Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday called on the international community to make "all-round and sound progress" in multilateral arms control and disarmament.
"We believe that in order to achieve the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons for a nuclear-weapon-free world, the process of nuclear disarmament must be advanced in real earnest," Yang said in his speech at a meeting of the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament.
After experiencing a long period of stagnation, the Conference on Disarmament has recently adopted its Program of Work and will soon proceed to substantive work on core issues, Yang said.
As the Conference will open a new page, "we should seriously review past experience and lessons and explore ways to ensure all-round and sound progress of multilateral arms control and disarmament," he said.
According to the top Chinese diplomat, the world should embrace a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and work for a harmonious and stable international and regional security environment.
He said countries should also uphold multilateralism, bringing into full play the role of the United Nations and other multilateral mechanisms, and consolidate and reinforce the existing multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.
"We should maintain international strategic balance and stability, and achieve security for all based on mutual respect and equal treatment of the legitimate security interests of all parties," he said, adding that countries should intensify dialogue and cooperation and commit to peaceful settlement of disputes.
Yang called on the United States and Russia, which own the largest nuclear arsenals in the world, to bear special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament.
"The two countries should continue to drastically reduce their nuclear arsenals so as to create necessary conditions for the eventual complete and thorough nuclear disarmament," he told the meeting.
China welcomes the ongoing nuclear disarmament negotiations between the two countries and hopes that they would reach a substantive agreement as scheduled, he said.
Yang also said that to achieve complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons for a nuclear-weapon-free world, the risk of nuclear weapon proliferation must be eliminated.
"It's important to resolve proliferation issues through political and diplomatic means and eradicate the root causes of nuclear weapon proliferation," he said.
He also called for the rejection of double standards in dealing with proliferation issues, stressing that the right of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories to peaceful use of nuclear energy should not be compromised under the excuse of non-proliferation.
Yang noted that outer space, the common asset of the entire mankind, is now facing the looming danger of weaponization.
"Credible and effective multilateral measures must be taken to forestall the weaponization and arms race in outer space," he said.
In his address, Yang also stressed that China had developed limited nuclear capabilities solely for the purpose of self-defense, and the country had faithfully abided by its commitment that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances.
Besides, China has never deployed nuclear weapons on foreign soil, and it has never participated in any form of nuclear arms race and nor will it ever do so.
In addition, Yang called for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation.
"We are ready to work with other relevant parties to actively promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, with a view to safeguarding international non-proliferation regime and maintaining regional peace and stability," he said.
Based in Geneva, the Conference on Disarmament is the world's single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. China joined the forum in 1980.
(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2009)