VII. Arms Control and Disarmament
After the end of the Cold War, a series of achievements were made in the field of international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. However, this momentum has been hampered by a host of negative developments in recent years. In the current situa-tion, it is vitally important to maintain the global strategic balance and stability and the legal system governing international arms control and disarmament. The existing legal system is an important component of the global collective security framework centered around the United Nations. The Chinese government is willing, together with the interna-tional community, to contribute to the maintenance of the legal system for international arms control and disarmament, and the advancement of the process of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
China has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thor-ough destruction of nuclear weapons. On the very first day it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China solemnly declared that at no time and under no circumstances would it be the first to use such weapons. Later, China undertook unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and has consistently urged all nu-clear-weapon states to enshrine these commitments in a legal form. China has always exercised utmost restraint on the development of nuclear weapons, and its nuclear arsenal is kept at the lowest level necessary for self-defense only. China holds that countries having the largest nuclear arsenals bear a special and primary responsibility toward nuclear disarmament, and that they should take the lead in drastically reducing their nuclear arsenals and destroy the reduced nu-clear weapons. China welcomes the new treaty signed by the US and Russia on the reduction of their offensive strategic weapons, and hopes that these two countries will adopt effective measures to en-sure the “verifiability” and “irreversibility” of nuclear disarmament, and continue to further the process of nuclear disarmament, so as to genuinely promote world peace and stability.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an important step taken in the process of nuclear disarmament. As one of the first countries to sign the Treaty, China has always actively participated in the work of the Preparatory Commission of the Treaty Organization, and earnestly carried out the preparatory work for the implementation of the Treaty in China. The Chinese government has submitted the Treaty to the NPC Standing Committee for examination and approval. Together with the international community, China is ready to work for the early entry into force of the Treaty. China maintains that the con-clusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) will help to accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and supports an early start of the negotiations on such a Treaty on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced work plan of the Conference on Disarmament (CD).
Chemical and Biological Disarmament
China has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thor-ough destruction of chemical weapons. As a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), China actively supports its purposes and objectives and has conscientiously and strictly fulfilled all its obligations under the Convention. China has set up a national author-ity for the implementation of the Convention, and submitted its initial declaration and all sorts of annual declarations in time. So far, China has accepted 55 inspections by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and has co-sponsored, together with the OPCW, several training courses and symposiums for inspectors.
Today, large quantities of chemical weapons abandoned by the Japa-nese invaders still remain on Chinese soil. China urges Japan to earnestly implement the obligations under the CWC for the destruc-tion of these weapons, and expedite the pace of the relevant work in accordance with the Memorandum on the Destruction of Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons in China between the governments of China and Japan, so as to commence as soon as possible the substan-tive part of the destruction process.
China has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough de-struction of biological weapons. China acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984, and has fully and conscien-tiously fulfilled its obligations under the Convention. Since 1987, China has, on an annual basis, provided the UN with information on confidence-building measures, in accordance with the decisions of the Review Conferences of the Convention.
China supports the enhancement of the effectiveness of the BWC in a comprehensive manner, and has actively participated in the work of the ad hoc group of the states parties to the Convention set up for the nego-tiation of a BWC protocol. China regrets that the protocol has not been reached as scheduled and that the Fifth Review Conference of the Convention has had to adjourn. China holds that the conclusion of a protocol with balanced contents and effective measures through multi-lateral negotiations remains the best way to enhance the effectiveness of the BWC. China is willing, together with all other parties concerned, to continue to explore measures along this line on the basis of the univer-sal participation of all countries and within a multilateral framework.
Missile Defense and Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space
China’s stand on the issue of missile defense is consistent and clear-cut. China understands the relevant countries’ concern over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. But, like many other countries, China holds that this issue should be resolved through political and diplomatic means, with the common efforts of the international community.
China regrets the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). It is China’s consistent view that maintaining the global stra-tegic stability and the international system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation is vitally important and in confor-mity with the fundamental interests of all countries. China hopes that the relevant countries will heed the opinions of the international community, and act prudently on the issue of missile defense. At the same time, China is willing to conduct constructive dialogue with all the parties involved, and make joint efforts to safeguard international peace and security.
