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Statement at the General Debate by H.E. Amb. LI Song, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China and Head of Chinese Delegation to the First Committee of the 77th Session of the UNGA

2022-10-10 17:00

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation congratulates Your Excellency on your election as Chairman of the First Committee of the current session of the UN General Assembly. We assure you and other delegations of our full cooperation to make this session of the committee a full success.

The Cold War has been over for more than 30 years, but the Cold War mentality remains the biggest threat to the peace and stability of the world. At the moment, the global security structure, as well as international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms, are facing the severest challenge since the end of the Cold War.

However, a river is not frozen over in a day. Certain countries, driven by the Cold War mentality, have continuously instigated competition and confrontation among major countries, strengthened their military blocs, and deliberately provoked and aggravated disagreements. Such policies have been seriously undermining mutual trusts among major countries, endangering global strategic balance and stability, and impeding the international arms control and disarmament process.

Applications of double standards have been prevalent when it comes to non-proliferation, shaking the very foundation of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), making hotspot issues even more complex and difficult to be resolved, and worsening the regional and international security environment. Negative moves like forming exclusive interest groups and political blocs, and suppressing other countries that have different views, have seriously undermined the cooperation atmosphere within the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms and impaired their function and effectiveness.

The profound changes of our world, of our time, and of our history are unfolding in unprecedented ways. As an indivisible community, we must face squarely and give clear answers to the questions of our times, such as what security concept the world needs and how countries can achieve common security. In April this year, Chinese President Xi Jining proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI). The Initiative seeks to promote the establishment of a balanced, effective and sustainable security structure, advocates win-win mindset to address complex and intertwined security challenges, and champions the spirit of solidarity to adapt to the evolving international landscape. It offers China's solution to eliminating the root causes of international conflicts and achieving durable stability and lasting security in the world.

Here, I would like to further elaborate China's positions and proposals.

First, it is our top priority to maintain global strategic stability.

Mutual trust and collaboration among major countries is the cornerstone for ensuring international security and stability. Major countries, nuclear-weapon States in particular, must abandon concepts of strategic competition and bloc confrontation, halt any pursuit of exclusive or absolute security, and stop putting their own security above that of others. We should dedicate ourselves to dialogues and cooperation, so as to rebuild strategic mutual trust.

In January this year, leaders of the five nuclear-weapon States issued a Joint Statement, stressing that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and reaffirming that none of their nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other state. This historic statement is of great and far-reaching significance to preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races. The five nuclear-weapon States should further strengthen communication and collaboration and jointly uphold global strategic balance and stability. It is our hope that all nuclear-weapon States could respond positively to the repeated call from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and China to adopt the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament should be a just and reasonable process of gradual and balanced reduction. The two countries possessing the largest nuclear arsenals should earnestly fulfill their special and primary responsibilities toward nuclear disarmament, and make significant and substantive reductions in their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding manner, so as to create conditions for multilateral nuclear disarmament.

The United States needs to uphold regional and global peace and security with concrete actions. The United States should stop the development or deployment of regional or global missile defense systems, refrain from deploying land-based intermediate range missiles in Asia-Pacific and Europe, and must not duplicate the nuclear sharing arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region.

Second, we must earnestly abide by and strengthen international arms control treaties and mechanisms.

The world has witnessed diminishing mutual trusts and growing conflicts among countries. The cause of this situation is not that the purpose and principle of the UN charter has become obsolete. Rather, it is because that the UN Charter has been impaired by the so-called rules-based international order. The "house rules" established by a certain country or bloc of countries must not replace the UN Charter. All UN member states should practice real multilateralism and firmly defend the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law, and promote the full implementation of all international arms control treaties with concrete actions. China welcomes the UN Secretary-General Guterres' report on Our Common Agenda and stands ready to participate in the following process.

As announced by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, China has decided to launch its domestic procedure to ratify the UN Firearms Protocol. This demonstrates China's determination in supporting multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind. China stands ready to step up communication and cooperation with all parties, and will continue to support the implementation of the African Union's initiative of "Silencing the Guns in Africa", making new contributions to strengthening global cooperation on gun control and reducing the security deficit.

Although the 10th NPT Review Conference did not reach consensus on an outcome document, the endeavour to uphold the objective and purpose of the NPT should never end. China will continue to faithfully fulfill all its obligations under the NPT, firmly uphold the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, actively support international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and promote a greater role of NPT in serving peace and development.

China urges the United States and Japan to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and respectively expedite the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles, as well as destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China. We call upon the United States to constructively respond to the international community's concern on its bio-military activities, and stop blocking the negotiations on a verification protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention.

Third, we must stick to the original purposes and correct approaches of nuclear non-proliferation, firmly oppose proliferation activities disguised under the cover of non-proliferation, and guard against any attempts aimed at overturning the current non-proliferation regime.

