Statement by Counsellor Wang Xiaoning, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the 57th Session of the Executive Council of the OPCW
(The Hague, The Netherlands, 14 July 2009)
Distinguished Mr. Chairman,
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the Executive Council (EC). I trust that with your diplomatic experience and excellent diplomatic skills, you will guide the work of the EC to success. 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 appreciation to your predecessor, the Ambassador of Slovakia Ms. Oksana Tomova, for her outstanding work.
I would like to thank the Director General, H. E. Mr. Pfirter, for his comprehensive work report. I fully associate myself with the statement made by the Ambassador of Cuba on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the Bahamas as the 188th State Party.
In the 12 years since its entry into force, the implementation of the Convention as a whole has been going steadily and smoothly. The universality has been markedly enhanced. CW destruction has been yielding progress. And the verification mechanism has been enforced effectively. In banning and destroying CW, in preventing CW proliferation, and in fostering international cooperation in chemical industry, the Convention has played a crucial role. At the same time, however, it should be noted that we still face challenges in the full and effective implementation of the Convention. It is, therefore, of vital importance that among States Parties and between them and the Secretariat, cooperation should be deepened, consensus be forged and efforts redoubled for advancing work in all aspects. Now, please allow me to elaborate on the Chinese delegation’s views on some agenda items.
Firstly, I would like to speak on CW destruction. The complete CW destruction within the deadline specified by the Convention is, for the OPCW and, especially, the possessor states, a task of top priority and urgency. In the connection, the Chinese delegation congratulates the States Parties which have accomplished their destruction. But my delegation has noted with concern that as the destruction deadline of April 29, 2012 is fast approaching, over half of the CW stockpile is yet to be destroyed. The Chinese delegation understands that unexpected difficulties have indeed been encountered in the destruction process of some possessor states. In the nearly three years left, however, the States Parties concerned should adopt a responsible approach and take practical steps to seek a solution, so as to ensure the completion of the destruction by the deadline.
On this point, I would like to note that in the recent years, some States Parties have advocated the shift in the focus of work of the OPCW from chemical disarmament to non-proliferation. That is not in itself a problem. And China has always supported intensive international efforts for non-proliferation. But as it has become apparent, there is yet a long way to go and a lot to do in chemical disarmament, which requires the uttermost attention and dedication by States Parties and the Secretariat. CW destruction remains the core task of this organization that is yet to be accomplished.
Secondly, I wish to speak on the issue of Japanese ACW in China. The early launch and timely completion of the destruction of Japanese ACW in China is an issue that bears on one of the core purposes of the Convention. It is also a grave concern of the Chinese government and people.
During his talks with the Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in last April, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao emphasized that to dispose of Japanese ACW is as much an important aspect of resolving the major issues in the Sino-Japanese relations left over from history, as it is an important task in implementing the Convention. He expressed his hope that Japan would speed up its work.
Indeed, since the beginning of this year, some progress has been made in the disposal of Japanese ACW. But in the 12 years since the entry into force, not a single item of Japanese ACW has been destroyed. China is gravely concerned about this situation. The initiation of the destruction brooks no further delay. The Convention stipulates that for the purpose of destroying abandoned chemical weapons, the Abandoning State Party shall provide all necessary financial, technical, expert, facility as well as other resources. The Chinese side urges its Japanese counterpart to demonstrate commitment and honour its obligations under the Convention by intensifying its human and material inputs and launching substantive destruction as early as possible so as to complete the destruction by the prescribed deadline. China will welcome a more active role of the Secretariat in this regard.
Thirdly, let me turn to industry verification. To promote non-proliferation and conduct industry verification in a fair and reasonable manner, while making sure that the priority of chemical disarmament is being met, is an important subject for the OPCW to explore in all seriousness. The Chinese delegation believes that resources for industry verification should be reasonably distributed according to the levels of risk of facilities, while taking full account of equitable geographical distribution.
The Chinese delegation has taken note of the report on the performance of the modified methodology for the selection of OCPFs for inspection, which the Secretariat submitted to the Council. Through this new trial methodology of selection, it is obvious that in 2008, OCPF inspections were concentrated in certain regions of the world and certain states therein. As a global treaty, the non-proliferation efforts of the Convention shouldn’t be focused on certain regions or certain states therein only, or for long. The Chinese delegation believes that that would contravene the principle of equitable geographical distribution laid down in the Convention, and that it would not serve the purpose of non-proliferation as originally intended. The Chinese delegation is of the view that as a transitional measure, this methodology is yet to be made more reasonable and effective. My delegation hopes that the Secretariat will draw on the hitherto experience and evaluate the trial methodology further. My delegation will consult with other parties and work to find a reasonable selection methodology for this type of inspection as soon as possible.
Fourthly, I’d like to talk about practical steps to be taken for fostering international exchange and cooperation in chemical industry. International cooperation is an embodiment of the mutually enhancing relationship between multilateral disarmament and economic and technological development. Such effective cooperation is favourable not only for promoting the universality, but also for fostering the abilities of all states, particularly the developing ones, for fulfilling Convention obligations and for protection against CW. The Chinese delegation calls on all parties to adopt a long-term prospective and to devote more resources to undertakings in this field. Practical steps should be taken to advance the full and effective implementation of Article XI.
China has been very active in promoting international cooperation and assistance. It has also offered practical help whenever possible. Last spring, the Chinese government decided to donate a number of PCs to the OPCW international cooperation projects for Africa, and to offer trainings to African national authority personnel and chemical engineers. China is working closely with the Secretariat to follow through those projects. Things are now going smoothly according to plan.
At this session, for the first time, we will officially deliberate on the candidature of the next Director-General. Tomorrow, the candidates will present themselves to the Council, which the Chinese delegation is looking forward to. The appointment of the next DG is a matter of great significance for the future of this organization. As within his tenure, among other things, the next DG will face the arduous task of ensuring the timely completion of CW destruction. China hopes, therefore, the next DG will have the experience and ability to face up to the challenges with a sense of justice and fair play. It is my hope that all parties will cherish the OPCW’s time-honoured tradition of making decisions on the base of consensus, and work to ensure that through consensus, an appropriate recommendation will be presented to the Conference. We have noted, of course, that to make the appointment process fair and transparent, and to allow each candidate equal chance, South Africa has, on behalf of the African Group, proposed that a reasonable and feasible appointment procedure be formulated, so that the appointment will be properly guided. The Chinese delegation commends our African colleagues for their inputs, and will actively participate in the deliberations in a constructive manner.
In closing, I wish this session a full success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.