China is concerned about certain countries’ joint research and devel-opment of theater missile defense (TMD) systems with a view to their deployment in the Northeast Asian region. This will lead to the prolif-eration of advanced missile technology and be detrimental to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. China resolutely opposes any country which provides Taiwan with TMD assistance or protection in any form.
Outer space belongs to all mankind, and the peaceful use of outer space is the common aspiration of all humanity. At present, outer space is faced with the danger of weaponization, and protection of outer space from weaponization and an arms race has become a very urgent and realistic issue. The international community should negoti-ate and conclude the necessary legal instrument as soon as possible to prohibit the deployment of weapons in outer space and the use or threat of use of force against objects in outer space, so as to ensure peace and tranquility therein. China holds that the Conference on Dis-armament in Geneva is the suitable place for negotiations on this matter. China has submitted several working papers to the Conference, putting forward its suggestions on the main points of a future interna-tional legal instrument. In June 2002, China, Russia and some other countries jointly submitted to the Conference a working paper titled Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (Draft), setting forth their concept on the general structure and concrete contents of such a document. The above-mentioned working paper has received favor-able responses from many countries. China hopes that the Conference will carry out substantive work on this issue at an early date, and start negotiating an international legal instrument, thus making positive ef-forts for the prevention of the weaponization of outer space and an arms race therein.
Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Means of Delivery
China has always been opposed to the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. It supports the international community’s active efforts of non-proliferation, and has made its own contributions in this area. China maintains that the efforts of non-proliferation should not be confined to non-proliferation itself and should also include the identification and resolution of its root causes. Establishing a fair and rational new international order and realizing the universal improve-ment of international relations are the fundamental way to eliminate the threat of WMD. Preventing terrorist organizations and other non-state entities from obtaining WMD is a common task confronting the international community. China is willing, together with the inter-national community, to make common efforts for the establishment of a fair, rational and effective multilateral non-proliferation regime based on the participation of all countries.
China is a State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nu-clear Weapons (NPT). It has always abided by its obligations under the Treaty, and pursues a policy of not advocating, not encouraging and not engaging in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and not helping other countries to develop nuclear weapons. China has also formulated three principles governing its nuclear exports: guarantees for peaceful use only, acceptance of the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and no re-transfer to the third country without prior approval of China. In order to strengthen its nuclear ex-port control mechanism, China joined the Zangger Committee in 1997, and has established and improved on its relevant domestic legal sys-tem. China promulgated, respectively in September 1997 and June 1998, the Regulations on the Control of Nuclear Export and Regula-tions on the Control of Nuclear Dual-Use Items and Related Technologies Export, under which China exercises control over the export of materials and technologies included in the list of the Zang-ger Committee and the list of nuclear dual-use items and technologies currently in use internationally. These regulations stipulate that China’s nuclear exports shall be done exclusively by specialized com-panies designated by the government, that a licensing system shall be instituted for nuclear export, and that China shall not provide any assistance to any nuclear facility which is not under the IAEA safeguards. In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the IAEA safe-guard system and fulfill its own non-proliferation obligations, China formally notified the IAEA on March 28, 2002 that it had completed the domestic legal procedures necessary for the entry into force of the Protocol Additional to the Agreement Between China and IAEA for the Application of Safeguards in China, and that the Protocol became ef-fective for China on the same day. China was the first of the nuclear-weapon states to complete the above-mentioned procedures.
China is in favor of IAEA making its contributions to the protection against potential nuclear terrorist activities in accordance with pur-poses and principles of its Statute, and will provide appropriate assistance to the anti-terrorism activities of the Agency. Strengthening the physical protection of nuclear facilities and material is conducive to nuclear non-proliferation and prevention of nuclear terrorism. China has actively participated in the revision of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and is ready to make every effort to facilitate this process.
