Address by Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei At the Opening Session of the First ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting On Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Beijing, 1 July 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, let me warmly welcome you to China for the first ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting on Non-proliferation and Disarmament. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to the governments of the United States and Singapore for joining the Chinese side in putting this meeting together.
The international security landscape is undergoing profound changes. The spreading global financial crisis has a far-reaching impact. Traditional and non-traditional security threats are intertwined. To preserve world peace and promote common development remains a major task for the international community.
Disarmament and non-proliferation is bedrock of the international and regional security. After years of unremitting efforts, the international community has put in place a disarmament and non-proliferation regime, which is guided by the Charter of the United Nations and based on a set of international treaties, including the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT), the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction(CWC) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological(Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction(BWC). We see growing international consensus on the goal of non-proliferation and greater efforts and cooperation in this regard. With the launch of another NPT review, many new initiatives have been proposed on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In this context, to set up a mechanism of ARF inter-sessional meeting on non-proliferation and disarmament and hold its first meeting is both timely and meaningful. This meeting provides a valuable opportunity to make a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the global picture of disarmament and non-proliferation, especially what the ARF can do to promote disarmament and non-proliferation.
China believes that as an important channel of security dialogue within the ARF framework, the inter-sessional meeting should build on the ARF's experience and best practice over the years in promoting mutual trust, mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation, inherit its incremental approach, and adopt such security concepts as respect for sovereignty, non-interference in others' internal affairs and dialogue on an equal footing. It should aim at seeking and expanding shared interests on the basis of seeking consensus through consultation while shelving differences. This is the way for the inter-sessional meeting to ensure stable, orderly and healthy development of the ARF and play a constructive role in maintaining peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
To this end, we hope this meeting will adopt the following principles:
First, stick to the goal of enhancing universal security. Genuine security is common security achieved through international cooperation. The fundamental aim of disarmament and non-proliferation is to create a global security environment of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. We hope this meeting will bring this goal closer.
Second, give overall consideration to disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of science and technology. Disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of science and technology are mutually supplementary and reinforcing objectives, and one should not be pursued at the expense of another. Only a balanced approach can ensure sustainable development of the relevant international processes.
Third, show mutual respect and tolerance while striving to build consensus. Only when each and every ARF member commits itself to constructive dialogue on an equal footing can we iron out differences and reach consensus as much as possible.
It is a great pleasure for China to host this inaugural inter-sessional meeting. I believe that with joint efforts of all sides, this meeting will further deepen our understanding about disarmament and non-proliferation issues, promote mutual understanding, expand common ground, and make constructive contribution to the international disarmament and non-proliferation process and security in the Asia-Pacific.
I wish this meeting a complete success.