Upholding the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons for World Peace and Development
– Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Fu Cong, Head of the Chinese Delegation and Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, at the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT
August 2nd, New York
Your Excellency President,
Let me extend, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, my congratulations on your election to the presidency of the Conference. Let me also extend my congratulations to the newly-elected Chairs of the three Main Committees. I assure you my delegation’s full support to your work.
Having withstood the vicissitudes of the international landscape over the last 50-plus years, the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has become the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and a vital component of the post-war international security system.
Today, we live in a world where profound changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, both unseen in a century, are intertwined. The specter of Cold War mentality is there to stay, and the outdated approach to security based on military alliances has resurfaced. Driven by the obsession with so-called major-power strategic competition, the global strategic security environment continues to deteriorate, and risks of arms race and conflicts are growing. As a result, the international non-proliferation regime represented by the NPT is significantly strained and even faces new and the most severe challenges since the end of the Cold War.
It is incumbent on all of us to take this Review Conference as an opportunity to uphold the authority and effectiveness of the NPT, promote the three pillars of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a balanced manner, in a bid to breathe new life into the NPT in promoting world peace and development. To this end, China proposes the following:
First, we need to uphold the concept of common security in advancing international nuclear disarmament. China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and a nuclear strategy of self-defense, and undertakes not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. While firmly safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, China always keeps its nuclear capability at the minimum level required for safeguarding national security. We never compete with any country on the input, quantity or scale of its nuclear capability, nor do we participate in any form of nuclear arms race with any other country. With a high level of stability, consistency and predictability, China’s nuclear policy in itself is an important contribution to the international nuclear disarmament endeavor.
The principles of “maintaining global strategic stability” and “undiminished security for all” should be followed in the practices of nuclear disarmament. The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should further conduct significant and substantive reduction in their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner. This will create conditions for other nuclear-weapon States to join the nuclear disarmament process.
Nuclear-weapon States need to work together to reduce nuclear risks. On January 3rd this year, the leaders of China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and France issued a Joint Statement, stressing that a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought, and reaffirming that none of their nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State. This historic statement is helpful in enhancing mutual trust among major countries, preventing nuclear wars, and avoiding an arms race.
On that basis, the five nuclear-weapon States need to further strengthen communication on strategic stability, and conduct in-depth dialogue on reducing the role of nuclear weapons in their national security doctrines and on a broad range of issues, including missile defense, outer space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence. Nuclear-weapon States should also strengthen dialogue with non-nuclear-weapon States to enhance mutual understanding and support.
Second, we need to adhere to the direction of political settlement in addressing the challenges of nuclear-proliferation. All parties concerned should stay committed to bringing the JCPOA back on track at an early date through diplomatic negotiations, and reject the practices of pressuring with sanctions and threat of force. The U.S. should completely lift its relevant illegal sanctions on Iran and long-arm jurisdiction measures on third parties. On that basis, Iran should return to full compliance with its nuclear commitments.
The international community should reject double standards in the area of non-proliferation. The nuclear-powered submarine cooperation among the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia poses severe nuclear proliferation risks, in contravention of the object and purpose of the NPT. The review conference should conduct in-depth discussions on its implications in all aspects, including its challenges to the IAEA safeguards system, in order to firmly uphold the international non-proliferation regime.
The security situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complex and severe. We need to follow the dual track approach and the principle of phased and synchronized actions in advancing the process towards the establishment of a peace mechanism and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
The so-called nuclear sharing arrangements run counter to the provisions of the NPT and increase the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear conflicts. The United States should withdraw all its nuclear weapons from Europe and refrain from deploying nuclear weapons in any other region. The relevant non-nuclear-weapon States should earnestly fulfill their NPT obligations and their own commitments, stop instigating nuclear sharing or other forms of nuclear deterrence arrangements. Any attempt to replicate the NATO’s nuclear sharing model in the Asia-Pacific region would undermine regional strategic stability and would be firmly opposed by the countries in the region and, when necessary, face severe countermeasures.
The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is conducive to attaining the goal of nuclear non-proliferation. The international community should make every endeavor to support the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction. Nuclear-weapon States should sign and ratify all the relevant protocols to the nuclear-weapons-free zone treaties as early as possible, including the Central Asia Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons. China is willing to take the lead in signing the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.
Third, we need to commit to the fundamental goal of common development and promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The international community should support the IAEA in playing a central role, increase funding and technological support for developing countries, fully unleash the potential of nuclear energy and nuclear technology in addressing climate change and promoting green development, and contribute to faster implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. All parties should take this Review Conference as an opportunity to jointly map out a new blueprint for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
We must take a balanced approach towards non-proliferation and peaceful uses. Some countries seek to create divisions along ideological lines, stretch the concept of national security, abuse multilateral export control regime, and even attempt to create a new version of the Coordinating Committee for Export to Communist Countries, all in the name of non-proliferation. We must resolutely reject such practices, which go against the trend of the times, disrupt normal international cooperation, and harm the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
Nuclear safety and security is the lifeline of nuclear energy development and nuclear technology application. The peaceful uses of nuclear energy should not come at the expense of the natural environment and human health. Japan should seriously respond to the legitimate concerns of its neighbouring countries and the international community at large regarding the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, fully consult with the stakeholders and the relevant international agencies, in order to find an appropriate solution to dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water.
We humanity are living in an indivisible security community. Cold War mentality would only wreck the global peace framework. Hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace. And bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st-century. This April, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Security Initiative at the opening ceremony of the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia. This initiative highlights the necessity to stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, to giving due regard to the legitimate security concerns of all countries, to upholding the principle of indivisible security and building a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. Guided by this initiative, China is ready to join hands with all countries to continuously strengthen the universality, authority and effectiveness of the NPT, to inject stability and certainty into this era of turbulence and transformation, and make new contribution to world peace, stability and prosperity.
To conclude, I wish this conference a great success.
Thank you, Mr. President.