China strictly adheres to its obligations under the CWC and BWC, and will not in any way help or encourage any country to obtain chemical or biological weapons. China has consistently adopted a prudent and responsible attitude toward the export of chemicals or biological agents, as well as related production equipment and technologies. To ensure that exports of such material from China are not used for manufacturing chemical or biological weapons, the Chinese govern-ment has promulgated and implemented the Regulations of the PRC on the Administration of the Controlled Chemicals, and the detailed rules for its implementation, thereby placing the export of related ma-terial under stringent control. The Amendments to the Criminal Law of the PRC promulgated in December 2001 designates as criminal of-fenses such acts of endangering public security as using, illegally manufacturing, trafficking, transporting and stockpiling radioactive substances, toxic materials or infectious disease pathogens, and stipu-lates corresponding penalties for these acts. In order to further strengthen the export control of the chemicals and dual-use biological products and related technologies and equipment, the Chinese govern-ment promulgated in October 2002 the Measures on Export Control of Certain Chemicals and Related Equipment and Technologies (includ-ing its control list), the Regulations of the PRC on the Export Control of Dual-Use Biological Agents and Related Equipment and Technolo-gies (including its control list), and the newly revised Regulations of the PRC on the Administration of Arms Export.
In recent years, the question of missile proliferation has aroused ex-tensive concern in the international community. China also attaches great importance to this issue. The international community should, on the basis of such principles as non-discrimination and undiminished security for all countries, seek a solution to this issue through dialogue and cooperation, including exploring the possibility of establishing a new multilateral mechanism. China supports the United Nations in its efforts to play an important role in this field, and has actively partici-pated in the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Missiles. China adopts an open attitude toward the new proposals made by countries concerned, and has, with a constructive stance, participated in inter-national discussions on the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation and the Proposal on a Global System for Non-proliferation of Missile Technologies. With respect to the prevention of missile proliferation, the Chinese government has al-ways adopted a serious, conscientious and responsible attitude, has not helped any country to develop ballistic missiles that can be used to de-liver nuclear weapons, and has exercised strict control over the export of missiles and related material and technologies. In August 2002, the Chinese government formally promulgated the Regulations on the Ex-port Control of Missiles and Missile-Related Items and Technologies and its control list. This is a major measure taken by the Chinese gov-ernment to implement its policy of missile non-proliferation, further tightening control over the export of missiles and related material and technologies, and strengthening the administration of exports on a legal basis. In the future, China will, based on its own export control practice, continue to improve its legal system of export control. It is also willing to enhance exchanges and cooperation with all countries in this respect, actively participate in the discussions concerning the international non-proliferation mechanisms, and work for the final establishment of a fair, rational and effective international non-proliferation regime.
Small Arms and Anti-Personnel Landmines
China has always treated seriously the issue of illicit trafficking and excessive accumulation of small arms, and consistently taken a re-sponsible attitude toward the manufacture and transfer of such arms. China has also actively participated in the endeavors of the interna-tional community in this regard. With a constructive attitude, China attended the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in July 2001, and is taking actions to implement the Program of Action adopted at the Conference. China has actively participated in the negotiations of the Firearms Protocol to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes, making its contributions to the conclusion of the Protocol. China is positively considering signing the Protocol. Both the Law of the PRC on the Control of Firearms and the Regulations of the PRC on the Admini-stration of Arms Export have contained detailed stipulations on the manufacture, transportation, sales, equipment, and entry and exit con-trol of firearms and ammunition, put in place strict controls over the export of small arms and other military items, and laid out severe pen-alties for violations. In 2001, China launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate illegal firearms, in the course of which large quantities of illegal firearms were confiscated and destroyed.
Since its ratification of the Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1998, China has continued to carry out its commitment not to export anti-personnel landmines (APL) that are not in conformity with the standards set out in the Protocol, and has made considerable progress in other aspects of the implementation of the Protocol. The PLA has held a number of training courses on the Protocol. Relevant departments are now formulating a series of rules and standards in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol, in-cluding the state military standards related to the technical performance of APLs and marking of minefields.
China continues to promote domestic and international mine clearance efforts. China is now basically safe from landmine hazards on its own territory. In 2001, China donated large quantities of demining equip-ment to Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mozambique, Rwanda, Namibia and Angola. In 2002, it contributed more than US$ 3 million for in-ternational mine clearance cooperation, mainly in aid to the demining operations in Eritrea and Lebanon. Apart from providing the two countries with demining equipment, China has sent a group of mine clearance experts to Eritrea to give on-the-spot guidance.