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Written Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction at the First Committee of the 76th Session of the UNGA

2021-10-22 12:07

Mr. Chairman,

Under the current circumstances, strengthening Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention is becoming ever more important for maintaining international peace and security and promoting economic and social development. We should practice genuine multilateralism, actively engage in dialogue and cooperation and work together to safeguard the mandates and objectives of the two Conventions to enhance their authority and effectiveness.

Mr. Chairman,

Biosecurity knows no borders, and the future of mankind are closely linked. We call on the international community to enhance unity and cooperation, push together for substantive results in the upcoming BWC Ninth Review Conference next year. In light of recent developments and the Meetings of Experts of BWC held not long ago, China has the following propositions:

Firstly, resuming the negotiation of a verification protocol. Establishing a verification mechanism is the most effective approach to ensure compliance and build mutual trust. In this regard, states parties have had explicit political consensus and solid basis for negotiation. We call on all parties to carry out preliminary discussions on relevant technical issues and propose that the upcoming Ninth Review Conference should make decisions on the resumption of the negotiation of a verification protocol. We urge the United States to seriously consider the positions and concerns of the international community and abandon its entrenched position of being the sole country opposing the negotiation of a verification protocol.

Secondly, addressing compliance concerns. The United States conducts more bio-military activities than any other countries in the world and is the only one rejecting establishing a verification regime, which cause concerns regarding the US sincerity about compliance. We once again call on the US to clarify its bio-military activities, including its domestic biological military bases and overseas military bio-laboratories, and accept international verification to increase confidence in the compliance of the US. Before the establishment of a verification mechanism, the US should declare its overseas bio-military activities to the Confidence-building Measures (CBMs) under the BWC to allay the doubts of the international community.

Thirdly, strengthening bio-technology review. China always advocates responsible bio-scientific research to reduce biosecurity risks and make sure that bio-science benefit mankind. We call on all the stake-holders to adopt voluntarily the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists and push jointly the Ninth Review Conference to endorse the guidelines. At the Meeting of Experts of BWC held not long ago, states parties had intensive interactions over the guidelines. We express our appreciation to all countries that have participated in and supported this multilateral process, as well as the scientific institutions, experts and scholars that have made important contributions to the formulation of the guidelines. Meanwhile, we also support states parties to continuously conduct discussions so that the Review Conference can make decisions on the establishment of a scientific advisory body under BWC. 

Fourthly, promoting international cooperation. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the importance and urgency of promoting the peaceful use of bio-technology are more pronounced, so are the developing countries’ concerns about discriminatory export controls imposed by a certain country. China always stands with the majority of developing countries and will submit to the 76th session of the UNGA First Committee a draft resolution entitled “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security”, to strike a balance between non-proliferation and peaceful uses and uphold the legitimate rights of developing countries to peaceful uses in biotechnology and in other fields, so as to ensure that relevant international treaties as NPT, CWC and BWC are implemented in a more comprehensive and balanced way. We hope that all parties will actively support this resolution.

In addition, regarding the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (UNSGM), which was established with a unique historical background, some countries have expressed concerns over the objectivity and impartiality of the mandate and the threshold for initiating an investigation under the mechanism. We believe that the Secretary-General will properly address related issues in an objective and fair way and we will continuously support and deeply engage in exercises under the mechanism. Meanwhile, we also support further study and discussions on the guidelines of the mechanism in light of the changing situation.

Mr. Chairman,

Recently, Foreign Ministers of China and Russian Federation released a Joint Statement on Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention and it has been distributed as a UNGA document. This is the first time China and Russian release a joint statement on BWC, demonstrating two countries’ strong determination and responsible attitude on preserving global biosecurity and defending multilateralism. We will continue to work with the international community to strengthen the BWC.

Mr. Chairman,

The destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and the abandoned chemical weapons is the core objective and the mandate of the CWC. As the only country with stockpiles of chemical weapons, the United States should earnestly fulfill its obligations under the CWC and expedite the destruction of its stockpiles. Japan should take up its responsibility for its abandoned chemical weapons in China, invest more resources and steadily move forward the destruction of ACWs in China. China is ready to maintain communication with Japan and the OPCW on the follow-up work.

The OPCW has played an indispensable role in realizing the goal of a world free of chemical weapons and promoting international cooperation on chemical industry. China has concerns over the negative influences on the operation of the OPCW due to political confrontation and political divergence within the organization. We reiterate our appeals to relevant countries to stop political manipulation and revert to the OPCW’s tradition of decision-making by consensus, and to work together in improving the atmosphere of the OPCW and maintaining the authority and effectiveness of the CWC.    

China has always firmly opposed the use of chemical weapons by any country or any individual under any circumstances. Cases of alleged use of chemical weapons should be investigated in an impartial, objective and professional manner, in strict accordance with CWC, and the conclusion should be made through dialogue and cooperation. 

Dialogue and cooperation is the only viable way for resolving the Syrian chemical weapons issue. At the CWC Conference of State Parties last April, some countries have again forced a vote on the draft decision on the Syrian chemical weapons issue, and the approval votes account for less than half of the total numbers of the state parties. This shows that pressure can not win wide support and is not conducive to the solution of the problem. We hope that the Technical Secretariat (TS) of OPCW could play a positive role in accordance with its mandate under the CWC. We also encourage the Syrian government to cooperate with the TS and push for positive progress on resolving the pending issues.

China hopes that the draft resolution on “the implementation of the CWC” could be balanced and comprehensive, drawing consensus by absorbing the opinions of all parties. We hope that the position and concerns of Chinese side will be reflected in the draft resolution. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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