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Statement by Mr. HU Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the 2002 Session of the Conference on Disarmament


(March 28, 2002, Geneva)

Mr. President,

Please allow me to begin, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD).  I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to express our appreciation for the unremitting endeavors exerted by your predecessors, Messrs. Fisseha Yimer and Mohamed Tawfik.  

Mr. President,

Today I would like to focus on two issues : prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) and fissile material cut-off.

With regard to outer space, we have seen the following facts: During the 20 years since the"Star Wars Initiatives"was first unveiled, tremendous headway has been made in the sphere of military and weapon technologies related to outer space, and the weapons and weapon systems that were mere blueprints in the past are being turned into reality.  The ABM Treaty has been abolished unilaterally.  The missile defense  project, which is being pushed forward in all its aspects, has overtly incorporated the outer space weapon systems as an important component.  The relevant organizations and resource allocations have been optimized.

In the meantime, the operational concepts of"Space Control" and "Assuring the Superiority in Outer space" have been put forward, and both the doctrine on fighting wars in outer space and the command structure are firmly in place.  About a year ago, the first "Space War Exercise" simulated the use of anti-satellite weapons, strategic missile defense systems and land-based laser weapons to attack space targets.  The formation and improvement of military units for outer space are moving ahead.  While the development of missile defense system and the research on space weapons are surging forward in tandem, the plan to"control the space" has entered the stage of implementation.

The above-mentioned facts testify to the imminent danger of outer space weaponization, the consequences of which will not only trigger off a possible arms race in outer space, but also cause serious damage to the international disarmament process and the global strategic balance and stability.  Such a development definitely goes against the good will of the international community for the peaceful use of outer space.  Against this backdrop, the task of preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space stands out as a most pressing issue today.  As the sole multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum, the CD should face up this reality and take effective actions to meet this challenge.

The last 50 years have witnessed the process of research, deployment and reduction of nuclear weapons.  History tells us how tedious a task it has been to achieve nuclear disarmament when these weapons were already developed and deployed.  To avoid following the same disastrous path, we are duty-bound to take preventive measures immediately for the prevention of the weaponization of outer space-to nib the danger in the bud, so to speak-so that we would not have to be confronted with the same complex and thorny issues such as "outer space weapon disarmament" and "the non-proliferation of outer space weapons" in the future.

The events of September 11 prove once again that the security threat against the international community is more diversified and global, with its asymmetrical feature becoming increasingly predominant and that States are relying on each other more and more with regard to security.  Any country, no matter how powerful it is, has to participate in and strengthen its cooperation with others.  This is the only way to meet the various security challenges and to ensure comprehensive and long-lasting peace and security.  In view of the above and the worry about the danger of a future "Space Pearl Harbor", it has become ever more critical for all countries to strengthen their cooperation in a joint effort to forestall such a danger through concluding multilateral disarmament treaties that regulate the national behavior of countries.  Any attempt to solve this problem by military means, such as developing outer space weapons, would run counter to the trend of our times of peace and development and would not lead to a fundamental settlement of the issue.  I have heard the statements by the representatives of many countries on numerous occasions that the best way to strengthen international security is to conclude and reinforce the relevant multilateral legal regimes.  It is apparent that in a situation whereby the existing outer space legal instruments are a far cry from meeting the new challenges, it is only by negotiating and concluding legally-binding international instrument(s) to prohibit the weaponization of outer space and prevent an arms race in outer space can the interest and assets of all states in outer space be safeguarded on an equal footing and valuable resources be channeled towards the peaceful use of outer space.  In this regard, the choice to be made by major powers with space weapons capabilities is undoubtedly of paramount importance. A positive proposal on the moratorium of the deployment of weapons in outer space and on the prohibition of the weaponization of outer space was put forward by the Russian Federation at UNGA last year. China gives its full support to this proposal.

China's stance on outer space is consistent.  The CD should reestablish an Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS and start to negotiate towards concluding one or more legal instruments on the prohibition of the weaponization in outer space. In 1985, China submitted a working paper entitled "Basic Position on the Prevention of an arms race in Outer Space "(CD/579).  In 2000 and 2001, China submitted two working papers entitled "China's Position on and Suggestions for Ways to Address the Issue of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space at the Conference on Disarmament" (CD/1606) and "Possible Elements of the Future International Legal Instrument on the Prevention of the Weaponization of Outer Space"(CD/1645) respectively.  In the past, the CD used to have an Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS for 10 years in a row.  A lot of ideas, suggestions and proposals tabled by its member States parties in this period have provided us with rich resources for the launching of substantive work in this field and a working basis for the negotiation and ultimate conclusion of the relevant legal instrument(s) on this issue.  With regard to the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS, the Chinese delegation has already put forward its proposal, which is contained in the document CD/1576.  We also support the proposals on this issue tabled by the Group of 21 and the delegation of the Russian Federation, which are contained in the documents CD/1570 and CD/1644 respectively.

Mr. President,

China has always supported the conclusion of FMCT through negotiations, and believes that the conclusion of such a treaty will be of great significance in the promotion of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.  As early as March 1999, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, in delivering his address to the CD, made an appeal that"negotiations should be conducted as soon as possible for the conclusion of a universal and verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty,"and expressed his conviction that "such a treaty, once concluded, will be yet another major achievement after CTBT in the promotion of nuclear disarmament and prevention of nuclear proliferation".

Owing to a series of negative events known to all in the field of disarmament and arms control in recent years, the negotiation on FMCT has not yet started.  This is not what we wish to see.  I would like to take this opportunity to stress that China's position on FMCT has not changed.  We still favor an early start of the related negotiations in the CD, and intend to participate in the negotiation process at any time once the program of work of the CD is reached.

In view of the current situation of international security and arms control, the Chinese delegation is of the opinion that the core issues of the CD, including PAROS, fissile material cut-off, nuclear disarmament and negative security assurance (NSA), should be given equal importance and dealt with in a balanced way.  PAROS is just as important as fissile material cut-off, if not more.  As such, there is no reason for the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS not to begin its substantive work so as to reach an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space.  The delegation of the Russian Federation has put forward a good proposal on the program of work of the CD, which is contained in document CD/1644.  We expect the CD to start on this basis its substantive work concerning the above-mentioned issues as early as possible.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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