Looking beyond the 2005 NPT Review Conference Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yan, Director-General, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China
Let me first thank the UN and the Government of the Republic of Korea for inviting me to this conference. It gives me an opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views with officials and scholars from other countries on how to further promote international non-proliferation. My thanks also goes to the city government of Busan, for the warm hospitality extended to us.
The late developments in the field of international non-proliferation are disturbing. Regional nuclear issues surface one after another and the processes towards their peaceful resolution have encountered twists and turns. The exposure of the underground nuclear smuggling network highlights the weakness of the international non-proliferation regime. Divergence on priorities, interests and policy orientations on the ends and means of non-proliferation has made it difficult to form synergy among countries. The 7th NPT Review Conference wound up without any substantive result. The World Summit last September also failed to reach agreement in its final document on this important issue. These have further impaired the momentum to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime.
In this regard, how to effectively maintain the nuclear non-proliferation regime has become a pressing and practical issue confronting the international community. Since this is the main theme of this gathering, I would like to share with you here my observations.
The international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the NPT is part and parcel of the existing international security architecture. It has played an indispensable role in maintaining world peace and security. Standing against nuclear proliferation has increasingly become a common position of the international community. However, with the transformation of international political, economic and security landscape, the international nuclear non-proliferation regime has been confronted with fresh problems and challenges.
Firstly, economic globalization and fast development in science and technology, especially the advancement of information technology, have largely lowered the threshold of spreading and acquiring sensitive items and technologies, creating more difficulties for non-proliferation.
Secondly, the risk of nuclear and other forms of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and other non-state actors is on the rise. It has consequently rendered traditional non-proliferation means invalid and added complexities to the non-proliferation situation.
Thirdly, imbalanced treatment exists between non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, giving rise to new contradictions. While non-proliferation is forcefully emphasized, issues relating to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the legitimate right of non-nuclear weapon states to peaceful use have not received proper treatment. It has to some extent hindered the international non-proliferation consensus.
Fourthly, international non-proliferation cooperation is seriously undermined by discriminatory, selective and double standard practices in addressing regional and international proliferation issues. Such practices have also put some countries' non-proliferation objective and motive into serious doubts.
Fifthly, negative aspects in the global and regional security environment, especially such tendencies as power politics, unilateralism and wanton use of force in international relations, have reduced some countries' sense of security, which, to some extent, gives impetus to acquiring nuclear weapons for self-protection.
The future status and role of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime is dependent on the effective and proper settlement of above questions and challenges. The international community should demonstrate political vision and wisdom by seeking solution through political, legal, diplomatic and technical perspectives. In this regard, I find the following points most important.
First, all states should commit themselves to a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and co-operation so as to create international and regional security conditions conducive to non-proliferation. Proliferation issues should be dealt with through an integrated approach addressing both the symptoms and root causes so as to remove the fundamental motivation behind the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The cold war mentality and outdated concept such as pursuit of overwhelming military advantage should be abandoned and common security for all nations should be promoted. The goal of non-proliferation is to preserve and promote international peace and security. Global and regional nuclear issues should be handled by political and diplomatic means within the framework of existing international law. Differences in non-proliferation should be properly handled through negotiation, dialogue and communication rather than exertion of pressure, imposition of sanctions and confrontation.
Second, it is necessary to promote nuclear disarmament process so as to inject vigor into international non-proliferation efforts. In this respect, national security policy based on first use of nuclear weapon should be abandoned. The role of nuclear weapons in national security should be gradually lessened. An international legal instrument on security assurances should be negotiated and concluded as early as possible so as to increase sense of security among non-nuclear-weapon states. An early entry-into-force of CTBT should be pursued and before achieving that moratoria on nuclear test should be honored. The deadlock in multilateral arms control negotiation should be broken so as to pave way for FMCT negotiations to start.
Third, efforts should be made to preserve and strengthen the existing international non-proliferation regime. The NPT as the corner stone of the regime should be preserved. Although the 7th review conference did not produce substantive outcome, the international community still supports the three main objectives of the NPT. In order to enhance its universality, authority and effectiveness, all Parties should stick to their Treaty obligations and the states that are not yet Parties to the Treaty should join the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states as soon as possible. States should strictly observe their international obligations, build up national non-proliferation legislation, institution and law enforcement capacity, and actively participate in relevant international cooperation. Nuclear-weapon states and states advanced in the technology of atomic energy should strengthen export control of nuclear and dual use items and technologies in real earnest and plug any existing loopholes.
Fourth, the role of the UN and other relevant international agencies should be given full play. As the most universal and most representative inter-governmental organisation, the United Nations is an important platform for multilateral non-proliferation cooperation and should therefore play a leading role. The UN Security Council Resolution 1540 is a milestone document providing essential legal basis for countries to crack down on proliferation activities by non-state actors. At present, it is of great significance to implement the resolution in real earnest, submit national reports in a timely manner and exchange experiences in export control.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear non-proliferation watchdog, should play an even more important role. From comprehensive safeguards (INFCIRC/153) to the Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540), the Agency has made major progress in integrated safeguards. It is imperative to further the universality of the Additional Protocol by encouraging more countries to bring it into force. All states are also encouraged to ratify the Amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material as soon as possible. With a view to further strengthening non-proliferation, quite some new initiatives have been put forward and some have been put into practice, the Committee on Safeguards and Verification under IAEA Board of Governors, for instance. It must be stressed that any new measure must go through extensive discussions and widely accepted by all.
Meanwhile, the role of the export control mechanisms should be given full play. The guidelines and trigger lists of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Zangger Committee need to be updated to enhance their effectiveness. Mechanisms such as the MTCR and the Australian Group need to enlarge their membership. In the enlargement, double standards or politicization should be avoided. Only by so doing can these mechanisms really become important platform for international non-proliferation effort and contribute to non-proliferation objectives.
Fourth, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy are both important pillars of the NPT, mutually supporting and promoting each other. In seeking nuclear non-proliferation, the right of all countries in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy must be respected. We should prevent obstructing or interfering with normal activities in peaceful use on grounds of non-proliferation. At the same time, countries must act in strict observance of the Agency's safeguards to ensure that the right to peaceful uses not be abused. Efforts should also be made to eradicate all proliferation activities under the cloak of peaceful use.
China firmly opposes proliferation of WMD and supports international non-proliferation efforts. China takes an active part in the resolving regional hot-spot issues. We are now working with parties concerned for a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and the maintenance of peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large through the Six-Party Talks. China maintains close coordination and cooperation with all party concerned and plays a constructive role in properly resolving the Iranian nuclear issue at an early date. China supports the efforts to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime and takes an active part in the relevant discussions on new non-proliferation proposals with an open mind. We endorse the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and have submitted in time China's national report on implementation of the Resolution. In order to promote the implementation of the Resolution, China decides to hold a regional seminar in Beijing with UNDDA and 1540 Committee next year and we welcome participation of countries from the region. On the basis of the rule of law, the Chinese Government continuously strengthens and improves its legal system on export control. China further updated its export control regulations upon participation in the NSG. At present, the principles, scopes and methods in export control that we follow are consistent with international practices in the nuclear fields. The Chinese Government has strengthened its enforcement efforts in export control, stepped up training and education of exporters, and tightened monitoring of sensitive items. China has also conducted fruitful cooperation with many countries in non-proliferation law enforcement.
Non-proliferation is an important issue bearing on the security of the whole international community. No country alone is capable of addressing it on its own. Only when the international community reaches common understanding, strengthens cooperation, and works together in a concerted effort, will it be possible to realize the objective of a more peaceful and safer world free of the threat of WMD.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.