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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Hu Xiaodi at the First Committee of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

2001-10-09 00:00

New York, 9 October 2001

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, let me congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the First Committee of the current session of the UNGA.  I am convinced that with your rich experience and outstanding diplomatic skills, you will guide this session to a success.  The Chinese delegation would like to assure you of its full cooperation with and support for you and other members of the bureau.  Please also allow me to express our appreciation for the excellent work of the Chairman of the last session, H.E. Ambassador Mya Than of Myanmar.  I also wish to take this opportunity to thank UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Dhanapala and the Department for Disarmament Affairs under his leadership for the unremitting efforts they have made in promoting the international cause of disarmament.  We hope that the department will play a bigger role in the future.

Mr. Chairman,

This session is held against a special backdrop.  On 11 September, New York city and Washington D.C. were hit by a series of terrorist attacks, which caused large human casualties, including Chinese, and huge property losses.  The Chinese Government and people were deeply shocked and express their deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of these attacks.  The Chinese Government condemns and opposes all forms of terrorist activities by any country, organization, group or individual.  International terrorism not only causes severe humanitarian disasters, but also poses threats to the security of all countries and world peace.  The Chinese Government supports strengthened efforts by the international community to combat terrorism, including the endeavor to completely eliminate the root causes of terrorism, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other universally recognized principles of international law.  We stand ready to cooperate with other countries in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Chairman,

The terrorist attacks in the US have once again highlighted the importance of international cooperation in safeguarding world peace and the security of countries.  They clearly show that in the 21st century when security challenges are increasingly diversified with the rapid development of science and technology and the steady deepening of economic globalization, only international cooperation can bring about real security.  To establish a new concept of security based on international cooperation has become a pressing task of our time.

International arms control and disarmament naturally fit into such a new security concept.  With the concerted efforts of the international community in the past decades, a basic legal system governing international arms control and disarmament has been put in place.  It has become part and parcel of the global collective security architecture centred around the Untied Nations and plays a crucial role in maintaining the global and regional security order.  In the new situation, this international legal system should not be undermined in its integrity and authority.  Instead, it should be strengthened and improved.  Any act that detracts from this legal system will prove to be shortsighted, and will only add uncertainty and unpredictability to the international security landscape, which serves nobody's security interest.

The terrorist attacks in the United States will have far-reaching ramifications for the international security.  In face of this horrendous human tragedy, every government needs to seriously reflect upon its own security strategy and priorities.  The bloodshed and the terror have amply testified that a Maginot-type missile defence simply is not the way to counter the threat of terrorism.  Such a defence can only bring to the world a false sense of security, mistrust among nations, and the ensuing detriments to the international security.  Here we call upon the country concerned to heed the appeal of the international community, stop the development and deployment of destabilizing missile defence systems.  

Mr. Chairman,

For the purpose of safeguarding world peace and security, the international community should take concerted actions to strengthen international mechanisms aimed at preventing the spread of WMDs.  To this end, it is essential to secure universal participation in the common endeavor, which requires an approach of cooperation rather than confrontation, and a uniform standard rather than double or even multiple standards.  It is now imperative to strictly abide by and continue improving the international legal instruments in the field of non-proliferation.  The Chinese side deeply regrets the fact that after nearly seven years of negotiation, the very basic approach of the protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) has been negated, leading to the suspension of the negotiations.  For this does not help the forging of international consensus on non-proliferation and can only be detrimental to international non-proliferation efforts.  On the issue of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), it is our hope that all countries that have not done so should sign and ratify the treaty, and fully support the work of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO.

As a delivery means of WMDs, missiles have drawn increasingly greater attention from the international community.  Just like in the case of WMDs, the only effective way to address missile proliferation is to build a comprehensive and non-discriminatory multilateral mechanism.  China agrees to a leading role for the UN in dealing with the missile issue, supports the work of the UN Governmental Expert Group on Missiles, and stands ready to make its contribution to this process.

Mr. Chairman,

Outer space belongs to all humanity and mankind has a common desire for its peaceful utilization.  However, it is most worrying that outer space is faced with an increasing danger of weaponization.  As a means of pursuing unilateral military supremacy, a strategic concept on the control of space and related long-term plans have been developed, with a view to putting weapons into outer space.  Such moves will lead to grave consequences.  Indeed, the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space has stood out as an urgent and realistic issue.  Therefore, the international community must act without delay to negotiate and conclude as soon as possible a necessary international legal instrument so as to protect outer space from the threat of war.  The Chinese delegation holds the view that, as the only multilateral disarmament negotiating body, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva is the best venue for such negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

Complete nuclear disarmament and a nuclear-weapon-free world is the common aspiration of all people across the world.  The 20th century was a century of nuclear weapons, and the 21st century should be a century free of nuclear weapons.  In this regard, countries having the largest and most sophisticated nuclear arsenals shoulder special and primary responsibilities.  Progress in nuclear disarmament on their part will create favorable conditions for the medium- and small-sized nuclear-weapon-states to join in the process.  The Chinese delegation appreciates the expressed intention of the country concerned to reduce its nuclear weapons unilaterally.  In the meantime, it must be pointed out that genuine nuclear disarmament must be irreversible and verifiable.  Therefore, it should be carried out in a legally binding manner.

