|Remarks by H.E. Amb. LI Song at the Thematic Discussion on Nuclear Weapons of the 77th Session of the UNGA First Committee|
China has constantly advocated for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and the ultimate realization of a world without nuclear weapons. The indefinite extension of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) does not mean that the nuclear weapon states could possess nuclear weapons indefinitely.
China is committed to the path of peaceful development. On 16th October, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly pointed out in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that China firmly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, always decides its own position and policy according to the merits of the matter itself, upholds basic norms governing international relations, safeguards international equity and justice, resolutely opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and opposes the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries' internal affairs, and double standards. China will never seek hegemony or expansion.
China firmly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. China's nuclear strategy and policy have been long-standing and consistent with a high level of stability, continuity and predictability, which are unique among nuclear weapon states as well as being the most responsible and transparent. Fifty-eight years ago, from the first day of its possession of nuclear weapons, China has solemnly committed to no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. According to the abovementioned strategy and policy, China keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security and does not engage in any nuclear arms race with any other country. China has always and will continue to take a highly responsible attitude and earnestly fulfill all its NPT obligations.
Out of ulterior motives, certain countries recently made groundless speculations and slander accusations about China's nuclear policy and nuclear capability. Here, I would like to stress that China's nuclear strategy, policy and related practices are open and transparent, serious and responsible. They will not change, nor be affected by those speculations and accusation. China's unique nuclear policies and practices have made historic contributions to the international nuclear disarmament process and will continue to make constructive contributions to this end.
At present, the global strategic security environment continues to deteriorate. Notions such as hegemonism, power politics, Cold War mentality, ideological demarcation, major power competition, and bloc confrontation are serious threats to international peace and security. Issues such as the role of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear war have once again attracted the attention and concern of the international community. The United Nations needs an answer to where the nuclear disarmament process is headed. China therefore proposes the following:
First, the international community should pursue true multilateralism, and uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and substantive security. Major countries, nuclear-weapon States in particular, must abandon concepts of strategic competition, ideological demarcation and bloc confrontation, halt any pursuit of exclusive or absolute security, stop putting their own security above that of others, and refrain from seeking hegemony or bullying non-nuclear weapon States through nuclear weapons.
Second, the United States and Russia, as the nuclear superpowers with the largest nuclear arsenals, should continue to fulfill their special and primary responsibilities towards nuclear disarmament. Given the huge differences in nuclear policies, nuclear forces, and security environments among nuclear weapon states, there is no one-size-fits-all template for nuclear arms control, nuclear reduction, or nuclear transparency. Therefore, nuclear disarmament should be advanced in a just and reasonable process of gradual and balanced reduction, following such principles as “maintaining global strategic stability” and “undiminished security for all”.
Third, nuclear weapon States should effectively reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security doctrines, commit to no first use of nuclear weapons, refrain from listing any country as a target for nuclear strike and be committed to not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. China calls upon the five nuclear weapon States (P5) to conclude a treaty on mutual no first use of nuclear weapons and calls on the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate and conclude an international legally binding instrument on negative security assurances.
Fourth, the “nuclear sharing” arrangement runs counter to the purpose and object of the NPT, and therefore should not be encouraged and must not proliferate. Non-nuclear weapons States in alliance with nuclear weapon States are significantly different from other non-nuclear weapon states and do not have completely identical security demands. Those countries should also shoulder responsibilities and make efforts to effectively reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security strategies and collective security strategies.
Fifth, in January this year, the leaders of P5 issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms race, which affirmed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. This historic joint statement, together with its timely publication, is of great and profound significance to preventing nuclear war and maintaining global strategic stability. It must be honored conscientiously. The P5 should further enhance communication on such issues as strategic stability, reduction of nuclear risks and conduct in-depth dialogue on border issues, including missile defense, outer space, cyber and artificial intelligence, so as to rebuild trust and enhance cooperation.
Sixth, the erroneous practices that undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation regime must be rejected. Certain nuclear-weapon States have placed geopolitical interests above the international nuclear non-proliferation principles, adopted selective application of rules and double standards, and engaged in nuclear-powered submarine cooperation with a non-nuclear weapon state which is in contravention of the purpose and object of the NPT. The international community should categorically oppose such acts of proliferation and join hands to create an international and regional environment conducive to advancing nuclear disarmament.
Seventh, States Parties to the NPT should seize the opportunity of the new review cycle, firmly uphold the authority and effectiveness of the Treaty and promote the role of NPT for peace and development. We should strive for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and honor the commitment of moratoria on nuclear testing. We should support the commencement of the negotiations on a FMCT at the Conference on Disarmament on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced Programme of Work and according to the “Shannon Mandate” so as to achieve the cut-off of production of fissile materials for weapon purposes in a legally binding manner.
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 a 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. 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. Chair.