Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the 56th Session of the Executive Council
(The Hague, 21 April 2009)
Distinguished Mme. Chairperson,
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to welcome you back to the chair of the Executive Council (EC). The Chinese delegation will offer its full cooperation to you and to other delegations. I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to express my high appreciation for your hard and effective work as the EC Chairperson in the past year.
I would like to thank the Direct-General, H. E. Mr. Pfirter, for the comprehensive work report he just presented. I fully associate myself with the statement made by the distinguished Cuban Ambassador, Mr. Oscar de los Reyes Ramos, on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the Dominican Republic as the 187th State Party of the Convention.
On the forthcoming April 29th this year, we will be marking the 12th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as the Commemoration Day for Victims of Chemical Weapons (CW). In the last 12 years since the entry into force, considerable progress has been made in attaining such core objects of the Convention as universality, CW destruction and verification. All States Parties and the Secretariat should be proud of all this. At the same time, however, it should be noted that when the final deadline of April 29th, 2012 is fast approaching, substantial CW stockpiles remain for destruction, and the CWs abandoned by Japan in China (Japanese ACWs) are still causing human casualties from time to time and their substantive destruction is yet to begin. The Convention’s core object of eliminating the threat of CWs as soon as possible is now up against harsh and complex challenges. In terms of fostering international cooperation in chemical industry, the OPCW is also required to intensify its efforts and inputs.
My delegation is prepared to work with all other parties in reinforcing our consultations and cooperation in a joint bid to overcome difficulties and advance the full and effective implementation of the Convention. Now, please allow me to elaborate on my delegation’s views on some agenda items.
Firstly, the timely and complete CW destruction is a matter that bears right on the credibility of the Convention, which makes it the top priority and the most urgent task of the OPCW. My delegation commends India and some other States Parties for their accomplishment of CW destruction, and calls on other possessor states to heighten their sense of urgency and work as hard as they can to hasten their destruction processes, so as to ensure their completions by the deadline specified by the Convention. My delegation welcomes the submission by Iraq of its CW declarations and its tentative destruction plan. The Chinese delegation hopes that the Secretariat will fully mobilize its resources and speed up its relevant activities. My delegation is ready to work with other delegations and the Secretariat in seeking proper solutions to issues relating to verification and destruction in Iraq, so as to create favourable conditions for the early initiation and completion of its destruction.
Secondly, the early launch and timely completion of the destruction of the Japanese ACWs in China is something that touches upon a core purpose of the Convention. It is also a grave security concern of the Chinese government and people. Freedom from harm by CWs constitutes the most fundamental and most significant security guarantee which the Convention and the OPCW provide to States Parties. But in the nearly 12 years since the entry into force, not a single item of the vast quantities of the Japanese ACWs has been destroyed. Worse still, those weapons have been causing real and severe harm to the citizens and the environment in China. This conforms in no way to the spirit and objects of the Convention. Instead, it affects its credibility adversely. Therefore, it brooks no further delay to launch the destruction. The Chinese side urges the Japanese side to show a responsible attitude and implement its obligations earnestly by stepping up its human and material inputs and working to commence the destruction as early as possible and complete it by the specified deadline.
Thirdly, practical steps should be taken to foster vigorously international exchange and cooperation in chemical industry. International cooperation is a concrete demonstration of the mutual enhancements between multilateral disarmament and economic and technological development. Effective international cooperation is positive not only to promoting the universality, but also to building the capabilities of all states, particularly the developing ones, for implementing obligations under the Convention and for gaining protection against CWs. My delegation calls on all parties to adopt a long-term perspective, increase their attention to and inputs in this area and take practical actions to advance the full and effective implementation of Article XI.
China always cares greatly about and joins actively in international cooperation and assistance, and has actually been providing help within its capacity. I am happy to announce here that the Chinese government has decided to donate soon a number of PCs to the OPCW international cooperation projects for Africa, and to offer trainings to Africa’s chemical engineers. China will as always make its contributions to States Parties’ implementation capability-building and international cooperation and exchange.
Fourthly, the improvement of the mechanism of industry inspection should be pursued in keeping with the principle of fairness and reasonableness, in a steady, gradual and orderly way, and on the basis of consensus. My delegation has noted the report on the performance of the modified methodology for the selection of OCPFs for inspection, and believes that while this methodology is applied as a transitional measure, it is more important to resume soon consultations among all parties on this issue, in order to arrive at a methodology which truly meets the requirements of the Convention.
My delegation has taken note of the report concerning the appointment of the Director-General which you submitted to the EC, and admires you for the large amount work you have performed. All States Parties pay high attention to this matter, and some have nominated their candidates now. This, as I see it, reflects the importance which all parties attach to the work of the OPCW and their desire for participation, which should be cherished, maintained and encouraged. The process and outcome of the selection should be conducive to the unity and cooperation of all States Parties and to the work of the OPCW, and should also set norms for the future selections. To this end, my delegation holds that while ensuring that the selection process be fair, transparent and democratic, it is necessary to formulate reasonable and feasible guiding principles for the selection, so that it can be carried out statutorily, and psychological and procedural preparations be fully made for all eventualities. The Chinese delegation will actively participate in the deliberations concerned and play a constructive role. Meanwhile, my delegation will offer its continued support and cooperation to the work of the DG and the Secretariat.
Thank you, Mme. Chairperson.