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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Chinese Statement, April 27, 1998

Statement from H. E. Mr. Sha Zukang

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by warmly congratulating you, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, on your assumption of the Chairmanship of this Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2000

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Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We are convinced that with your wisdom and diplomatic skills, you will certainly guide the current session to a success. I wish to assure you of the fullest support and cooperation of the Chinese delegation. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to your predecessor, Ambassador Patokallio for his creative work. Under his able leadership, the NPT review process got off to a good start.

Mr. Chairman,

Since the end of the Cold War, the international situation has undergone profound changes. The overall international tensions have relaxed, relations among big powers have improved, and the trend towards multi-polarity is gaining momentum. The pursuit of peace, development and cooperation has become the mainstream of the times. Such an international situation has made it possible to achieve major progress m the field of arms control and disarmament. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was concluded and has entered into force. The NPT was extended indefinitely. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was concluded and opened for signature. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a model additional protocol aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system.

However, it is regrettable that one year and a half after the conclusion of CTBT, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is yet to start substantive work. Despite the fact that the international community believes that conditions are now ripe for a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), its negotiation is yet to be initiated. The nuclear disarmament process is going at a slow pace, while no progress has been achieved on the issue of negative security assurances (NSA), a long-standing demand of the non-nuclear-weapon states.

The fundamental cause of the above-mentioned situation lies in the fact that some countries cling to the Cold War mentality, stick to the military doctrines of the Cold War era and adhere to the nuclear deterrence policy. They keep on expanding their military blocks, strengthening their military alliances, and developing sophisticated hi-tech weapons. Making use of multilateral arms control treaties and international non-proliferation mechanisms, they attempt to restrain and weaken other countries' military capabilities, so as to seek absolute security for themselves. Such mentality and practices run counter to the trend of the times, spoil the atmosphere of multilateral arms control negotiations and hamper further progress in the field of international arms control.

Mr. Chairman,

The future of international arms control and disarmament depends on whether the countries concerned abandon the Cold War mentality and embrace a new security concept consistent with the trend of the times. It depends on whether countries abide by the Charter of the United Nations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in international affairs, respecting each other on an equal footing and refraining from pursuing unilateral military advantage. It also depends on whether all countries are committed to peaceful solution of international disputes instead of resorting to force or threat of force. Only in such a way, can we fundamentally reduce the reliance on and incentive to acquire armaments, thus promoting the international arms control and disarmament process.

Now I would like to present the views of the Chinese delegation, in the context of the current arms control and disarmament situation and the tasks facing us, on the three major objectives of the NPT, namely, nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Mr. Chairman,

Nuclear disarmament, which has direct bearings on every state' S security, attracts most attention from the international community. It is true that with the relaxation of international situation after the end of the Cold War and the joint efforts of the international community, some progress has been attained in this respect, as exemplified in particular by the conclusion of the CTBT in 1996, which constitutes an important step forward in the process of multilateral nuclear disarmament. The United States and Russia, the two states with largest nuclear stockpiles, have concluded START I and START II. However, the gore-mentioned developments are far from meeting the expectations of the international community. We still have a long way to go in nuclear disarmament.

FMCT should have been the most appropriate subject for negotiation in the field of multilateral nuclear disarmament after CTBT. In 1995, the CD adopted by consensus the Shannon Report which defined the negotiation mandate. In the same year, the NPT Review Conference once again called for the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on FMCT. Since then, three years have passed, but the negotiations have been kept from starting. The CD has even been unable to re-establish an ad hoc committee on this matter.

Almost twenty years have elapsed since the proposal on negotiating a legally binding NSA instrument was first put forward at the Second NPT Review Conference in 1980. Little progress has been made on this issue due to causes known to all. The reasonable and justified demand of the non-nuclear-weapon states has been neglected.

