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Statement by Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi at the First Committee of the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

2003-10-07 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me to congratulate you on your election to the Chairmanship of the First Committee of the 58th session of the UNGA. With your rich experience and outstanding diplomatic skills, you will surely steer this session to a success. You and other members of the bureau can rest assured of the full cooperation and support from the Chinese delegation. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Kiwanuka, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, for his excellent work as the Chairman of the last session.

Mr. Chairman,

With the development of globalization, exchanges and integration among countries and cultures are increasingly enhanced, and interdependence in security among countries is deepening. We live in a new era when losses and gains of all countries are co-shared side by side.

International security environment has undergone profound changes since 11 September 2001. Security threats are becoming multiplied, and instability and unpredictability has increased considerably. On the one hand, traditional security problems caused by territorial, resources, ethnic and interest disputes are far from being resolved. On the other hand, non-traditional security problems such as terrorism, weapons proliferation, transnational crimes and epidemics, have grown rapidly, posing the biggest challenges to global security.

It is a common mission for the whole international community to take up new challenges, grasp new opportunities and to create a peaceful, just, democratic and prosperous new century.  First of all, we should cultivate the concept of seeking security through cooperation.  In today's world, the security of all states is inter-dependent. Without international cooperation, no state can maintain its security single-handedly. Force cannot win peace.

Secondly, we should respect diversity and advocate tolerance, thus realizing the democratization of international relations. The globalization should be a process for different countries and cultures to learn and benefit from each other. It should not be a process of imposing one standard upon all others. It is not in the common interest of the international community to label some countries and exclude them from the international system.

Thirdly, we should maintain the international legal system and promote the rule of law in international relations. Over years, the human society has established a complete international legal system based on the principles of sovereignty, peaceful solution of international disputes and legitimate self-defense. Such a system also includes a series of international legal instruments on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. It has played an important role in maintaining global peace and security and provided a necessary degree of predictability in the evolution of international security situation. Undermining this legal system will jeopardize the stability of international relations. Only terrorists and extremists will benefit from such an outcome.

Fourthly, we should vigorously promote multilateralism and bring the leading role of the United Nations into full play. At present, the geopolitical factors are diminishing, while non-traditional security challenges are rising and the common interests among nations expanding. These developments have provided a historic opportunity for the United Nations to realize all its potential. The United Nations could and should play a greater role.  

Mr. Chairman,

Through decades of evolution and development, the international non-proliferation regime has become a crucial part of the global security architecture. Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) has become an international norm accepted by most of the countries. The growing threat of international terrorism has further enhanced such international consensus.

The proliferation of WMDs and their delivery means is a very complicated issue.  To solve the problem in a proper manner, first and foremost, a better international environment in favor of non-proliferation goals should be created, and the legitimate security concerns of each sovereign state should be accommodated and respected. This will help eliminate the root causes for some states to seek WMDs.  Secondly, peaceful solutions through political and diplomatic efforts should be advocated. The purpose of non-proliferation is to maintain global and regional peace and stability. If non-peaceful means is used to counter proliferation, that would not only be logically self-defeating but also counter-productive. Thirdly, discrimination and double-standard should be eliminated to ensure the universal participation and cooperation of the international community. We are opposed to unjustifiable sanctions under the pretext of non-proliferation. Fourthly, the legitimate right of all countries to peaceful uses of science and technology should be guaranteed.

China has been firmly advocating the non-proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery. China has joined all the international legal instruments related to the non-proliferation of WMDs, and has consistently strengthened its non-proliferation regime. China has promulgated a series of laws and regulations and established a complete export control mechanism covering sensitive technologies and items in nuclear, biological, chemical and missile fields. Such measures as the end-use and end-user certificate system, licensing system, control list and catch-all principle have all been incorporated into China's export control mechanism in line with international practice. Penal measures have also been set out against violations of those laws and regulations. China is further strengthening its export control measures in light of its national conditions. We are willing to benefit from other countries' experiences and further improve our non-proliferation export control mechanism.

Mr. Chairman,

Under current circumstances, it is of great significance to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in international political and military affairs. In this regard, nuclear-weapon-states have special and unshirkable responsibilities. It is against the trend of the times to lower the threshold of nuclear war by developing new types of nuclear weapons which are easier for use in actual combats, to refuse undertaking, in a legally binding manner, no use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states, or even to list other countries as targets of nuclear attack.

