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Statement of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Debate on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction at the First Committee of the 77th Session of the UNGA

2022-10-19 22:30

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. All States Parties should practice true multilateralism, actively engage in dialogue and cooperation and work together to uphold the mandates and objectives of the two Conventions to enhance their authority and effectiveness.

There are no boundaries for biosecurity. President Xi Jinping of China  proposed the Global Security Initiative this April, stressing that we need to work together to maintain peace and stability in the world and work together on global issues including biosecurity. China is committed to upholding and enhancing the authority and effectiveness of the BWC with all parties. The current priority is to achieve substantive results at the upcoming 9th BWC Review Conference. We would like to highlight the following points:

Firstly, resuming negotiations on a verification protocol. To ensure compliance through verification is an international consensus. What has happened fully proves that the establishment of a verification mechanism is the best approach to ensuring the authority and effectiveness of treaties in the field of arms control and disarmament. Biosecurity should not be an exception. China again calls upon the Review Conference to take a decision on establishing an ad-hoc group to restart negotiations on a legally-binding verification protocol, on the basis of the draft nearly agreed upon by states parties in 2001. Pending the establishment of a verification mechanism, we call for adding an item regarding States Parties’ bio-military activities conducted in other countries to the Confidence-building Measures (CBMs) Forms. As the country that conducts the most bio-military activities, we hope the U.S. can support the proposal and take the lead to declare its relevant activities voluntarily.

Secondly, addressing legitimate compliance concerns. Not long ago, States Parties to the BWC held a Consultative Meeting in Geneva to deliberate on the US compliance with the BWC. During the meeting, the US has not provided exhaustive answers to a series of substantive questions raised by Russia. As a State Party and depositary of the Convention, the US has the obligation to make a comprehensive and in-depth clarifications to the allegations made by Russia as well as questions raised by China and other States Parties and set an example of compliance, so as to establish the international community’s confidence in its compliance with the BWC. China supports States Parties to continue conduct technical assessments through expert groups and submit assessment opinions. States Parties could consider continuing to utilize the BWC mechanism, including the mechanism under Article VI of the BWC, to work for a solution to related issues.

Thirdly, strengthening review of science and technology developments. Responsible bio-scientific research is highly significant to reducing biosecurity risks and ensuring that bio-science and technology benefit mankind. We encourage all stake-holders to adopt voluntarily the guidelines and support the 9th Review Conference of BWC to endorse 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 the BWC.

Fourthly, promoting international cooperation. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the importance and urgency of promoting the peaceful use of bio-technology is more pronounced. We encourage the international community to participate in the open, inclusive and just follow-up dialogue process initiated by the adoption of resolution Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security at the 76th Session of the UNGA, and work for a more balanced approach to non-proliferation and peaceful uses and uphold the legitimate rights of developing countries to peaceful uses in biological and other fields, so as to realize the goals and purposes of the BWC in a holistic manner, and ensure that the benefits of the peaceful use of biotechnology are shared equally by all.

The Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons(UNSGM) was established with a unique historical background. Some countries have expressed concerns over the the mandate of the mechanism as well as the objectivity, impartiality and threshold for an investigation under the mechanism. We believe that the Secretary-General will properly address related issues in an objective and fair manner and we will continuously support and fully engage in the proficiency tests under the mechanism. Meanwhile, we also support further study and discussions on the guidelines of the mechanism in light of the changing situation.

As the only country with chemical weapons stockpiles, the U.S. should earnestly fulfill its obligations and expedites the destruction of its stockpiles. Recently, China and Japan invited the Director-General and the delegation of the Executive Council of the OPCW to pay a virtual visit to China, during which suggestions and recommendations were made to speed up the destruction process of Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons. The destruction of JACWs was about to be overdue for the fourth time. China urges Japan to honor its commitment, increase inputs, and return a land free of abandoned chemical weapons to the Chinese people as soon as possible.

The practice of disregarding communication and consultation procedures among State Parties and arbitrarily resorting to voting severely undermines the authority and effectiveness of the CWC and negatively impacts the normal operation of the OPCW. We urge relevant countries to refrain from political manipulation, make joint efforts to improve the atmosphere within the OPCW and bring the work of the OPCW back to the track of dialogue and consultation.

China has always been firmly against 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 provisions of the CWC. And the conclusions should be made through dialogue and cooperation. Dialogue and cooperation is the only viable way for resolving the Syrian chemical weapons issue. China resolutely opposes using the Syrian chemical weapons issue to stoke confrontation and suppress other countries out of geopolitical needs. We hope the Syrian government and the Technical Secretariat of OPCW to cooperate within the framework of the CWC in a constructive manner and work for progress on resolving all pending issues.

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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