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Statement of H. E. Mr. Geng Shuang, Head of the Chinese Delegation and Deputy Permanent Representative at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 75th Session of the UNGA

(From Chinese Mission to the United Nations)

2020/10/12

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, my congratulations to Your Excellency on your election as Chairman of the First Committee of the current session of the UN General Assembly. The Chinese delegation wishes to assure you and other delegations of its full support and cooperation to make this session of the committee a full success.

Mr. Chairman,

The global strategic security and arms control situation today is faced with the gravest challenge since the Cold War. To maintain its supremacy as the sole super power, the US has reverted to the Cold War mentality, hyped up major power competition and stoked major power confrontation. These hegemonic unilateral acts have posed the gravest threat to global strategic security and stability.

For the past years, to develop military capabilities without constraint, the US has continuously withdrawn from international treaties, sabotaging the multilateral and bilateral arms control and disarmament regime built up gradually after the WWII. The US is investing trillions of US dollars to modernize its nuclear Triad, developing and deploying low-yield nuclear weapons, and expanding the scope of nuclear deterrence. The US has also lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, and even discussed the resumption of nuclear tests. We urge the US to faithfully fulfill its special and primary responsibilities for nuclear disarmament, positively respond to Russia's appeal for the extension of the New START Treaty, and further substantially reduce its nuclear arsenal, so as to create conditions for other Nuclear Weapon States to join multilateral nuclear disarmament.

The unrestrained development and deployment of a global missile defense system by the US as well as its attempts to deploy land-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, not only pose threats to China's security, but also undermine regional peace and security and disrupt global strategic stability. China is gravely concerned and urges the US to stop relevant deployments. Should the US continue to go down this path, China will take forceful countermeasures in defense of its own national interests when necessary.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. At present, the US has gone to extremes to shift responsibilities for nuclear disarmament, exercise double standards in violation of international law on non-proliferation issues, and manipulate the peaceful use of nuclear energy for political purposes, putting all the three pillars of the NPT under unprecedented strain. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of NPT, China calls on all parties to take this as an opportunity to reaffirm the treaty obligations and commitments made in the outcome documents of previous review conferences, and work for progress on the three pillars of NPT in a balanced manner. address the differences and disputes constructively, so as to achieve pragmatic outcomes at the 10th Review Conference.

Recently the US named China as "the third largest nuclear power on earth", hyped up "nuclear arms race between the US, Russia and China" and proposed so-called "trilateral arms control negotiation". This is just a trick to shift the focus of the international community. The US intention is to find an excuse to shirk its own special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament, and seek a pretext to free its hands and gain absolute military supremacy.

China has pursued a nuclear strategy of self-defense, always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for its national security, and has never and will never take part in any nuclear arms race with any other country. Given the huge gap between the nuclear arsenals of China and those of the US and the Russian Federation, it is unfair, unreasonable and infeasible to expect China to join in any trilateral arms control negotiation. China will never participate in such a negotiation and will never accept any coercion or blackmail.

China's rejection of the so-called "trilateral arms control negotiation" does not mean that China evades its own responsibility for nuclear disarmament or refuses to participate in the global nuclear disarmament process. Ever since the first day of possessing nuclear weapons, China has been advocating the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China has declared the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and unconditionally commits itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States or Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. China is the only P5 country who makes such commitments. China firmly abides by its commitments on the moratorium of nuclear tests, and supports the development of the verification mechanism of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). China supports negotiation for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced program of work in accordance with the mandate contained in the Shannon Report, and supports the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification. China is ready to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issues related to strategic stability with all parties on the basis of mutual respect, and will continue its participation in the arms control process under the framework of the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament and the P5.

In the face of the increasingly complex and ominous international security landscape, the P5 should take proactive measures to manage differences, and work together to maintain global strategic stability. Since the Beijing Conference in January last year, the P5 have reached consensus on carrying out cooperation on strategic security issues including nuclear doctrines and policies, nuclear risk reduction, etc. China suggests that the P5 continue to strengthen dialogue on nuclear policies and doctrines, jointly reiterate that "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought", make a commitment not to target their nuclear weapons at any State, commit to the no-first-use of nuclear weapons unconditionally, and conclude legally binding international instruments on providing negative and positive security assurances to non-nuclear weapon States. We urge the US to abandon the policies of nuclear umbrella and nuclear sharing, withdraw all the nuclear weapons deployed overseas, stop the development and deployment of its global missile defense system, and play a due role in improving international and regional security environment.

Mr. Chairman,

The root cause of the current tensions related to the Iran nuclear issue is the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, re-imposition of illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran, and blocking other parties from fulfilling their obligations under the JCPOA. Having withdrawn from the JCPOA, the US has no right to trigger the Security Council snap-back mechanism, and its unilateral announcement on restoration of the UNSC sanctions against Iran has no legal validity whatsoever. It is imperative that all relevant parties resolve differences over the implementation of the JCPOA through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the Joint Commission focusing on restoring the balance of rights and obligations. China attaches high importance to the concerns of relevant parties over regional security issues, and advocates, on the premise of preserving the JCPOA, the establishment of an alternative multilateral dialogue platform with the purpose of building new consensus on maintaining peace and stability in the region.