The conclusion of the CTBT is an important step towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Though the treaty has not yet come into force, the principles and objectives set out therein have already become an important international norm. China supports CTBT, and is firmly against nuclear tests by any country under any pretext. China is also aware of its special responsibilities in promoting the early entry-into-force of the treaty. While observing the moratorium on nuclear tests, the Chinese Government will continue to promote the ratification process at China's legislative body.

FMCT will hopefully contribute to nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. China supports the early negotiation and conclusion of the treaty. On August 7th this year, China once again demonstrated its constructive attitude towards the work of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) by accepting the initiative of five ambassadors.  We hope that other parties concerned could respond positively, so as to facilitate reaching an agreement on a comprehensive and balanced work programme at the CD, which will reinvigorate the CD as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating body.

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, along with the rapid development of space technology, the human society is increasingly dependent on outer space. Outer space is inextricably linked with our daily life, economic activities and scientific research. Outer space is the common heritage of mankind. To prevent an arms race in and the weaponization of outer space is an urgent task facing the international community.

Over the years the UN General Assembly has adopted a host of resolutions calling for further measures to prevent an arms race in outer space. We call upon all states to continue to attach great importance to the issue, and start substantive work as required by the relevant UN resolutions for the purpose of maintaining a peaceful and tranquil outer space.

Mr. Chairman,

The first Review Conference of the CWC held this year is an important meeting, which will be conducive to the full and effective implementation of the Convention. On August 4 this year, the leak of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons killed one person and injured forty-three in Qiqihaer City, Heilongjiang Province of China. This tragic event illustrates once again the importance and urgency of early and complete elimination of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons on Chinese territory. We hope that Japan will faithfully implement the obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and intensify its efforts to start the destruction process so as to remove as early as possible this long-standing threat to the lives of the Chinese people.

The Meetings of Experts and Annual Meetings of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention offer an important forum for exploring effective measures to implement the convention. China supports the multilateral process aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the BWC and is willing to contribute to the effective implementation of the convention.

Mr. Chairman,

China all along attaches great importance to humanitarian issues. In June this year, China's National People's Congress ratified the Amendment to Article Ⅰ of the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).  The forthcoming meeting of CCW Group of Governmental Experts in November will be an important one. We are ready to work closely with all parties to conclude an instrument on the issue of Explosive Remnants of War.  Also, we hope that an appropriate mandate on Anti-Vehicle Landmines acceptable to all parties could be reached at the same meeting taking into consideration both the humanitarian concerns and varying conditions of states.

China supports the international efforts in combating the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons (SALW). We have been implementing the Programme of Action faithfully and have formulated stringent legal and administrative measures on the production and transfer of SALW. China donated $10,000 this year to the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs for its efforts related to the SALW issue. We support the report adopted by the UN Group of Governmental Experts on identifying and tracing of illicit SALW, and are in favor of starting negotiations on this issue next year in Geneva or any other appropriate venue.

China is of the view that the Firearms Protocol will play an important role in combating illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms. As a signatory State, China wishes to see an early entry- into-force of the protocol.

In recent years, China has been actively participating in international demining assistance efforts and has donated a large amount of detecting and demining equipment to mine-affected countries. Moreover, China sent two groups of demining experts to Eritrea for on-site training and instruction in 2002 and 2003.  This year, China joined the Mine Action Support Group.  We are ready to cooperate with all interested countries and international organizations in the future with a view to providing further assistance to mine-affected countries.

Mr. Chairman,

The reform of the First Committee of the UNGA is a topical issue this year. I would like to present some preliminary views on this issue. With the development of the international situation, the First Committee does need to keep pace with the times, and there is room for improving its efficiency and working methodology. Therefore, some reform and readjustment may be necessary. However, the nature of the First Committee as the most representative international forum on security and disarmament should not be changed, and each member state's right to express views or table resolutions on any issues related to international security and disarmament should not be compromised. Under the new situation, it is in the common interest and also the common responsibility of all countries to preserve the nature of the First Committee and enhance its role. We are ready to discuss and explore this issue with other countries in a frank and open-minded manner.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government recently announced an additional reduction of 200,000 military personnel by 2005, after the reduction of 500,000 troops during 1996 to 2000. This once again demonstrates the desire for peace of the Chinese Government and people. We are ready, together with the international community, to make unremitting efforts to push forward the international disarmament process and promote world peace and prosperity.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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