Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun Permanent Representative of China to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the 53rd Session of the Executive Council (The Hague, June 24, 2008)
Distinguished Mme. Chairperson,
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to welcome you as chairperson of the Executive Council. The Chinese delegation will offer you its full cooperation, so as to help ensure the smooth completion of all the proceedings at this EC session. I wish also to extend my sincere thanks to your predecessor, the distinguished Ambassador of the Philippines, H. E. Mr. Romeo A. Arguelles, for the efforts he made in the previous year and his contributions to the work of the EC.
I would also like to thank the Director-General, H. E. Mr. Rogelio Pfirter, for the comprehensive work report he just presented. Meanwhile, I fully concur with the statement made by the Cuban Ambassador, H. E. Mr. Oscar Ramos, on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China.
Over two months have passed since the conclusion of the Second Review Conference. The Chinese delegation welcomes the final report of the Conference and appreciates the hard efforts made for it. We believe that the final report has taken full account of the different viewpoints and concerns of all the parties, and addressed the major obligations under the Convention in a fairly balanced manner. Now, I would like to spell out the following views of my delegation as regards how the EC should further the comprehensive implementation of the Convention in line with the achievements of the Second Review Conference:
Firstly, the sense of urgency for completing the CW destruction as scheduled should be strengthened. The Second Review Conference stressed the obligation of completely destroying the CW stockpiles by the deadlines set by the Convention and the relevant CSP decisions. Up to now, nearly 40% of all the declared stockpiles have been destroyed, thanks to the enormous efforts by the possessor states. We welcome and appreciate it. But it should be noted that the final destruction deadline specified by the Convention is drawing nearer by the day, and the major possessor states still face a quite arduous task in their destruction. The timely completion of the destruction bears upon the prestige and credibility of the Convention. We call upon the states concerned to overcome all difficulties and spare no efforts in quickening the destruction process and ensuring its completion by the final deadline of 2012.
Secondly, more attention should be paid to the destruction of old and abandoned chemical weapons. The OCWs and ACWs are still posing a grave threat to the lives, properties and environment of the host states. The Second Review Conference expressed its concern over the slow pace of their destructions. As a CW victim, China always attaches great importance to the disposal of the Abandoned CWs by Japan in China. As a result of the joint efforts by China and Japan, some progress has been made in the excavation and recovery of the JACWs and in the preparation for their destruction. But undeniably, up to date, not a single item of the JACWs has been destroyed. Furthermore, another accident recently happened in Taiyuan City of China caused by the leaking JACWs, which once again highlights the urgency of early solution of the JACW issue. We urge the Japanese side to fulfil earnestly its obligation under the Convention and step up its inputs in this regard, so as to destroy all the JACWs at an earlier date. The Chinese side will continue to provide appropriate cooperation. And we welcome the Secretariat's continued positive role in this process.
Thirdly, the relationship between non-proliferation and CW destruction should be handled properly. As CW destruction is the primary and core task of the OPCW, it is a priority to guarantee adequate resource for its verification. On this basis, we also support the gradual refinement, according to the changing situations, of the mechanism of industry verification, with a view to advancing the objective of non-proliferation. Concerning the options for improving the OCPF declaration, the Second Review Conference has laid down the following principles: (1) they shouldn't lead to any additional declaration obligations; (2) they should be strictly in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Verification Annex of the Convention; (3) they should be subject to the consideration of the EC. These principles should be adhered to in the coming consultations and implementation. We have noted the relevant documents issued recently by the TS, and believe that as regards such a brand-new and important matter, States Parties should be allowed ample time for review and consultation, so as to ensure that the relevant initiatives will be effectively, smoothly and successfully implemented.
Fourthly, efforts should be made to promote more actively international exchange and cooperation in chemical industry amongst States Parties. To create favourable conditions for the development of chemical industry in the interests of States Parties' economic growth is an important object of the Convention. To foster international cooperation within the framework of the Convention is not entirely contrary to achieving the goal of non-proliferation. We believe that the fostering of international cooperation in chemical industry in the interests of States Parties' economic growth will serve to promote the universality of the Convention, improve States Parties' regulatory mechanism, raise the quality of the Convention's comprehensive implementation and benefit the realization of the goal of non-proliferation. We wish to call on all the parties, on the basis of what's been done so far, to continue to take a constructive and pragmatic approach and work on reaching more common understandings, so that a greater number of concrete measures can be produced sooner rather than later, which will be beneficial to the international cooperation of the developing countries, and to the effective implementation of Article XI of the Convention.
Last May, the Director-General, H. E. Mr. Rogelio Pfirter, paid a successful visit to China. And the Chinese government, together with the OPCW, also successfully hosted in Beijing the Training Course for Asia on Protection against Chemical Weapons. These activities served to boost greatly China's cooperation with the OPCW. I would like to reaffirm here that China will as always firmly support the work of the Secretariat, and commit itself to promotion of achieving the objects and purpose of the Convention through concrete actions.
On May 12 this year, an earthquake of grade-8 on the Richter scale had struck Sichuan and the neighbouring provinces in China, causing untold casualties and damages. Following the quake, many governments, including those represented by delegates here, as well as the OPCW, expressed promptly condolences and sympathy to China, and provided a large amount of valuable aid. I wish to take this opportunity to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, sincere gratitude to you all. I am convinced that with the great help of the international community, the Chinese government and people will be able to overcome the disaster and do an excellent job in the relief efforts.
In closing, I wish this EC session a full success.