Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the 58th Session of the Executive Council
(The Hague, 13 October 2009)
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to welcome you back to the chair of the Executive Council (EC). My delegation will offer its full cooperation to you and to other delegations, so as to help the session complete all its proceedings successfully.
I wish to thank the Direct-General (DG), H. E. Ambassador Pfirter, for his comprehensive work report and to express my appreciation for the important contributions which the DG and the Technical Secretariat under his leadership have made to the advancement of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I fully associate myself with the statement made by the Ambassador of Cuba, H. E. Mr. Oscar de los Reyes Ramos, on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China.
This EC session is the last of this year. Besides addressing such important issues as CW destruction and the 2010 Program and Budget, it is to take up the important historical task of submitting a recommendation to the Conference of States Parties on the candidature for the next DG. Now, please allow me to elaborate on my delegation’s views on some agenda items.
Firstly, the timely and complete CW destruction has vital implications on chemical disarmament, the core object of the Convention. It is the OPCW’s task of top priority and utmost urgency. Ever since the entry into force of the Convention, CW destruction has made considerable headway. The enormous efforts made by the possessor states in this regard deserve a positive appraisal. However, it is worrying that now that the final deadline of 2012 draws nearer and nearer, the OPCW would have to take on some tough and complex challenges, such as new extension request, difficulties in getting destruction started, or even the prospect of not completing destruction on time. To respond to those challenges properly and to avoid or diminish their potential negative impacts on the credibility and the effective implementation of the Convention are the direction in which all States Parties should work together. But more importantly, they represent the bounden obligations of all the CW possessor states. My delegation believes that the current focus of work should be to urge all possessor states to show a real sense of urgency, overcome their difficulties and intensify their inputs, so as to ensure the timely completion of their destruction.
Secondly, the early and complete elimination of the threat caused by Japanese ACWs for the purpose of ensuring human and environmental safety in China constitutes a core task of and a fundamental security guarantee by the Convention. Though the Convention has entered into force for over 12 years now, the destruction of Japanese ACWs has not yet even begun. The ACWs have caused human casualties from time to time. And the ecological environment has been constantly polluted and undermined by them. In fact, Japanese ACWs have proven to be a far graver threat in everyday life than other stockpiled CWs. Just a short while ago, an incident of casualties inflicted by Japanese ACWs recurred in China. The delaying in the disposal of Japanese ACWs has now become a bad flaw in the implementation of the Convention. Should this continue, it is bound to produce adverse effects on the Convention’s effectiveness and credibility. The destruction brooks no delay now. The Chinese side does not deny the progress made in the process, but is gravely concerned over the total lack of substantive progress in the destruction. The Chinese side urges the Japanese side to show a responsible attitude and honour its obligations earnestly, and to further step up its inputs and launch the destruction at an early date and complete it on time. My delegation evaluates highly and continues to support the Secretariat’s active role in the disposal process.
Thirdly, the distribution of verification resources is something that has direct implications on the full, effective, accurate and balanced implementation of the Convention’s provisions. States Parties should all follow strictly the requirements of the Convention and the relevant decisions of the Conference and adopt a serious and responsible approach in seeking a solution. At the 13th Session of the Conference, States Parties had arduous and repeated consultations and coordination before reaching a consensus on the issue of the distribution of industry verification resources. As a result, Decision C-13/DEC.5 stresses that the number of Article VI inspections shall be discussed within the consultations on the relevant Industry Cluster issues and shall be agreed by the States Parties as a matter of policy, taking into account budgetary and other relevant considerations; and that the number of Article VI inspections approved for the year 2009 is an exception and does not set a precedent. Those compromises were hard to come by. And the decision by the Conference ought to be respected and observed. It is regrettable that consultations on Industry Cluster issues, especially on OCPFs, are either to begin yet, or have yielded no result. Such being the case, the draft budget for next year has once again proposed to increase the total number of industry inspections, which will entirely focus on OCPFs. My delegation believes, however, that the proposals for the increase and the distribution have the lack of a sufficient and reasonable basis, and are unconvincing. Moreover, they do not reflect the spirit of the relevant Conference decision. My delegation holds that as long as all the parties abide by the provisions in the Convention on the hierarchy of risks pertaining to different types of facilities and, at the same time, follow the decision mentioned above, a proper solution will be found.
Recommending the candidature for the next DG is an important agenda item of this session. High hope is placed by all the parties on the EC successfully accomplishing the mission of selecting the best candidate. Under your active guidance, the selection process has been steadily moving ahead according to the “Road Map”. My delegation appreciates the large amount of work you performed in the inter-sessional period, and will continue to offer its full support and cooperation. My delegation hopes that this EC session will continue to uphold the principles of openness, transparency and democracy and work to build up a consensus, so that a candidate, who enjoys extensive support, will come out through consensus. Meanwhile, it is also my hope that before the next DG assumes office, States Parties will continue to support Ambassador Pfirter, in his work, and help to ensure the continuity of the Secretariat’s work in all aspects in the transitional period.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.