Statement by Mr. Liu Jieyi, Director General of Arms Control and Disarmament Department, Foreign Ministry of China, on Nuclear Disarmament and Security Assurances
The new century has seen far-reaching changes and increasing uncertainties in the international security landscape. We face both traditional and non-traditional security issues, with non-traditional challenges on the rise. The risk of terrorism converging with weapons of mass destruction has brought more complexity and challenge to global non-proliferation effort. In this overall context, the 2005 NPT Review Conference and the coming Preparatory Committee session become all the more important, as events to inject new energy in the NPT.
As the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation, the NPT has played an important role in preventing nuclear proliferation over three decades. Non-proliferation has become an international norm supported by an overwhelming majority of countries. On the whole the Treaty has been constantly strengthened. Nonetheless, we need to collectively look at how to enhance the Treaty's effectiveness and universality in the new situation and in the face of new challenges so that the Treaty benefits states parties and regions more in terms of peace, security, stability and development.
The fundamental solution is to comprehensively strengthen the three main pillars of the Treaty, namely, preventing nuclear weapon proliferation, promoting nuclear disarmament and facilitating peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The three pillars are mutually supportive and complimentary. Only by implementing them all can we further strengthen the Treaty and meet the new challenges.
There have been many proposals on how to strengthen non-proliferation. I hope our collective wisdom will help translate these proposals into concrete measures. For the topic under discussion, I will focus on nuclear disarmament and security assurances.
In this century, the biggest security threat to the world is no longer the strategic confrontation and conflict between big powers as we saw in the Cold War. Non-traditional threats such as transboundary crimes, terrorist acts and spread of WMDs are taking over traditional ones and becoming great challenges to the world. To effectively cope with these challenges in pursuit of peace and security for all requires a new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation. Nuclear weapons do not solve our problems.
The two world wars of the 20th century drove home the devastation of mass destruction. The Cold War taught us that nuclear war could not be fought or won. The end of the Cold War and the new security situation should bring us closer to large-scale reduction and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. While the 20th century saw the invention of nuclear weapons and the threat it brought up to mankind, the 21st century should be one of thorough elimination of nuclear weapons and realization of a world free of such weapons. This will not only benefit non-nuclear-weapon states but also serve the interests of nuclear-weapon states.
At present, some developments in the nuclear field require our attention. These include preemptive strategies, lowering the threshold of using nuclear weapons, research and development of usable new concept weapons, and shortening the preparation of nuclear testing. Such moves do not serve the security of any country. On the contrary, they go against the trend and efforts of non-proliferation.
In the present situation, it is necessary for nuclear-weapon states to take the following steps in nuclear disarmament:
First, reaffirm the commitment to a complete and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons.
Second, implement nuclear weapon reduction treaties that have been reached. The reduction process should follow the principles of being effectively verifiable and irreversible.
Third, facilitate the decision at the Conference on Disarmament on a program of work, including the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, and substantive work on nuclear issues.
Fourth, not to research into or develop new types of nuclear weapons.
Fifth, ratify the CTBT and work for the early entry into force of the treaty. Moratorium on testing must be observed.
Sixth, begin negotiations on FMCT as soon as possible.
The 2000 NPT Review Conference agreed on 13-step nuclear disarmament measures. Although regrettable changes took place in some aspects, we should continue to adhere to the spirit and principles of the steps. It is necessary for the third session of the preparatory committee to reaffirm those measures which are still valid. New proposals reflecting changes of the situation should be explored and the consensus should be sought.
Now I would like to turn to security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states.
Security assurances have always been pursued by non-nuclear-weapon states. Before the conclusion of the NPT, in order to encourage participation into the Treaty, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 255. In that resolution, nuclear-weapon states undertook to provide positive security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states to meet the latter's concerns. In 1995, States Parties decided to extend the Treaty indefinitely. On that occasion, the Security Council adopted resolution 984, providing positive and negative security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states. Nuclear-weapon states also provided security assurances for parties to nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties by signing protocols to such treaties. However, there is no legally binding international instrument on unconditional security assurances.
Security assurances are not one way offering. The non-nuclear-weapon states agreed to give up the nuclear weapon option when they joined the NPT. This constitutes their contribution to nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and to the maintenance of world peace and security. It is fully legitimate and reasonable for them to obtain assurances by nuclear-weapon states against nuclear threats and have such assurances in the form of a legal instrument.
We need to approach this issue from the perspective of strengthening the three pillars of the Treaty and the non-proliferation process. History has proven the security assurances can enhance the sense of security and reduce motivation behind acquiring nuclear weapons.
The 2000 NPT Review Conference clearly required preparatory sessions to make proposals on security assurances for the next review conference. Up to now, the preparatory sessions have not conducted any substantive discussions on it. We hope progress will be made in the coming session with proposals to the 2005 Review Conference. In our view, the nuclear-weapon states should take the following measures:
First, explicitly undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones.
Second, support an early conclusion of an international legal instrument on security assurances both in the NPT framework and in the context of establishing an ad hoc committee on security assurances at the CD so as to negotiate and conclude a treaty thereupon.
Third, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy and not to target nuclear weapons on any country.
Fourth, support efforts of non-nuclear-weapon states to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones. These efforts are conducive to strengthening international non-proliferation endeavor.
China has attached great importance and made its contribution to nuclear disarmament and security assurances.
To prevent nuclear wars and eliminate nuclear weapons has been the firm objective and policy of the Chinese Government. Since the very first day when China came into possession of nuclear weapons, it has stood for a complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China has exercised utmost restraint in the development of nuclear weapons and kept its weaponry at the minimum level. China has never been part of any nuclear arms race and will never be in the future. China has been taking an active part in the NPT review process, and supported an early entry into force of the CTBT, actively participated in the work of the Preparatory Commission for CTBTO and supports negotiation and early conclusion of FMCT. China is also the only nuclear-weapon state that has in force the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
China has undertaken from the very beginning of possessing nuclear weapons, neither to be the first to use nuclear weapons, nor to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time and under any circumstances. The 1995 statement of the Chinese Government reaffirmed the above position and added positive security assurances to our commitment. China jointly stated with Russia and the US respectively that their nuclear weapons would not target each other. China has also reached agreement with Russia on no-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other. China proposed that nuclear-weapon states should conclude a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons and unconditionally undertake not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states. Once put into effect such moves will exclude the possibility of using nuclear weapons. China has signed the relevant protocols to all nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties that are open to signature. China has reached agreement with ASEAN on the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and look forward to its opening for signature. China has no difficulty with the text of the protocol to the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty and would welcome the five Central Asian countries and other nuclear-weapon states to agree on the protocol.
The 2005 NPT Review Conference and the upcoming third session of its preparatory committee will be an opportunity to address the challenges facing the NPT. We should seize the opportunity to comprehensively review all aspects of the Treaty and make recommendations since it will be crucial to promote the three main objectives of the Treaty, ensure its vitality and sustain confidence in the review process. We hope all countries will work together to make the conference a success.