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Statement of the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Discussion on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction at the First Committee of the 78th Session of the UNGA

2023-10-18 20:00

Mr. chairperson,

Against the background of a new era, the Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention are becoming ever more important for maintaining international peace and security and promoting economic and social development. China calls on the international community to act in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, practice true multilateralism, and take concrete measures to enhance the authority and effectiveness of the two Conventions.

Mr. chairperson,

Bio-security knows no borders, and it bears on the common interests of the whole world. Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed the Global Security Initiative(GSI), encouraging all countries to practice the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance and jointly address the bio-security challenges and other global issues. Following the guidance of the GSI, China is ready to work together with all countries to improve the international institutions and rules in the field of bio-security.

The Biological Weapons Convention is the cornerstone of the global bio-security governance. The working group on the strengthening of the Convention (the working group) should focus on core issues, such as verification mechanism, national implementation, science and technology review, and international cooperation, and strive for substantial progress. Establishing a verification mechanism is not only an integral and inherent part of strengthening the Convention, but also the most effective way to ensure compliance and build trust. Hence, the working group should build the political consensus and consolidate the technical foundation for the resumption of the multilateral negotiations.

It is a broad consensus of State Parties to advocate responsible conduct in the biological field to control bio-security risks and make sure that bio-science benefits mankind. It is also highly consistent with A New Agenda for Peace put forward by Secretary General Guterres. We hope that the working group could reach consensus on the possible actions at an early date. We encourage all stakeholders to adopt voluntarily the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Code of Conduct for Scientists (Tianjin Guidelines), and stand ready to exchange views with all relevant parties on the Tianjin Guidelines and relevant issues.

Mr. chairperson,

Authority of international treaties depends on the compliance of their States Parties. Russia has been accusing that the biological military activities carried out by the US are in contravention of the BWC provisions, and the international community has raised a series of questions about the dubious points of the bio-military activities of the US. Regrettably, the US hasn’t made any meaningful clarification to these allegations and questions, let alone taken any transparent measures to increase the confidence of the international community. As long as these questions remain unanswered, the international community can not build up confidence in the US’s compliance, and the global bio-security rules and framework will continue to be eroded. China supports the international community to continue the review of the US’s compliance issue in a serious and fair manner.

It is alarming that facing the serious concerns of the international community, the US continues expanding its global bio-military presence under the pretext of bio-defense and international cooperation. In addition, to serve its geopolitical purpose, the US often fabricates so-called “bio-security threats” of other countries. Such practices goes against the trend of the times, jeopardizes the global endeavor to jointly address bio-security risks and challenges, and harms the common interests of the international community. Once again China urges the US to take the concerns of the international community seriously, and earnestly fulfill its international obligations.

Mr chairperson,

The States Parties reached many consensus during the fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention this May, it is regrettable that the outcome document hasn’t been adopted. Certain countries attempted to manipulate hotspot issues for political purposes, which is the biggest impediment to the normal operation of the OPCW.

Hotspot issues such as Syrian chemical weapons issue can only be resolved through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the Convention. China supports the Syrian government and the Technical Secretariat of OPCW to cooperate in a constructive manner, and promote positive progress on pending issues. The establishment of Identification and Investigation Team (IIT) is against the provisions of the Convention, nor was it conducive for solving this issue. Instead, it is creating more obstacles for peace and development of the middle east, and seriously undermining the authority of the Convention. China calls upon the joint efforts of the international community in correcting the wrong practices of some countries, pushing the resolving of the Syrian chemical weapons issue back to the right back. As it turns out, regional countries have the will and ability to take the lead in promoting regional peace and development of the middle east. China welcomes the important role played by the regional countries in resolving the Syrian chemical weapons issue.

The completion of the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles this year marks an important milestone of the OPCW. On the other hand, the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China (JACWs) has become the most prominent challenge in realizing the vision of a world free of chemical weapons. After 26 years of the entry into force of the Convention, less than one-fourth of the currently-known JACWs have been destroyed. The lack of burial information and clues, and the serious contamination to the soil and water caused by the JACWs still remain grave challenges. The destruction of JACWs is by no means the “contribution” of Japan, but Japan’s historical responsibility and international obligation. The criteria for assessing Japan’s compliance with the Convention is not the inputs of human or financial resources, but how many JACWs are destroyed, and how fast the destruction operation is progressing. China highly appreciates the efforts made by the international community and the OPCW to promote the destruction process, and hopes that all parties can continue maintaining its inputs in the supervision and verification of the JACWs destruction.

Mr. chairperson,

The comprehensive implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention requires us to coordinate development and security in a holistic manner, and safeguard the legitimate rights of all countries to use science and technology for peaceful purposes and conduct relevant international cooperation. The development of science and technology is a key force for the progress of human society. The developing countries are in urgent need for equal access to the dividends of scientific and technological development, to bridge the yawning technological gap and development gap. Biological and chemical technologies have been widely used in industry, agriculture, health and other fields that bear on the well-being of the people. Therefore, the importance and urgency of promoting the peaceful use and relevant international cooperation in this field is ever more important.

China calls on the international community to jointly implement the resolution adopted by the UNGA, titled Promoting International Cooperation on the Peaceful Use in the context of International Security, through fair and inclusive dialogue, enhanced international exchanges and cooperation, to ensure all countries share the dividends of scientific and technological development. Certain states abuse the export control measures under the pretext of security. Such wrong practices of technological coercion have seriously undermined the legitimate rights of the UNGA, China will follow the implementation of the resolution closely, and submit an updated draft resolution to the UNGA next year. China is ready to keep communication with all parties on this issue.

Within the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention, State Parties have done a lot of work to promote peaceful uses and relevant international cooperation. China proposes to promote the implementation of the above-mentioned UNGA resolution, the Article X of the Biological Weapons Convention and the Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention in an integrated manner, assign a higher priority to the peaceful uses and relevant international cooperation in the follow-up review process of the two Conventions, and take more concrete measures.

Mr. chairperson,

The Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (UNSGM) was established under a unique historical background. China will continue to support the Secretary General to perform his duties in an objective and fair way, and participate the laboratory exercises and relevant activities organized by UNODA actively. China will once again host the laboratory exercise, and welcome the participation of scientists from all countries. Meanwhile, China supports the international community to update and improve the current UNSGM operation procedures to strengthen the effectiveness of the mechanism, taking into consideration the evolving situation in the field of biological and chemical security and the development of science and technology. China will co-sponsor Russia’s resolution in this regard.

Thank you, Mr. chairperson.

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