Chapter X Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

In recent years, some positive progress has been made in the fields of international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, but the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery and other issues have become major factors affecting the international security situation. The Chinese government maintains that the international community should safeguard the international regime of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, promote its universality and reinforce its effectiveness and authority; that it should persist in multilateralism and give full play to the role and influence of the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaty organs; that it should strive to meet the challenges brought about by the proliferation of WMD through political and diplomatic means on the basis of the existing international laws; and that it should address both the symptoms and root causes and adopt comprehensive measures, which means that it should take into consideration security threats such as proliferation of WMD while not neglecting the social and economic root causes of such threats.

Committed to the Non-Proliferation Efforts

The proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery is detrimental to world peace and security, so is it to China's own security. Non-proliferation is in the common interest of all countries, including China, and it has become an international consensus.

China attaches great importance to non-proliferation. It pursues a policy of not supporting, not encouraging and not assisting other countries to develop WMD. It resolutely opposes the proliferation of WMD and actively participates in the diplomatic efforts of the international community to deal with non-proliferation issues. The Chinese government published a white paper entitled China's Non-Proliferation Policy and Measures in December 2003.

China has put in place a comprehensive legal system for non-proliferation export control, covering the exports of nuclear, biological, chemical, missile and other sensitive items and technologies. It has adopted the international export control measures, including export registration system, end-user and end-use certification system, licensing system, list control method and "catch-all" principle, and has stipulated corresponding penalties for breaches of these laws and regulations. China's non-proliferation export control measures are basically in conformity with the current international practice.

The relevant departments in China have adopted and will continue to adopt forceful measures to ensure the implementation of the relevant regulations and laws. China has set up an inter-agency approval and coordination mechanism on export control and a national expert supporting system for export control. It has promulgated and implemented the Export Licensing Catalogue of Sensitive Items and Technologies. It is revising the related regulations on non-proliferation export control and the corresponding control lists, and has set up an emergency coordination mechanism in order to promptly and effectively handle proliferation contingencies. It imposes penalties on activities which violate the non-proliferation export control laws and regulations.

China has actively developed its relations with relevant multilateral export-control regimes. It has formally joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group and has applied for its accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime. China has established a dialogue mechanism with the Wassenaar Arrangement and kept contact with the Australia Group. It has also strengthened information exchanges and law-enforcement cooperation on non-proliferation with relevant countries.

China is in favor that the United Nations plays its due role in the non-proliferation field, and hopes that the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on non-proliferation will be implemented effectively. In October 2004, China submitted a report on Chinese government's implementation of the Resolution to the Security Council's Non-proliferation Commission. China takes an open attitude toward all proposals that may help safeguard and strengthen the international non-proliferation regime, and is ready to have in-depth discussions with other parties in this regard.

Promoting the International Arms Control and Disarmament Process

At present, the key to pushing forward the international arms control and disarmament process is to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. In August 2003, China announced that it accepted the amended mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) in the Five Ambassadors' Proposal, and is ready to participate in reaching consensus through consultation on the Five Ambassadors' Proposal on the Program of Work. It hopes that the other parties concerned would give positive response.

China supports the Conference on Disarmament in its efforts to start substantive work on the following four topics: nuclear disarmament, the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states, and prevention of an arms race in outer space.

China consistently stands for complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. It always pursues a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, and undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China did not and will never engage in a nuclear arms race with any other country. It supports the international community in its efforts to start substantive discussions on nuclear disarmament.

The FMCT is of great significance to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and facilitating the nuclear disarmament process. China supports an early conclusion of the treaty through negotiations.

In the current situation, the importance and urgency of providing security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states has become more prominent. China supports the negotiation and conclusion of an international legally binding instrument on this issue. China is the only country among the five nuclear weapon states to commit itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China appeals to the four other nuclear weapon states to make the same commitment.

Outer space is the common property of mankind. China hopes that the international community would take action as soon as possible to conclude an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of and arms race in outer space through negotiations, to ensure the peaceful use of outer space.

China favors discussions on and settlement of issues such as "terrorism and WMD," "radioactive weapons" and "observance of international treaties on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation" within multilateral arms control framework.

In the other international multilateral arms control processes, China has continued to play a constructive role. It has taken an active part in the multilateral efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), thus assuming a positive role in maintaining and pushing forward the multilateral arms-control process in the biological field. China supports the efforts of the ASEAN countries, the Central Asian countries and other neighboring countries to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones and has reached agreement in principle with the ASEAN countries on the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, and participated in the consultations between the five nuclear weapon states and the Central Asian countries on the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its protocol. It also participated in the First (Disarmament) Committee sessions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Disarmament Commission meetings, the preparatory committee sessions for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the sessions of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and its first review conference.

Fulfilling International Arms Control and Disarmament Obligations

China conscientiously honors the NPT, consistently stands for maintaining its authority and promoting its universality.

China supports and participates in the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). China was the first among the five nuclear weapon states to have 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.

The Chinese government firmly upholds the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and supports its early entry into force. Before the treaty becomes effective, China will stay committed to the moratorium on nuclear testing. China attaches great importance to the work of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and supports and takes part in its work.

China continues to earnestly fulfill its obligations under the CWC, and received 11 inspections by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2003. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has started to implement China's obligations under the Convention, and the Macao Special Administrative Region has stepped up the relevant preparatory work. In the same year, China continued to submit report to the United Nations on its confidence-building measures in accordance with the BWC.

Today, large quantities of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan remain on Chinese soil, which pose a grave threat to the lives and property of the Chinese people and to the ecological environment. China urges Japan to earnestly fulfill its obligations under the CWC for the destruction of these weapons, and commence as soon as possible the substantive destruction process in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Japan on the Destruction of the Chemical Weapons Abandoned by Japan in China.

Participating in Humanitarian Efforts in the Arms Control Field

China supports the leading role played by the United Nations in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW), and attaches great importance to and conscientiously implements the Program of Action adopted at the UN Conference on SALW. It supports the negotiation and conclusion of an international instrument on identifying and tracing illicit SALW, and participates in the negotiations with a constructive attitude. China signed the Firearms Protocol in 2002, and is now making preparations for the ratification of the protocol.

The Chinese government continues to support and take part in the work of the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and has contributed to the progress made so far in the work. Having ratified the amendment to Article 1 of the Convention, China is now preparing to ratify the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War.

China attaches great importance to the solution of the humanitarian issue arising from landmines. While strictly implementing the Amended Landmine Protocol, it is strengthening communications and exchanges with the states parties to the Ottawa Convention. China continues to provide assistance in international mine clearance efforts. After providing assistance to Eritrea in this regard in 2002, China sent another group of mine clearance experts to that country to give guidance on de-mining operations in 2003, trained a total of 120 mine clearance specialists for Eritrea, and provided Eritrea with de-mining equipment. China joined the Mine Action Supporting Group, headquartered in New York, in 2003. China and the Australian Network of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) co-sponsored the Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation Workshop in Kunming, Yunnan Province, in April 2004.