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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Shen Jian at the Thematic Debate on Information Security and Artificial Intelligence of the 78th Session of UNGA First Committee

2023-10-25 00:05

Mr. Chair,

In today’s world, global cyberspace is in a complicated and dire landscape, featuring a growing trend of bloc confrontation, militarization and fragmentation. Individual country has introduced ideological confrontation into cyberspace, built small yards with high fences, and deprived other countries of their legitimate rights to development. Some countries have blatantly developed offensive cyber capabilities, proliferated offensive cyber technologies, and turned cyberspace into a new battlefield to pursue geopolitical advantages. The digital divide among countries and regions is widening, and deficit of global digital governance is more prominent.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of negotiations on security of and in the use of ICTs. From the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), UN negotiations on information security has come to being and expanded in scale with significant achievements, including confirmation of the principles of cyber sovereignty and maintaining peace in cyberspace, development of norms, rules and principles of responsible state behavior, observation and implementation of the framework for responsible state behavior, and the newly established Global Intergovernmental Points of Contact Directory. These hard-won achievements have played an important role in maintaining peace and stability of cyberspace. The successful experiences in the past 25 years have demonstrated that the only way to address challenges and realize joint development and common prosperity is to uphold peace, cooperation and inclusiveness, and reject conflicts, confrontation and exclusiveness. China proposes the following:

Firstly, firmly uphold peace and stability of cyberspace. In the digital era, maintaining peace in cyberspace is more important than ever before. Cyber war would never be won and should never be fought, and our only choice is to uphold peace. We should put peace and cooperation at the center of our policies, and demonstrate our will of seeking peace and development through cooperation, reject cyber conflicts and cyber wars, and enable cyberspace to become a place full of digital opportunities to promote economic and social development, instead of a new battlefield of big power rivalry.

Secondly, staunchly stick to multilateralism. Countries are interdependent with a shared future in cyberspace, and the global governance of cyberspace requires equal participation and joint decision-making by all countries. The OEWG has just adopted its 2nd annual progress report, which represents a vote in favour of multilateralism. We need to strongly uphold the centrality of UN on information security issues, say no to “exclusive groups” in various forms, respect the authority of the OEWG, and join hands to make long-term arrangement for the future institution on information security and uphold peace and stability of cyberspace in the long run.

Thirdly, pursue cyberspace governance while keeping abreast of the latest developments. In the digital era, we need to take the initiative to address emerging challenges of information security, and work hard on the real and urgent problems concerned by all countries. The 2nd OEWG annual progress report recognized that “Considering the growth and aggregation of data associated with new and emerging technologies, States also noted the increasing relevance of data protection and data security.” China has proposed the Global Initiative on Data Security in 2020, providing an effective solution to global data security. This could serve as the foundation for future discussions.

Mr. Chair,

In face of risks and challenges in cyberspace, China is ready to work with all parties in solidarity, carry out cooperation that is in our common interests, and make joint efforts to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace that is more equitable, fair, open, inclusive, secure, stable and dynamic.

Mr. Chair,

Artificial intelligence is a new area of human development. It has brought huge opportunities to socioeconomic development and the progress of human civilization, and is also accompanied with unpredictable risks and challenges. The governance of AI, a common task faced by all countries in the world, bears on the future of humanity.

Recently, China released the Global AI Governance Initiative during the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, calling on all countries to enhance exchange and cooperation and work together to prevent risks. We should develop AI governance frameworks based on broad consensus, so as to make AI technologies more secure, reliable, controllable, and equitable. Previously, China has also released the Position Paper on Regulating Military Applications of AI and the Position Paper on Strengthening Ethical Governance of AI.

China advocates a people-centered approach and such visions as AI for good, emphasis on development and priority for ethics. We believe AI should always develop in a way that is beneficial to human civilization. We should work together to prevent and fight against the misuse and malicious use of AI technologies by terrorists, extreme forces, and transnational organized criminal groups. All countries, especially major countries, should adopt a prudent and responsible attitude to the research, development, and application of AI technologies in the military field, refrain from seeking absolute military advantage and prevent damaging global strategic balance and stability. China advocates implementing tiered and categorized regulation to make sure that relevant weapon systems are always under human control. In light of the dual-use nature of AI technology, while strengthening regulation and governance, we need to ensure the rights of all countries to peaceful uses. China opposes drawing ideological lines or forming exclusive groups to obstruct other countries from developing AI. We also oppose creating barriers and disrupting the global AI supply chain through technological monopolies and unilateral coercive measures.

China takes notice of the propositions and suggestions from Secretary General António Guterres and other parties. We support discussions within the United Nations framework to establish an international institution to govern AI, and to coordinate efforts to address major issues concerning international AI development, security and governance.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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