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General Debate Statement by Ambassador Chen Xu, Head of the Chinese Delegation to the Third Review Conference On the Chemical Weapons Convention

The Hague, 8 April 2013


Mr Chairman,

Please allow me, first of all, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Third Review Conference on the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter "the Convention"). The Chinese delegation wishes to work in full cooperation with you and other delegations to make this Conference a success. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the H.E. Mrs. Nassima Baghli, Ambassador from Algeria and the Working Group under her leadership for the extensive preparatory work that has been done. I would also like to associate myself with the statement made by H.E. Mr. Akhondzadeh, the Iranian Foreign Minister on behalf of the NAM CWC States Parties and China.

Mr Chairman,

The world today is undergoing major and profound changes. On the one hand, with the growing tendency towards a multi-polar world, economic globalisation and information society, countries have never become so closely inter-related and inter-dependent as they are today. On the other hand, the world is far from being a tranquil place, as regional unrest and hot-spots become headlines one after another and conventional and non-conventional security problems mingle and intertwine. To safeguard collective peace, security and stability, to strengthen international cooperation, and to promote development for all – these common tasks facing the mankind are still pre-eminent topics in international relations.

Against this background, further strengthening the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation system, including the Convention, is of crucial importance for maintaining global security. In this context, bearing in mind the core provisions of the Convention, we should all make full use of the opportunity of this review conference to take stock of our past experiences in implementation and to seek common ground, make proper planning for the next stage of our work to promote a balanced and effective implementation of the Convention, in order to achieve its object and purpose at an early date.

Mr Chairman,

China has submitted to this Conference its national implementation report and three position papers, which give an overview of its work in implementation and its position on the issues concerned. Now I would like to further elaborate China's positions in connection with the agenda of the Conference:

1. Chemical disarmament has all along been the core objective of the Convention and the primary task of the OPCW. While appreciating the tremendous efforts made by the possessor States over the past 16 years in moving forward in the destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles, China believes that this does not mean that the process of chemical disarmament has come to an end. The States Parties concerned should make serious efforts in implementing the Conference decision on the final extended deadline and endeavour to complete their destruction within the established timeframes, thereby minimising any negative impact on the Convention caused by their failure to meet the final extended deadline. The OPCW should ensure adequate resources for verification and continue to carry out effective monitoring of the destruction process.

2. The safe and complete destruction at the earliest of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China (Japanese ACWs) is a matter which brooks no delay. Nearly 70 years after Japan's war of aggression against China and 16 years after the entry into force of the Convention, large quantities of Japanese ACWs are still, from time to time, causing serious human casualties and environmental damage in China. The destruction of Japanese ACWs relates directly to the realisation of the core objective of the Convention. China has expressed its regret over Japan's failure to complete the destruction of Japanese ACWs within the deadline as prescribed by the Convention. At the same time, China has made pragmatic, cooperative and constructive efforts and has reached agreement with Japan on multilateral and bilateral arrangements for the future destruction of Japanese ACWs, with the adoption at the 67th Session of the Council of a decision on future destruction of Japanese ACWs and the destruction plan jointly submitted by China and Japan.

Regrettably, the pace of destruction has now again fallen behind schedule as against the aforementioned destruction plan. While calling on the Third Review Conference to conduct a comprehensive review of this issue, China urges Japan to implement the said decision of the Council in good faith and increase its input with a view to completing the destruction at the earliest within the timeframe established in the destruction plan, and calls upon the policy-making organs of the OPCW and the Secretariat to continue supervising and facilitating the destruction process. In coordination with Japan, China proposes to invite members of the Council to visit Japanese ACW destruction facilities this year, in order to obtain firsthand information about progress made in the destruction process.

3. Efforts to improve and refine the industry verification regime should be made within the purview of the Convention. Improved industry verification-related measures should aim at making inspections more relevant and effective, avoiding extra burdens on States Parties, and achieving a rational allocation of verification resources for different types of industry facilities, taking into account equitable geographic distribution and in strict accordance with the provisions of the Convention, especially the provision on the risk hierarchy of facilities. For industry cluster consultations in the Council, priority should be given to resolving important outstanding issues such as the OCPF site-selection methodology, while issues for consideration that are outside the purview of the Convention should be introduced with caution.

4. The provisions of the Convention on protection, assistance and international cooperation are an important integral part for its full and effective implementation. Effective efforts to enhance the capacity of States Parties for CW protection, along with an appropriate increase of input in international cooperation and proactive endeavours for the implementation of relevant measures such as the Action Plan, will serve to motivate many developing States Parties and raise their level of implementation, while attracting more accessions to the Convention.

5. In planning for the future of the OPCW, we should focus on the full realisation of the object and purpose of the Convention. Pending the complete destruction of chemical weapons, chemical disarmament should remain the priority task in implementation. The OPCW should, therefore, preserve continuity in its work and continue to facilitate and supervise CW destruction vigorously and effectively. At the same time, it is important to promote other main pillars of the Convention such as industry verification, protection and assistance, and international cooperation, in a comprehensive and balanced manner.

Mr Chairman,

China has consistently supported the object and purpose of the Convention, with the fulfilment in good faith of all its obligations and the establishment of a sound system of laws and regulations for implementation. As the State Party with the largest number of declarable and inspectable Article VI facilities, China has submitted all kinds of declarations on time and received over 300 inspections of different types successfully. Despite difficulties caused by shortage of staff in the national implementation office and in terms of logistic support, China has offered to receive sequential inspections, contributing to considerable savings for the Secretariat. China has supported and actively participated in all efforts of the OPCW. As joint efforts with the OPCW to promote implementation, China has co-hosted many events in protection and assistance, international cooperation, and universality. Later this year, China will host, in cooperation with the OPCW, another training course in Beijing on CW protection and assistance, as well as a seminar on international cooperation, and will again offer training slots to chemical personnel from African States Parties.

Mr Chairman,

While our endeavours over the past 16 years have yielded fruitful results in multilateral chemical disarmament, ahead of us, the road to the full realisation of the object and purpose of the Convention is still long with arduous tasks. China is ready to work with all other parties in carrying forward the full implementation of the Convention, with a view to the early creation of a chemical weapon-free world.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chinese delegation requests that this statement be issued as an official document of this conference.

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