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China Strives to Curb Nuclear Proliferation
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By Li Genxin

China's peaceful development is an expression of its modernization-geared development blueprint and peace-orientated international strategy.

This is not only dictated by the nation's specific conditions but also mirrors the continuation of the traditional Chinese ideas that "peace comes first" and that "states should peacefully co-exist with each other while remaining different from each other" in the contemporary context. This tallies with the world's trend of peace and development.

The new security outlook has, therefore, been put forward on the basis of these new ideas.

It is of guiding significance to the Chinese diplomacy, combining factors of the national security, diplomatic approaches and the world security.

Prevention of nuclear proliferation is a vitally important component of the Chinese diplomacy. Guided by the new security outlook, China's anti-proliferation policy has served the country's security interest well and helped maintain regional and world peace, playing an increasingly important part in the international community's anti-proliferation efforts.

China's practice of and ideas about non-proliferation and tightening control on the export of sensitive technology and equipment has tested its new security outlook and helped enrich it.

In view of both domestic and world security situations and based on the new security outlook, which are characterized by mutual trust, equality, mutual benefit and co-operation, the Chinese Government released documents on May 26, 2004 and September 2, 2005.

Both "China's Non- Proliferation Policy and Related Export Control Mechanisms" and "China's Efforts in Arms Control, Disarmament and Anti-Proliferation" demonstrate China's anti-proliferation ideas.

China's anti-proliferation policy embodies the quintessence of its new security outlook. The Chinese Government is opposed to any form of nuclear proliferation. It refrains from supporting, encouraging and helping any country to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and is actively involved in international community's anti-proliferation bidding.

China holds that the root cause of the proliferation of WMD is some states' or non-state entities' need to use it as means to achieve their political goals. This is closely associated with the international and regional security environment.

Introduction of a new world order based on justice and fairness, as is required by the new security outlook, would help bring an end to regional conflicts, guarantee the interests of weak and small countries and disadvantaged groups. This, in turn, would diminish the desire to acquire WMD and it may ultimately stop WMD proliferation.

China also maintains that anti-proliferation bidding must have universal participation by all countries. The fairness, rationality and indiscriminate nature of anti-proliferation mechanisms must be guaranteed.

China suggests applying peaceful means to the anti-proliferation efforts, such as political and diplomatic approaches, dialogues and co-operations.

At the same time, the rights of individual countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must be safeguarded.

In the same manner, any country's proliferation efforts in the guise of peaceful application must be stopped.

China's implementation of anti-proliferation policy is reflected in the following ways:

First, the country has involved itself in bringing about a multi-lateral international anti-proliferation mechanism, pushing for the development and perfection of this mechanism, signing all international pacts related to anti-proliferation and joining the majority of relevant international organization.

The country's anti-proliferation efforts picked up speed in the late 1990s, which has a lot to do with the promotion of the new security outlook.

China attaches great importance to the role played by multi-national export-control mechanisms in anti-proliferation bidding. In June 2004 the country joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, exercising strict export control based on the organizations' principles and export-restriction lists.

In September 2004, the country formally submitted the application for joining the Missile Technology Control Regime. The country has also kept in touch with the Australian Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.

China is also engaged in bilateral exchanges and co-operation with Australia, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Britain, the United States and the European Union, learning from their anti-proliferation experiences.

The country signed a joint declaration with EU on non-proliferation and arms control issues in December 2004.

As one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China supports UN to play a key role in the field of anti-proliferation, believing that strengthening UN's authority and capability in this regard constitutes an important way to ultimately eliminate proliferation.

Second, China is involved in the efforts to resolve the issues of Iran and North Korea nuclear bidding questions.

China, as the immediate neighbor of North Korea , has long been pushing for the Korean Peninsula to denuclearize since the crisis, one of the thorniest questions in the world today, came to a head in 2002.

The country has played a constructive and indispensable role, so far presiding over four six-party talks on the issue, in which China, North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia took part.

In the fourth six-party talk in September 2005, a joint statement was issued in which all parties committed themselves to the principle that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized.

The significance of the talks has gone far beyond the nuclear issue itself and will have positive influences on bringing about security in the whole Northeast Asia.

On the issue of Iran's nuclear bidding, China believes diplomacy remains the best way to defuse the standoff.

Third, the country has been strengthening control on the export of sensitive technologies and equipment.

Since the mid-1990s, a complete set of laws and rules has been introduced, covering the export of nuclear, biological, chemical and missile technologies and related sensitive items, and also all kinds of military-purpose items.

The rules and regulations are supported by anti-proliferation institutions and have been greeted with co-operation across-the-board.

Clearly defined division of work, for instance, has been introduced between different organizations which all have a role to play in sensitive technology export control.

Take nuclear material or technology export for instance. It is regulated by the State Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence in association with relevant government departments. The export of dual-purpose (civilian and military) items is overseen by the Ministry of Commerce, together with relevant government agencies.

The export of chemicals is subject to the supervision of the State Development and Reform Commission and related government organizations.

In addition, rigorous implementation of the regulations and rules with regard to anti-proliferation efforts has helped a lot.

The author is the secretary-general of the China Armament Control and Disarmament Association.

(China Daily February 9, 2006)


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