In the field of bilateral nuclear disarmament, though START I and START IT were reached between the U.S. and Russia, it is clear that even after the implementation of the reductions required by START II in the year 2007, the two countries will retain 3,000 to 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads respectively in active deployment, which can destroy the mankind many times, not to mention the large number of warheads they each keep in storage.

Strategic missile and its defense are inter-related. The development of strategic missile defense system will certainly have serious and far-reaching impact on nuclear disarmament process. In recent years, some worrisome tendencies have emerged in the field of nuclear disarmament, which are inconsistent with or even run counter to the trend of the times. Some countries are conducting research on and development of advanced strategic missile defense systems and outer space weapons, in an attempt to consolidate and even expand their strategic advantage acquired in the Cold War era, and to seek absolute security for themselves.

Mr. Chairman,

China was forced to develop a very limited nuclear force due to historical reasons. As a nuclear-weapon state, however, China has adopted a firm and clear-cut attitude towards nuclear disarmament. We have never shied away from our responsibility on nuclear disarmament, and stand ready to undertake corresponding obligations at all time. In order to demonstrate China's sincere attitude towards nuclear disarmament and to promote the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons at an early date, we appeal once again that, a convention on the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons be concluded at an early date like the conventions banning chemical and biological weapons. Pending the achievement of this goal, we can take some practical and feasible measures. For this purpose, we make the following proposals:

1. Nuclear-weapon states should conclude a treaty on mutual no-first-use of nuclear weapons. The history of the Cold War has demonstrated that nuclear deterrence is nothing but nuclear threat, and is detrimental to international peace, security and stability. With the relaxation of the international situation and the improvement of relations among big powers, the nuclear deterrence policy, based on the first use of nuclear weapons, does not conform to the trend of our times. Therefore, the condition is now ripe for the conclusion of a treaty on mutual no-first-use of nuclear weapons among the nuclear-weapon states. As early as 1994, China officially called upon the other four nuclear-weapon states to conclude such a treaty and put forward a draft treaty. China urges other nuclear-weapon states to give serious consideration to the above-mentioned proposal.

2. The nuclear-weapon states concerned should abandon the policy of nuclear deterrence and conclude a legally binding international instrument on no use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. The non-nuclear-weapon states have voluntarily forsworn forever the right to develop nuclear weapons. Therefore, they are fully justified in demanding the nuclear-weapon states to undertake unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them.

3. The quantity and quality of the nuclear weapons possessed by the U.S. and Russia have brought them special responsibilities on nuclear disarmament. They should ratify and implement the existing agreements on nuclear disarmament and commence the negotiations on START III as early as possible. The two countries should destroy those removed nuclear warheads rather than simply transfer them from deployment to storage. The Chinese delegation maintains that, every stage in the nuclear arms reduction by the two countries should constitute a genuine step towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons, but not a measure to rationalize the structure of their nuclear forces

4. Countries concerned should stop immediately the research on and development of advanced strategic missile defense systems and outer space weapons. Such activities violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), jeopardize regional and global strategic security and stability, hamper further progress in nuclear disarmament, and may even trigger a new round of arms race.

5. The negotiations on a FMCT should be initiated and concluded as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairman,

The prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation is another task facing us. We note that the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation does exist. Yet it is a common responsibility of all the States Parties to the NPT to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Proceeding from its position on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, China has all along opposed nuclear weapons proliferation. As a State Party to the NPT, China strictly abides by the treaty obligations on nuclear non-proliferation, and has made its own contributions to this end. China does not advocate, encourage or engage in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, nor assist other countries in developing nuclear weapons or provide any assistance to nuclear facilities that are not under IAEA safeguards. China takes a positive attitude towards the international efforts in preventing nuclear proliferation. On the issue of nuclear export, China always adopts a prudent and responsible policy and strictly adheres to the principles governing its nuclear export.