The end of the Cold War marked the closure of the international relations characterized by the confrontation between military blocs.  For the nuclear-weapons-states, to abandon the Cold War thinking, they should first and foremost readjust fundamentally their offensive nuclear strategies by renouncing the policy of the first use of nuclear weapons.  Therefore, the Chinese Government wishes to renew its appeal that the five nuclear-weapon-states undertake never to be the first to use nuclear weapons against one another, and undertake unconditionally and in a legally binding manner never to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.  This will help enhance mutual trust and cooperation among countries, and facilitate the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and the establishment of a fair and rational international security order.    

We hope that all countries in the world, the nuclear-weapon-states in particular, remain loyal to the objective of establishing a world free of nuclear weapons, by consolidating rather than undermining the strategic stability and mutual trust, which are essential to any progress in nuclear disarmament, and by advancing rather than impeding the early entry into force of the CTBT.  Furthermore, we should proceed to negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty and an agreement on the security assurance for non-nuclear-weapon states, banning the first use and the use of nuclear weapons, as well as withdrawing the nuclear weapons stationed on the territory of other countries and abandoning the policies of nuclear umbrella and nuclear sharing.  Together with all these measures, the process of nuclear weapon reduction should be further pursued until realizing the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
Mr. Chairman,

As an original state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), China attaches great importance to the implementation of the Convention, and has strictly and faithfully carried out its obligations under the Convention.  We are happy to see that, with the joint efforts by the international community, the implementation of the Convention on the whole has been good in the past four years since its entry into force.  China hopes that those who have not done so will sign and ratify the CWC at an early date, and the states parties will conscientiously fulfill their obligations with a view to achieving comprehensive, just and effective implementation.

China was a victim of the use of chemical weapons.  Even today, the large quantities of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China are still posing a serious threat to the security of the Chinese people and their ecological environment.  In recent years, some progress has been made in the disposal of the abandoned chemical weapons.  However, it still falls far short of the expectations of the Chinese people and the requirements of the CWC provisions.  It is our hope that the country concerned work out a comprehensive and practical destruction program as soon as possible in accordance with its obligations under the Convention, which should guarantee the safety of the local people and the environment, so that the substantive destruction process can be started and the grave danger posed by the abandoned chemical weapons eliminated within the time-frame set forth in the Convention.  

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, the illicit trade in small arms has increasingly become a focus of international attention.  The illicit traffic and excessive accumulation of small arms exacerbate wars and regional conflicts, obstruct post-war reconstruction, and cause severe humanitarian problems.  Last July, the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was convened, marking a new stage of international effort in combating the illicit trade of small arms.  China, always supportive of the international effort in this regard, participated constructively in the Conference.  China will faithfully carry out the Programme of Action adopted at the Conference and work with others to press ahead with the relevant process.  China welcomes the Firearms Protocol of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes adopted by the UN and is positively considering the question of signing the Protocol.

Mr. Chairman.

The Second Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons will be held at the end of this year.  China will actively participate in the relevant deliberations and, together with other delegations, try to find better ways and means to implement the obligations of the Convention and to resolve the humanitarian concerns caused by certain conventional weapons.  It is our view that the most important task now is to concentrate our resources and attention to the enhancement of the universality and effectiveness of the Convention.

China always holds that the issue of land-mine bears on both the humanitarian concerns and the sovereign state's legitimate need for self-defense.  The two must be balanced and neither can be neglected.  China understands the humanitarian concerns of the international community over civilian casualties caused by land-mines and supports the international efforts in addressing this issue.  China has taken an active part in the international assistance to mine clearance actions.  This year, China has donated mine detection and clearance equipment to mine-stricken countries like Angola, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.

Mr. Chairman,

In the past century, mankind experienced the scourges of two World Wars and the misery of Cold War confrontation.  Looking into the new century, humanity is still faced with numerous severe challenges and tests.  To create a long-term stable, secure, reliable and peaceful international environment remains a common task of the international community.  The tenet of China's foreign policy is to maintain world peace and promote common development.  No matter how the world changes, China will not alter its foreign policy of peace.  In the new century, China wishes to work together with other countries to promote international arms control and disarmament.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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