The Iranian nuclear issue is again at a critical juncture. China urges all parties to stick to the direction of dialogue and negotiation, strengthen diplomatic efforts, and strive for the early realization of full and effective implementation of the JCPOA. The United States must make a political decision and actively respond to Iran's legitimate concerns, so as to facilitate the realization of an agreement on the resumption of compliance with the JCPOA.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is under ongoing tensions. All parties should focus on the overarching goal of peace and stability on the Peninsula, stay cool-headed, and refrain from taking any action that may aggravate the tensions or lead to miscalculation. Parties concerned should handle and resolve the Korean Peninsula issue based on the indivisibility of security, remain committed to realizing the denuclearization of the Peninsula, resolve the reasonable concerns of all sides in a balanced manner, and renew efforts towards dialogues and negotiations.

The trilateral cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines among the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (AUKUS) runs counter to the objective and purpose of NPT, deals a serious blow to the IAEA safeguards system, poses severe risks of nuclear proliferation, and undermines regional peace and stability. China expresses deep concerns with and strong opposition to such cooperation. China calls on all members of the international community, especially the IAEA member states to pay high attention to this issue, conduct thorough discussions and handle the issue with prudence, so as to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Fourth, it is imperative to improve the security governance in the new frontiers.

Biosecurity transcends all borders. The international community should work together to deal with global challenges including biosecurity. China calls upon all parties to build consensus and work together to achieve substantive outcome at the 9th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, with an aim to comprehensively strengthen the BWC mechanism. The Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists, developed collaboratively by scientists from 20 countries, is of great significance to preventing the misuse and abuse of biotechnology and to promoting its sound development. We encourage all stake-holders to adopt and promote the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines voluntarily.

As a global frontier, outer space is facing serious security threats. A certain spacefaring country is pursuing a strategy to dominate outer space, carrying out arms expansions and war preparations without restraint. This is the direct cause of weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. As a responsible spacefaring country, China is actively promoting the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. We stand ready to actively participate in the outer space security governance process in a principled and constructive manner. It needs to be pointed out that, subjective and selective measures are insufficient, and will not be a comprehensive solution to outer space security governance. The fundamental way to maintain outer space security is to negotiate and conclude a legally-binding arms control instrument.

Cyberspace is a common property shared by mankind. Cybersecurity bears the extensive common interests of all countries. China stands for upholding the Open-ended Working Group on Security of and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (OEWG) as the only UN process on information security. China advocates drawing up international rules on cybersecurity and data security that reflect the will and interests of the majority of countries on the basis of the Global Initiative on Data Security, and jointly fostering a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace.

With the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and its increasingly widespread military applications, AI security risks should not be ignored. China upholds the principle of “AI for good”, supports the leading role of the UN in strengthening global governance of AI, so as to formulate AI governance frameworks and norms based on broad consensus, and ensure AI works to benefit humans.

China advocates for initiating an open, inclusive and just dialogue at the UN to continuously promote peaceful uses of science and technology and relevant international cooperation. We call for sharing the dividends of scientific and technological progress for the benefits of all, while at the same time properly addressing the security challenges brought about by the development of science and technology. China will submit again a draft resolution on Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security this year, and we look forward to the support and active participation of all parties in the follow-up process.

Mr. Chairman,

China has long pursued an independent foreign policy of peace and a defence policy that is defensive in nature. China is the only country that has incorporated “adherence to the path of peaceful development” into its constitution. China has been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, a provider of public goods, and a mediator of hotspot issues. China has played an active part in and worked to advance the international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation process. China's nuclear weapons have never been used to seek hegemony, or to bully or coerce non-nuclear-weapon States. China will not participate in any form of arms races. The fundamental task of China's national defense forces is to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The fundamental goal of China's arms control policy is to promote a fair, reasonable and feasible multilateral arms control process, to promote international peace, security and stability, and to safeguard China's legitimate security interests.

Mr. Chairman,

No country in this world can stay unaffected by the security challenges that we are facing today. The work of UNGA First Committee, Conference on Disarmament, UN Disarmament Commission, and other multilateral treaty mechanisms are closely related to the development of international situations.

We cannot blame the weather, but we could and should continue to work on the environment and climate. To build a world with universal and lasting peace, we need to supersede the Cold War mentality of win-lose competition and discard the law of the jungle that the strong can bully the weak; we need to adopt a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security; we need to replace confrontation with communication, coercion with consultation, alliances with partnerships, and zero-sum game with win-win cooperation; we need to make sure that the security of every country be respected and protected.

China stands ready to join hands with other countries in implementing the Global Security Initiative, firmly uphold multilateral international order, actively advance the international disarmament process, so as to contribute to the building of a community of shared future for mankind.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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