the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime with the NPT as its cornerstone should be maintained and strengthened. The nuclear-weapon States should abide by all consensuses on nuclear disarmament reached in the previous NPT Review Conferences, and openly declare that they have no intention of seeking permanent possession of nuclear weapons. The international community should uphold the authority and effectiveness of the multilateral arms control regime including the First Committee of UNGA and CD. The three pillars of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be promoted in a comprehensive and balanced manner. Double standards and selective application of rules should be rejected. We must oppose the nuclear cooperation by some countries based on narrow-minded geopolitical calculation, in contravention of the object and purpose of the NPT.Mr. Chair,

China is committed to the path of peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. It keeps to the stance that China will not attack unless we are attacked, but China will surely counterattack if attacked. China will firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart the interference of external forces and the separatist activities for “Taiwan Independence”.

China’s nuclear weapons are never intended to dominate the world or bully other countries. The only purpose for China to develop nuclear weapons is to deter the use of nuclear weapons of enemies against China and conduct a resolute counterattack after when it is under a nuclear attack. From the very first day of possessing nuclear weapons, China has proactively advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China explicitly undertakes not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and unconditionally commits itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free-zones. China always keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security, does not compete with other countries in terms of the input, quantity or scale of the nuclear capabilities, and will never participate in arms race in any form.

China supports the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has strictly observed its commitment to a moratorium on nuclear testing. China is making steady progress in domestic preparation for the implementation of the Treaty. China supports the early commencement of negotiation on a fissile material cut-off treaty within the CD on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced Programme of Work, in accordance with the Shannon Report (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein. China also takes an active part in the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification.

China has been active in promoting the P5 communication and cooperation with concrete actions. China has led the efforts of the P5 to finish the compilation of the new version of the Glossary of Key Nuclear Terms, and is willing to lead the follow-up process. China supports the submission of the joint working paper of P5 on strategic risk reduction to the 10th Review Conference of NPT. China has been an active coordinator in promoting the resumption of dialogue between P5 and ASEAN countries on the issue of signing the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. China believes that the P5 should maintain and strengthen dialogues and cooperation, commit themselves to rebuilding strategic mutual trust, and make new efforts for the implementation of Article VI of the Treaty on this basis.

China stands ready to continue communication with non-nuclear-weapon States and promote the international nuclear disarmament process with a rational and realistic attitude.

Mr. Chair,

The Chinese delegation has submitted the national report and the working paper on nuclear disarmament to the Conference, and it is hoped that these contents will be fully reflected in the outcome document of the Conference. China will continue to make unremitting efforts to advance the international nuclear disarmament process towards attaining the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


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