VI. Actively Promoting International
Arms Control and Disarmament

China has always held that common effort by all nations is necessary to realize disarmament and safeguard world peace. It has long stressed and supported international community's sustained efforts to promote arms control and disarmament. Since China was restored to its rightful seat in the United Nations in 1971, it has even more actively participated in international arms control and disarmament activities.

China conscientiously attends meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, the First Committee which considers issues on disarmament and international security and the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations. It sent highlevel delegations to the three UN special sessions on disarmament issues and to the UN Conference on the Relationship Between Disarmament and Development

China stresses and supports the conclusion of arms control and disarmament agreements and treaties through negotiation. Beginning in 1980, it has formally joined in the work of the Geneva Conference on Disarmament and has actively promoted negotiations on a wide variety of disarmament issues and the conclusion of relevant conventions.

China appreciates and supports disarmament activities proposed by the United Nations. In 1987, China, in cooperation with the United Nations, hosted the Regional Symposium on World Disarmament Campaign in Beijing. In response to United Nations' proposals, China carried out extensive publicity on disarmament issues and implemented a series of nationwide activities including an "International Peace Year" and a "Disarmament Decade." On many occasions it sent representatives to UN expert group meetings and symposiums on disarmament and international security issues, conscientiously and responsibly making its own contribution to the drafting of fair and rational research reports.

In international disarmament activities China has consistently given active support to reasonable disarmament proposals and initiatives by the Third World countries. In the early 1970s, China supported the proposal by Sri Lanka and other countries that the Indian Ocean be designated a Zone of Peace. In 1973, China signed the Additional Protocol II of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and in 1987 the relevant protocols of the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga). China has always respected and supported the demands of the countries concerned for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of voluntary consultation and agreement and in accordance with actual local circumstances. Given this consistent position, China welcomes the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty agreed upon by the African nations, and supports the proposal by relevant nations on the establishment of nuclear-free zones in the Korean Peninsula, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Correspondingly, China holds bilateral consultations with various nations on arms control and disarmament issues, either on regular or ad hoc basis.

China has acceded to a series of major international arms control and disarmament treaties and conventions, including the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, the Convention on Prohibition or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, the Antarctic Treaty, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof, and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. China is also signatory to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. China attaches great importance to the active role these international legal documents play in promoting international arms control and disarmament and has earnestly and conscientiously fulfilled its own obligations under the agreements. A Chinese delegation is currently actively participating in the negotiation on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Convention on Banning the Production of Fissile Materials for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices.

China is actively promoting the international arms control and disarmament process with both real actions on its own part and many realistic and reasonable proposals. As early as 1963, the Chinese government issued a statement calling for the complete, thorough, utter and resolute prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons. China has persistently exercised great restraint in the development of nuclear weapons and its nuclear arsenal has been very limited. It has developed nuclear weapons for self-defence, not as a threat to other countries. It has not joined and will not join in the nuclear arms race and has consistently maintained restraint over nuclear testing.

The Chinese government has from the beginning opposed nuclear blackmail and the nuclear deterrent policy. On October 16, 1964, the Chinese government offered a solemn proposal: a summit conference be held to discuss the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and that nuclear-weapon states commit themselves not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones or against each other. From the first day it gained nuclear weapons, China has solemnly undertaken not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstance and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China as a nuclear-weapon state never shies away from its due obligations, advocating that nuclear-weapon states should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and repeatedly proposing that nuclear-weapon states negotiate and conclude an international treaty on the no-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other. In January 1994, China formally presented a draft for the Treaty on the No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons to the United States, Russia, Britain, France and other countries, proposing that the five nuclear-weapon states hold first-round discussions on the treaty in Beijing as soon as possible. On April 5, 1995, China made another official statement, reiterating its unconditional provision of "negative security assurance" to all non-nuclear-weapon states, at the same time undertaking to provide these nations with "positive security assurance." These positions taken by China have won the support of a great many countries without nuclear weapons.

China advocates prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons as part of the process of eliminating such weapons. In May 1995, at the Conference on the Review and Extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, China supported the decision to indefinitely extend the treaty and the three decisions on the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, on enhancing the review process of the treaty and on the Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. China holds that the results of the conference accord with the interests of all the parties to the treaty and will help maintain world peace, security and stability. China believes that the indefinite extension of this treaty reaffirms the objectives of international cooperation in nuclear disarmament, the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the promotion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and should not be interpreted as permitting the nuclear-weapon states to retain possession of nuclear weapons forever.

