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Statement of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Nuclear Weapons at the First Committee of the 75th Session of the UNGA

2020-10-26 06:55

Mr. Chairman,

We are currently witnessing a global strategic security situation that is severe and complex, and the international nuclear disarmament regime facing unprecedented challenges. Over recent years, the US has issued the National Security Strategy, the Nuclear Posture review and other policy documents, declaring that “significant investment is needed to maintain a U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure”, and substantially lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons by stating that nuclear weapons will be used under “extreme circumstances” including “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks”. Recently the US had an internal discussion about resuming nuclear tests, which severely threatened the international consensus of the moratorium on nuclear testing. The US has developed and deployed a global missile defense system, and seeks to deploy anti-missile interceptors in outer space and deploy intermediate-range missile in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. All these unilateral moves have posed the most sever challenges to the global strategic security environment since the Cold War and severely eroded the post-World-War-II International nuclear disarmament regime.

The issue of nuclear disarmament has a direct bearing on the future of all humanity. No country should be allowed to put its own interests above the collective interests of the international or make the whole world pay the price for its own wrong doing. The international community should have a historic sense of responsibility and work toward a community with a shared future for mankind, build a new type of international relationship featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, steadfastly uphold multilateralism, safeguard international nuclear disarmament system and uphold global strategic stability.

First, we need to uphold a security concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We need to fully respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries, create a universally secure international and regional environment as a means to eliminate the root causes for arms race and arms proliferation. Every country has the right to uphold its national security, however it should never come at the cost of other countries’ security. The international community should join hands to resist the unilateral bullying acts in the field of international security.

Second, we should continue to uphold the international consensus on nuclear disarmament. According to the Final document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly and the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the states that possess the largest nuclear arsenals have special and primary responsibilities for nuclear disarmament. The US and Russia collectively possess over 90% of the world’s total nuclear weapons. The US should positively respond to the proposal of Russia to make a long-term arrangement on the extension of the New START Treaty, and on this basis further substantially reduce its nuclear arsenal so as to create conditions for the other nuclear-weapon States to join multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Third, the role of nuclear weapons in national security doctrines should be diminished. Nuclear-weapon States should reiterate that “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, reaffirm the commitment not to target their nuclear weapons at any State, commit to the no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and conclude an international legally-binding instrument on providing negative and positive security assurances to all the non-nuclear-weapon States. We urge the US to abolish the policies and practices of nuclear umbrella and nuclear sharing, and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed in other countries back home, in order to enhance strategic mutual trust and reduce nuclear risks.

Fourth, we need to safeguard the existing international nuclear disarmament regime. The international community should faithfully implement the obligations of Article VI of the NPT, abide by the consensual outcomes of the previous review conferences, ensure the success of the tenth review conference, strengthen the authority, universality and effectiveness of the NPT. We should firmly support the development of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification system and advance the entry into force of the treaty. We should support the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) in accordance with the mandate contained in the Shannon Report (CD/1299), on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced program of work. We should firmly uphold the authority of the CD, the UNDC, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly and other UN disarmament machinery.

Fifth, we should approach the issue of nuclear disarmament in a comprehensive manner. The impact of military applications of emerging technologies related to outer space, cyberspace, artificial intelligence and others have brought increasing repercussions to strategic stability. Nuclear-weapon States should abandon the development or deployment of global missile defense systems, refrain from deploying nuclear weapons in outer space, and collectively explore ways to cope with the impact of military application of new technologies on strategic stability.

Mr. Chairman,

China has all along advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, adhered to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, made a clear commitment not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has upheld a nuclear strategy of self-defense and kept its nuclear force at the minimum level required for national security. In other words, no country would be threatened by China’s nuclear weapons if it does not intend to use nuclear weapons against China first.

China has striving to strengthen P5 cooperation and improve the international security environment. Since the P5 Beijing Conference in January 2019, P5 has maintained dialogues on nuclear policies and nuclear doctrines and carried out discussions at the expert level on nuclear risk reduction, FMCT and other issues. The second phase of the P5 Working Group on the Glossary of Key Nuclear Terms led by China has yielded substantive results. China has actively coordinated the restart of dialogues between P5 and ASEAN countries on the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. State Councilor Wang Yi and foreign ministers of the other four nuclear-weapon States issued a Joint Statement in March to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of NPT, which reaffirmed our collective support to the treaty.

China has all along supported the purposes and objectives of the CTBT, honored the commitment of moratorium on nuclear tests, and steadily pushed forward preparation for the implementation of the Treaty. After starting real-time data transmission of several certified monitoring stations in China, this year it has started the certification procedure of Kunming infra-sound monitoring station. China maintains that the Conference on Disarmament should start relevant negotiations on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced program of work, according to the mandate in the Shannon Report. China believes full and effective verification measures are an important technical guarantee for achieving the ultimate goal of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and will continue to take an active part in the work of the new UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to consider the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, China would like to reiterate its position on the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations proposed by the US. China has clearly stated its opposition to this proposal many times. I wish to stress again here that China’s nuclear force is far below the level of the US and Russia. Asking China to participate in the trilateral negotiation is neither realistic nor reasonable. However, China’s rejection of the trilateral negotiation does not mean that we will not participate in international disarmament efforts. Instead, China has been and will continue to take an active part in the international arms control and disarmament negotiations and discussions under the multilateral frameworks including the UN, CD and P5.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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