Speech by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui at the Fifth China-US Conference on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I would like to extend my congratulations on the convocation of the Fifth China-US Conference on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, and my welcome to all the participants.
The international situation in the new century has remained stable on the whole. Cooperation among major countries is getting increasingly stronger, countries pay more attention to exchanges and cooperation in security issues, and various regional security mechanisms display unprecedented dynamism.
However, uncertain and unpredictable factors are increasing in the international security arena, and quite a few potential dangers and challenges still linger on. They are mainly evident in the following three aspects:
Firstly, non-traditional security issues have become increasingly acute. Terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), transnational crimes, epidemics and other threats have taken on an upward spiral, posing grave challenges to international peace and security.
Secondly, regional conflicts and other traditional security problems remain a threat to peace, stability and development of many countries. Due to historical reasons, disputes and conflicts in some regions over ethnic, religious, territorial and other issues remain frequent. From the Arab-Israeli conflict to the Kosovo crisis, from Afghanistan to the Great Lakes region in Africa, from Haiti to Darfur in Sudan--the vast majority of innocent civilians were once and again thrown into the plight of wars and turmoil.
Thirdly, hunger, poverty and social injustice are major elements affecting regional security and stability. As globalization sweeps on, the gap between North and South is growing, and many countries are being marginalized. World Bank development reports show that presently, nearly half of the global population live on less than two dollars a day, 1.2 billion of whom live on half of that. These problems, if unsettled, will become lasting threats to security.
Presently, what is of special importance is for countries to abandon the mentality that seeks security advantages with military might. Instead, they should embrace a new security concept with mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation at the core. When interests of all countries become increasingly intertwined, it is difficult for any country to attain its security goals single-handedly. We need the rule of law in global affairs and more democracy in international relations. Greater multilateral cooperation and the leading role of the UN in safeguarding world peace and security help us to cope effectively with security threats and maintain common interests.
It is necessary for the international community to adopt effective measures to help low-income developing countries to revitalize their economies and rid themselves of poverty so as to uproot the causes of conflicts and wars.
The development of mankind is a process of mutual learning and assimilation. Respect for diversity and more tolerance for different ethnics, religions and values will help increase the understanding and harmony among all peoples and to achieve global security and stability.
In view of the significant impact of multilateral arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation efforts on the future trend of international security, China is of the view that priority should be given to the following three areas:
First, resolutely maintaining the international treaty regime on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. Through years of evolution, the system has emerged as an important component of the global security order, contributing in a significant way to world peace and stability and adding needed predictability to the evolution of international security situation. As such, it is now imperative to keep the regime in place.
Second, continuously pushing forward the on-going process of multilateral arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. It is important to urge the Conference on Disarmament to look into, as soon as possible, such substantive topics as " Fissile Material Cut- off Treaty( FMCT)", " prevention of arms race in the outer space" and " nuclear disarmament". It is also absolutely necessary to debate on and deal with new issues, such as " terrorism and WMDs", " radioactive weapons" and " observing international treaties on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation". The Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be held next year is essential for furthering the process of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. We should, therefore, do our utmost to ensure its success.
Third, constantly improving the international nonproliferation regime. With the spread of WMDs and their means of delivery, as well as their possible accessibility and usage by terrorists, international peace and security have been confronted with more grave and realistic threats. It is therefore important for countries to work more closely together to meet these challenges, while constantly strengthening and upgrading the international nonproliferation regime. The purpose of nonproliferation is precisely to maintain and promote peace and security in regions and around the world. In respect of nonproliferation issues, we should seek solutions through political and diplomatic channels on the basis of the existing international law.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the US share broad interests and shoulder increasingly important responsibilities in international affairs. With great emphasis on its relationship with the US, China consistently views and approaches the relationship from a strategic plane and with a long-term vision.
The current China-US relationship has sustained a sound developmental momentum. The two countries have maintained frequent top-level exchanges and communication and our two-way trade has surged. The United States has remained China' s second largest trading partner since 1996, while China has risen to the sixth largest export market of the US since last year.