During the cold war, China resolutely opposed the arms race between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, and stressed that the key to success in disarmament laid in the two superpowers taking real action on their own initiative. In 1978 at the First Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations, China proposed that, as the two superpowers had more nuclear and conventional arms than any other country, they must take the lead in disarmament. In 1982 at the Second Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations, China went a step further by putting forth a concrete proposal: The United States and the Soviet Union should stotesting, improving and producing nuclear weapons and should take the lead in drastically reducing their stockpiles of all types of nuclear weapons and means of delivery. China's proposal that the "two superpowers take the lead" met with uniform approval from the international community and has played an active role in promoting negotiations between the two nations, creating actual progress towards disarmament.

In an effort to step by step realize the objective of building a world free from nuclear weapons, in 1994 China put forward a complete, interrelated proposal for the nuclear disarmament process at the 49th Session of the UN General Assembly. All nuclear-weapon states should declare unconditionally that they will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and immediately begin negotiations towards a treaty to this effect; efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones should be supported and guarantees given not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones; a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty be negotiated and concluded no later than 1996; the major nuclear powers should implement existing nuclear disarmament treaties as scheduled and further substantially reduce their nuclear weapon stockpiles; a convention banning production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons be negotiated and concluded; a convention prohibiting all nuclear weapons be signed, whereby all nuclear-weapon states undertake to completely destroy existing stocks of nuclear weapons under effective international supervision; prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons while promoting nuclear disarmament process and international cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Nuclear disarmament and conventional disarmament have all along been the two priority tasks in the sphere of disarmament. In 1986, China presented two proposals on nuclear and conventional disarmament for the first time at the UN General Assembly, pointing out that the United States and the Soviet Union had special responsibilities both for nuclear and conventional disarmament. Subsequently, for five years China had presented these two proposals to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, and they had been adopted by consensus. This action on China's part played an important role in generating real progress in nuclear and conventional disarmament in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

China opposes the arms race in outer space. Beginning in 1984, it has on numerous occasions proposed to the UN General Assembly draft resolutions on preventing such arms race. China maintains that outer space belongs to all mankind and should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. No country should develop any kind of weapon to be used in outer space: outer space should be kept "weapon free."

In recent years, the issue of transparency in armaments has attracted a great deal of attention in all countries. In 1991, China submitted a working paper to the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations entitled "Basic Positions on Objective Information on Military Matters," presenting an overview of China's position: Transparency in armaments is aimed at advancing peace, security and stability for every country and region and the entire world; accordingly the fundamental principle that the security of individual states should not be compromised should be upheld. The specific measures for transparency should be decided on through equal consultations by all countries and be implemented on voluntary basis. These principles play an active role in promoting the implementation of proper and feasible transparency measures.

China attaches great importance to regional disarmament. In 1991, China submitted a working paper on regional disarmament to the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations containing a complete set of principles and positions. Bilateral, regional and multilateral disarmament should be mutually promoting. The creation of favourable external conditions and environment is absolutely necessary in the promotion of regional disarmament; countries outside the region, particularly those with the largest arsenals, should actively cooperate with and give energetic support to regional disarmament efforts. In considering regional disarmament issues, interregional differences in security environment and level of armament should be acknowledged and respected; in terms of measures to be taken or process to be followed there is no model applicable for all regions. China's position as above was adopted in the main in the Disarmament Commission's final document.

China is located in the Asian-Pacific region, and understandably is specially concerned with the security, stability, peace and development in this region. In 1994, China presented three basic objectives for the region's security: maintenance of stability and prosperity in China, safeguarding long-term peace and stability in its surrounding environment, and initiating dialogues and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equality. In cognizance of the Asian-Pacific region's particular circumstances, China holds that with regard to security and cooperation in the region the following principles and measures to realize them should be followed and adopted: On the basis of the Charter of the United Nations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence [mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence], establish a new mutual respect and friendly relationship between nations; with promoting common economic development as the objective, establish economic relations based on equality, mutual benefit and mutual cooperation; settle conflicts and disputes between nations within the region through consultation on the basis of the principle of equality and peaceful resolution, so as to step by step remove the factors of instability in the region; with the promotion of the region's peace and security as the purpose, adhere to the principle of arms only being used in defence and refrain from any form of arms race; and promote various forms of bilateral or multilateral dialogues and consultations on security issue so as to strengthen trust and understanding. China's position has won understanding and support from most of the Asian-Pacific countries.

China has consistently stressed friendly, good-neighbourly relations with adjacent countries and has actively promoted measures to establish bilateral trust. In recent years, China has held multi-level consultations with a number of neighbouring countries and has taken a series of practical actions. China and the former Soviet Union signed an Agreement on Principles Governing the Mutual Reduction of Military Forces and the Enhancement of Confidence in the Military Field in the Border Areas. The leading figures of China and Russia issued a joint statement "on no first use of nuclear weapons against each other and on not targeting their respective strategic nuclear weapons at each other." China and India concluded an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity Along the Line of Actual Control in the Border Areas. At the two nations' request, China issued a statement providing security guarantees to Ukraine and Kazakhstan.