In recent years, the Chinese Government, on the basis of its existing management system, has taken a series of measures to further strengthen and improve its nuclear export control mechanism. Last May, the State Council of China promulgated the Circular on Strict Implementation of China's Nuclear Export Policy, which enhanced its export control on nuclear-related dual use items. Last September, China's State Council promulgated the Regulations on Nuclear Export Control. At present, the departments concerned of China are in the process of formulating export control regulations on nuclear-related dual use items. The regulations are expected to be issued in mid-1998. The promulgation of the above-mentioned regulations will form a largely comprehensive legal system of China's nuclear export control.

Pursuant to its consistent stand on nuclear non-proliferation, China has taken an active part in the IAEA efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the safeguards system. China welcomes the adoption of the model additional protocols for this purpose, and has undertaken to conclude a legally binding agreement with the Agency at an early date. China joined the Zangger Committee as a full member last October.

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, the question of how to strengthen nuclear nonproliferation mechanisms has been a constant subject of discussions. The Chinese delegation believes that the fundamental way to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons lies in the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons under effective international verification and control. Pending the attainment of this objective, it is necessary for the international community to take measures from two dimensions. First, from the perspective of broad international security environment, efforts should be made to establish a fair and rational new international political and economic order. Only in such a way, can each and every country, large or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, with or without nuclear weapons, enjoy the sense of security. This will fundamentally remove the incentives for some countries to acquire, develop or retain nuclear weapons. Secondly, with regard to specific non-proliferation measures, although the existing non-proliferation regimes have played some useful role, the rapid development of technologies and ever-expanding flow of information have made it impossible to rely on containment and high-handed measures to prevent nuclear proliferation. We should continue to explore better solutions consistent with the trend of our times through enhanced cooperation.

I wish to highlight that the purpose of nuclear non-proliferation is to maintain world peace, security and stability for the benefit of the mankind. Some countries, however, have deviated from this principle, advertising themselves as the sole crusader of non-proliferation, taking its enforcement as their prerogative and using it to further their own foreign policy objectives. They adopt double or multiple standards on nuclear nonproliferation according to their own criteria in total disregard of other countries' interests. On the one hand, they are indifferent to or even encourage and induce nuclear proliferation in some cases. On the other hand, if they think that their own interests might be compromised, they will intervene and impose sanctions on those activities, even though they are for peaceful purposes. This is by no means genuine nuclear nonproliferation. Therefore, China holds that any concern related to nuclear proliferation should be resolved according to the procedures spelled out in relevant international legal instruments, including through dialogue and cooperation, so as to achieve the non-proliferation objectives shared by all. No country should impose its own law and interests on any other country or the international community at large.

Mr. Chairman,

Promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy for the peace, health and prosperity of the mankind is one of the three major objectives of the NPT. Nuclear energy and technologies have a wide range of applications in electricity generation, agriculture, medicine, etc. At present, electricity generated by nuclear energy constitutes 17% of the world's total, equivalent to the consumption of 1.2 billion tons of coal a year. With respect to agriculture, more than 1 900 kinds of crops have been cultivated through radiological technologies. The peaceful uses of nuclear energy have benefited human life m many sectors. However, there are two tendencies in recent years which have given rise to concerns. First, too much financial and human resources have been put into the nonproliferation efforts at the expense of technical and financial assistance to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy for developing countries. Second, the international cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy has been affected and even hindered by the over emphasis on non-proliferation and export control. The above-mentioned two tendencies go against the purposes of the NPT on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. China is of the view that nuclear non-proliferation should neither restrict or prevent peaceful uses of nuclear energy, nor deprive any country of the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, nor impede the international cooperation for that purpose. Nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy should complement each other and be treated on an equal footing. Greater efforts should be made, without compromising the nuclear non-proliferation objective, to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technologies for the benefit of humanity.

Mr. Chairman,

At the dawn of the new century, the 2000 NPT Review Conference is approaching us. We are faced with arduous preparatory work. Under your able leadership, the Chinese delegation is ready to work with other States Parties to make the current session of the Preparatory Committee a success.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.