Statement of the Delegation of China At the 61st Session of the OPCW Executive Council
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your assumption of the Chair of the Council. I am convinced that with your rich diplomatic experience and wisdom, you are sure to guide the Council in the forthcoming year to new successes. The Chinese delegation is ready to support and assist you actively in your work. Here, I wish also to express our appreciation for the excellent work done by your predecessor Ambassador Lomonaco Tonda from Mexico.
We also wish to thank H.E. Director-General Pfirter for the comprehensive report he has delivered. During the term of office of H.E. Pfirter as Director-General, the implementation of the Convention has been well on course and its universality remarkably enhanced, the OPCW enjoys an ever higher standing in the field of international arms control, and cooperation with China has been agreeable and very effective. China highly appreciates the positive contribution made by H.E. Pfirter.
At the same time, as we all know, the in-coming Director-General H.E. Üzümcü will take office on 25 July. I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to welcome him to join us. China believes that with his abundant diplomatic experience and outstanding leadership skills, he will certainly ensure that the OPCW Secretariat continue to play a constructive role in implementing the Convention. China will give its full support in his work and looks forward to continuing the agreeable, effective and all-round cooperation with him and the Secretariat.
Now, I would like to set forth China’s position in connection with the agenda items.
Firstly, positive efforts should be made to facilitate the process of chemical weapons destruction. The total destruction of all chemical weapons, including ACWs, by the deadline prescribed in the Convention is a core provision of the Convention. It constitutes an international legal obligation that must be fulfilled by the possessor States and the Abandoning States, and it is also a task at hand for the OPCW that demands the highest priority and urgency. With joint efforts by possessor States and other parties, considerable progress has been achieved in the overall process of chemical weapons destruction. However, with the final destruction deadline prescribed in the Convention fast approaching, the present rate of progress apparently lags far behind the requirement of the Convention. China deems that in the present situation, the countries concerned should manisfest, to the greatest extent possible, their good faith for earnestly fulfilling their obligations under the Convention. They should increase and expand the size of their input for destruction, and provide all necessary support to ensure the completion of CW destruction on time. The Council on its part should follow more closely the CW destruction process, and continue to focus its work in the near future and for some time to come on the identification of ways to assist possessor States to complete their destruction expeditiously. In case of any eventual failure to meet the deadline, the OPCW should strive to ensure the integrity and credibility of the Convention and minimise any negative impact, while taking into account the political, legal, procedural and other aspects of the issue.
Secondly, there should be increased input to bring about the complete and safe disposal of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China by the deadline as prescribed by the Convention. In recent years, there have been repeated incidents of deaths and injuries as well as environmental pollution caused by Japanese ACWs, which pose a real threat to the life and property of the Chinese people. Therefore, the destruction of such ACWs demands no less urgency than CW stockpiles. With assistance from China, some progress has been made towards the disposal of Japanese ACWs, but not one single piece of them has yet been destroyed. As the final destruction deadline set by the Convention draws ever closer, China is most concerned and alarmed at the serious delay against the timeline for the destruction of Japanese ACWs. China hopes that Japan will, attaching due importance to the gravity and urgency of this work, increase its human and financial input, ensure the provision of technical support, accelerate the rate of progress, and put forward a general plan for destruction and a detailed annual plan for destruction which conform to the requirements of the Convention, so that destruction may start at an early date and complete by the deadline prescribed in the Convention.
Now, the shipment of the Nanjing mobile destruction facility has arrived at the site. We look forward to its early start of operation. With the concerted efforts by China, Japan and the Secretariat, the destruction verification plan and the facility arrangement for the Japanese ACW mobile destruction facility have been agreed upon by the three sides and submitted to this session of the Council for approval. The timely adoption and taking effect of these two documents will be crucial for the conduct of effective monitoring and verification under the Convention in the course of Japanese ACW disposal. We hope that they will receive positive consideration and support from all sides.
Thirdly, industry verification related endeavours should be fostered in an equitable, balanced and effective manner. Industry verification is an important tool for improving mutual trust amongst States Parties and for non-proliferation of chemical weapons. On the issue of enhancing OCPF declarations, since no consensus has been reached in the on-going discussions, a serious evaluation should be undertaken and opinions from all quarters should be considered in an effort to deepen the discussion and continue consensus-building, and to search for a proper solution on that basis. China is ready to play a positive and constructive role together with other parties in this regard.
Fourthly, international cooperation in assistance and protection and in the field of chemical industry should be actively promoted. China appeals to all parties to attach importance to the work in this area, in particular, by giving more support to the relevant demands of developing countries. More resources should be devoted and effective steps should be taken to facilitate the full and effective implementation of Articles X and XI of the Convention.
China attaches great importance to and actively participates in international cooperation and assistance and has provided support within its abilities. In mid-July, 20 trainees from 19 countries will come to Beijing to take part in the assistance and protection training course organised jointly by China and the OPCW. We would like to thank the Secretariat for the support it has provided during the preparatory stage of the course and the States Parties concerned for their active participation. In addition, as a positive response to the call from the Secretariat concerning the Africa Programme, China has invited African States Parties to send personnel to China for training in specialised chemical industry fields. We are convinced that this programme will contribute to enhancing national capacities of African States Parties for the implementation of the Convention.
Fifthly, consultations should be better organised to improve the Council’s efficiency. The Executive Council, as a policy making organ of the OPCW, plays an important role in the course of the Convention’s implementation. China agrees that the work of the Council should be improved in order for it to be more efficient, and believes that better efficiency should aim at enhanced and full co-ordination among all parties on major issues and timely decision making. China calls upon the Council to engage in more substantive discussions through ways such as introducing a better setting for agendas, improving pre-session preparations and consultations, and giving full play to the role of facilitators.
China wishes to strengthen consultation and cooperation with you, the new Director-General, and all parties in meeting the challenges properly, and will make positive efforts for the full and effective implementation of the Convention.
Finally, I wish this session a complete success.
Thank you Mr Chairperson.