Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Li Jinzhang at the 7th China - US Conference on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
(Beijing, 16 December 2009)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the 7th China-US Conference on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, warm congratulation to the convocation of the Conference and welcome to the American and Chinese delegates present at the Conference.
Last month, President Obama paid his first state visit to China. With concerted efforts of the two sides, the visit achieved positive results. Leaders of our two countries had indepth exchanges of views and reached important common understanding on China-US relations in the new era and major international, regional and global issues of mutual interest. In the Joint Statement, the two sides commit themselves once again to building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st century and express their willingness to take concrete actions to steadily build a partnership to address common challenges. This marks a clear positioning of China-US relations in the new situation and identifies direction for future growth of bilateral relationship. The Joint Statement also mentions cooperation between the two countries in the field of arms control and non-proliferation. To a certain extent, the present Conference is a concrete step to materialize our leaders’ relevant common understanding and the China-US Joint Statement.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Arms control and non-proliferation bear on international peace, security and stability. New developments have recently appeared in the field of arms control and non-proliferation. In promoting the multilateral arms control and non-proliferation process in a just and effective manner, we are faced with both rare opportunities and challenges that cannot be ignored. China and the US, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, share extensive common interests and broad cooperation prospects in dealing with regional and global security challenges and maintaining international peace and security. A partnership of mutual trust and sincere cooperation in the field of arms control and non-proliferation serves both the fundamental interests of our two countries and peace, security and stability of the whole world. In this connection, we need to make joint efforts in the following three areas:
First, consistently cultivate and deepen strategic mutual trust.
Strategic mutual trust is the precondition and foundation for a partnership. The past 30 years of China-US relations has proven that cooperation brings benefits to both countries, while confrontation hurts both sides. In the new century, mutual dependence and convergence of interest between China and the US have developed to an unprecedented level, where we are inextricably interconnected and interdependent. In order to further promote mutually beneficial cooperation and consolidate the basis for the growth of bilateral relationship, the two sides should work together to enhance strategic mutual trust. To be more specific, we need to view and handle our relationship with a strategic vision and from a long-term perspective beyond our differences in ideology or mode of development, respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, regard the other’s development with a rational, objective and calm mentality and prevent strategic misgivings and misperception from disturbing and undermining bilateral relations.
Second, unswervingly strengthen and expand practical cooperation.
Strengthened cooperation is an important component of partnership. Over years, our exchanges and collaboration in arms control and non-proliferation have gradually broadened and deepened along with growing bilateral relationship. The two sides should, within the current general framework of China-US relations, adopt a new vision towards relation between our two countries in the field of arms control and non-proliferation and actively promote relevant exchanges and cooperation.
The two countries may first of all jointly push the international community to take some concrete steps towards the ultimate goal of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, for example, an early entry-into-force of the CTBT, launch of the FMCT negotiation at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva at an early date and success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
We can also work together to effectively consolidate and strengthen international non-proliferation regime. This includes strengthening the relevant international legal system, enhancing the role of the UN Security Council and making joint efforts to promote the effectiveness and universality of relevant multinational non-proliferation export control regimes, thereby enhancing their authority and allowing them to play an even more active role in promoting international non-proliferation efforts.
A third area for such practical cooperation lies with the proper handling of non-proliferation hot spots, such as nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue, which will contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Middle East.
Furthermore, the two countries can jointly promote international cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy and support international discussions on effective ways to guarantee all countries’ legitimate right to peaceful use of nuclear energy while preventing nuclear proliferation at the same time.
A fifth area of possible cooperation is to jointly support the international effort to strengthen nuclear security and combat nuclear terrorism, including making effort to achieve positive results at the Nuclear Security Summit to be held next spring.
Additionally, our two countries can have dialogue and exchanges on promoting peaceful use of outer space, strengthening outer space security and cyber security and promote international cooperation in this regard.
Third, stick to the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit are the essence of a partnership. China and the US have different national conditions. It is unavoidable that we have some different opinions and concerns on some specific issues in the field of non-proliferation. It is important that we treat and handle our differences in a correct manner. We must realize that China and the US have the same overall objective in the non-proliferation field and that our common interest and consensus far exceed contradiction or difference. The two sides need to proceed from the strategic vision of building and developing a partnership, take seriously and accommodate each other concerns on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and seek proper ways to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation rather than confrontation. Only by so doing can our two countries realize healthy development of exchanges and cooperation in the non-proliferation field.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1998, at Conferences on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, Chinese and American government officials and scholars have had in-depth and candid exchanges of views on questions of mutual interest, which enhanced mutual understanding, strengthened mutual communication and played a useful role in promoting exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in the field of arms control and non-proliferation. I hope that delegates from both sides will continue to carry on, with open and pragmatic attitude, constructive dialogue on major arms control and non-proliferation issues and achieve positive results at this Conference.
I wish the Conference a complete success.