The US bears the responsibility for the deadlock of the DPRK-US dialogue regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. China urges the US to show sincerity and respond with concrete actions to the DPRK's legitimate concerns over security and development, so as to bring the Peninsular nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue. China is committed to upholding the denuclearization, peace and stability of the Peninsula, and to resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation. China is firmly opposed to unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction beyond the mandates of the UNSC resolutions and to any attempt by forces outside the region to use the Peninsula issue as an excuse to beef up military deployment in the region. China will continue to play a constructive role in the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.

Mr. Chairman,

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has sounded the alarm on bio-security and highlighted the importance and urgency of strengthening global bio-security governance. In this connection, China wishes to make the following points. First, all parties should faithfully fulfill their due obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The international community is highly concerned with the US military's biological programs. We urge the US to act in an open, transparent and responsible manner and fully clarify its activities in numerous bio-labs overseas. Second, efforts should be made to resume negotiation for a verification protocol under BWC framework in order to put in place an effective international verification mechanism for the sake of safeguarding bio-security. We hope that such a decision can be made at next year's BWC Review Conference. We once again urge the US to stop impeding the resumption of negotiation. Third, it is necessary to set up a scientific advisory body within the framework of BWC and develop a voluntary code of conduct, in order to better regulate bio-research activities and promote the sound development of bio-technologies. Fourth, it is time to establish a fair and inclusive non-proliferation, export control and international cooperation regime under the framework of the BWC, remove discriminatory barriers, ensure developing countries' rights to the dividends of bio-technologies and jointly lift global bio-security to a new level.

As the only possessor of chemical weapon stockpile, the US should earnestly fulfill its obligations under the CWC and expedite the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile. In dealing with the Syrian chemical weapons issue, the provisions of CWC should be strictly observed and the authority of the Convention should be upheld. China strongly opposes political manipulation of the issue by a small number of countries for geopolitical purposes.

Mr. Chairman,

With the rapid development of digital economy, prominent risks associated with data security require global solutions. What is pressing now is to develop a set of international rules on data security that reflect the will and respect the interests of most countries on the basis of universal participation. China rejects attempts of the US and some other countries to politicize the issue of data security, elbow out countries with different views in the name of the so-called Clean Network program, and prey on enterprises of other countries under the pretext of security.

China has recently put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security with a view to addressing data security risks and challenges, safeguarding global data and supply chain security, and promoting digital economic development and cooperation. China's initiative calls on all states to oppose using ICT activities to impair other States' critical infrastructure or steal important data, oppose abusing ICT to conduct mass surveillance against other States, desist from requesting domestic companies to store data generated and obtained overseas in one's own territory, and ask ICT products and services providers not to install back-doors in their products and services. China's initiative aims to serve as a basis for international rules-making on data security, and is also a commitment of China to safeguarding global data security. China hopes that all parties could support this initiative, and we are open to good ideas and suggestions from all sides. China supports the work of the UN OEWG and UN GGE and hope that these processes will make further progress.

The current security situation in outer space is increasingly challenging. In particular, the US has been pursuing a strategy for dominance in space, blatantly termed outer space as a new war-fighting domain, and has even established an independent Space Force and the Space Command. The US also plans to deploy missile defense system in outer space. These US moves accelerate the militarization and weaponization of outer space and therefore are the most prominent factors affecting outer space security. China urges the US to stop impeding international arms control process on outer space, and join international efforts for negotiation and conclusion of an international legal instrument based on the draft PPWT proposed by China and Russia, so as to fundamentally safeguard lasting peace and common security in outer space.

The rapid development of the military application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) may give rise to security, humanitarian, legal and ethical concerns. Paying high attention to these issues, China is supportive of having in-depth international discussions aimed at exploring effective measures to address the associated risks and ensuring that AI technology will benefit all mankind. China also supports continued in-depth discussions on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) within the framework of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), with the purpose of negotiating a legally-binding international instrument.

Mr. Chairman,

China acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on 6 July this year. This is a significant step taken by China in its active efforts to promote global arms trade governance and to safeguard international and regional peace and security. This testifies to China's sincerity in upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind. As a State Party to the ATT, China will faithfully fulfill its obligations, and work closely with all parties to promote the universality and effectiveness of the ATT. In this connection, China is ready to provide assistance to the developing countries within its capacity. China attaches great importance to African concerns about the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and supports the African Union's initiative of "Silencing the Guns in Africa". To this end, China has provided USD 1.4 million through the United Nations Peace and Development Fund in 2018 and 2019. Standing ready to carry out further cooperation with the AU and African countries in this regard, China also calls upon the international community to provide needed assistance to Africa. Meanwhile, we urge all countries to stop arms sales to non-state actors, and refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states through arms exports.

Mr. Chairman,

No matter how grave the international security situation may become, as long as we stay committed to upholding multilateralism, strengthening mutual trust and coordination centered on the UN, and building a community with a shared future for mankind, we would be able to make progress in international arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. China is ready to join hands with other members of the international community to make unremitting efforts towards this end.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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