There has been considerable progress in many areas of cooperation between China and the US. The fourth round of counter-terrorism consultation was held in Washington last month, during which the two sides exchanged views on their respective experiences and assessments of domestic, regional and international counter-terrorism efforts. Cooperation has also enhanced on combating transnational crimes and illegal immigration.
On Iraq, China and the US have stayed in close consultation. China has played a positive and constructive role in facilitating the recent adoption of a new Security Council resolution on Iraq.
The two countries have also worked closely in resolving the DPRK nuclear issue. At the third round of the six-party talks held last month, all parties concerned have reached new consensus and agreed to take new steps towards the ultimate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
China and the US have productive cooperation in arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. The two sides have successfully held three rounds of consultations on strategic security, multilateral arms control and nonproliferation at the Undersecretary of State/Vice Foreign Minister level since the establishment of the mechanism in 2002, through which they have had in-depth and practical exchange of views on an array of major issues concerning international security and arms control. The two countries have also held close consultations on safeguarding the multilateral process of biological arms control, landmines and small arms and kept a good and cooperative momentum in intelligence-sharing of nonproliferation export control and law enforcement cooperation.
The Taiwan question bears on China' s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is where the core interest of its 1.3 billion people lies. For our bilateral relations to progress in a healthy and smooth manner, there must be cautious handling of the Taiwan question, which is the most sensitive core issue in China-US relations. We hope that the United States will honor its commitments under the three communiqués and refrain from sending any wrong signals to the pro- independence forces in Taiwan, so as to avoid damages to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the development of China- US relations.
Under the present complicated and fluid international situation, a growing relationship between China and the United States not only serves the interests of our two countries and peoples, but also contributes to world peace, stability and development. China would like to work with the United States in taking our relations forward.
The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery and has been active in supporting international non-proliferation efforts. China has set up a complete system of laws and regulations on export control covering various kinds of sensitive technologies and items in nuclear, biological, chemical and missile fields, employed universally-practiced export control measures including the end user/use certificate, licensing system, control list and catch-all, and introduced clear-cut punishment measures against acts in breach of the relevant laws and regulations. The nonproliferation export control practice of China is basically in line with such mechanisms as MTCR and NSG and the practice of the US.
At present, the Chinese Government continues to take forceful measures to ensure effective implementation of the relevant laws and regulations. Hereby I wish to brief you on some major moves we have taken:
First, we have put in place an interagency contingency mechanism on nonproliferation with a view to dealing with emergent isolated proliferation cases expeditiously and effectively.
Second, we have formulated and promulgated the Catalogue of Sensitive Items and Technologies Subject to Export Licenses Administration.
Third, we are revising the non-proliferation export control regulations and their control lists to keep up with changed circumstances.
Fourth, we have penalized companies which violated our non-proliferation export controls in accordance with law. Recently we made public penalties on two such companies.
Fifth, we are actively engaging relevant multilateral export control regimes. We have joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group and are willing to sign up to the Missile Technology Control Regime. Besides, we have put in place a dialogue mechanism with the " Wassenaar Arrangement", and we remain in contact with the " Australia Group".
Sixth, we are carefully studying all proposals on maintaining and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime. We are ready to join in the relevant discussions in an open-minded approach.
In the past 25 years of reform and opening up, China has made great progress in its economic and social progress. However, it remains a populous country with a weak economic base and uneven development. We are and will remain a developing nation in the foreseeable future. It will take the hard and unrelenting work of several or even a dozen generations to ensure a happy and prosperous life for all Chinese people.
China' s development needs a peaceful and stable immediate and wider environment. The road of development we are going down is one of peaceful development. Whilst developing ourselves we will do our best to promote world peace, and our own development, in turn, will be an important contribution to world peace. China' s development will not pose any threat to any country. On the contrary, it would only serve the interests of the growth of the global economy, and be conducive to peace, stability and security of the world. We will unswervingly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and contribute our share to world peace and common development.
To conclude, may I wish this conference a crowning success.