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Statement by Ambassador Chen Xu, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the Seventy-Ninth Session of the Executive Council of the OPCW

(The Hague, 7th July 2015)

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the Executive Council (Council). The Chinese delegation will work closely with you, and with other delegations, in a joint effort to bring the deliberations of all the agenda items of this session to a successful conclusion. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the outgoing Chairman, the Permanent Representative of Uruguay, H.E. Ambassador Álvaro Moerzinger, for the excellent work which he has performed.

The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Director-General, H.E. Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu for his report, as well as all the Vice-Chairpersons of the Council for the briefings. In early June this year, the Director-General paid a successful visit to China, during which the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on many major issues concerning the implementation of the Convention. China is prepared to take this visit as an opportunity to continue to strengthen its cooperation with the Secretariat. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the Deputy Director-General, H.E. Ambassador Grace Asirwatham for her contributions which she made to international chemical disarmament during her term of office. I wish her all well in her future endeavours.

Mr. Chairman,

On April 21 this year, we met in Ieper, Belgium to commemorate the centenary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons (CW) in human history. Recalling the past and reflecting on the present, we realize profoundly that the achievements in chemical disarmament have not come by easily, and that the valuable experiences and lessons learned in the process ought to be treasured and preserved. Under the new circumstances, we should bear historical lessons in mind, cherish peace, and work to fulfill in earnest the historical responsibilities and legal obligations conferred to us by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by H. E. Ambassador Alireza Jahangiri, the Permanent Representative of Iran on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China. Now, please allow me to futher elaborate China's positions on a number of issues.

Firstly, we should continue to advance the destruction process of chemical weapons including chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China. The destruction of CWs is not only related to the core object of the Convention, but also the primary task of the OPCW for a long time to come. Though the progress made by CW Possessor States in this area is gratifying, we must be soberly conscious of the urgency and importance of the destruction of Abandoned Chemical Weapons (ACWs). This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. However, to date, Japanese ACWs are still posing a grave threat and harm to the lives and properties of the people and the ecological and environmental safety in China. The Japanese side fail to meet the deadline of the destruction of Japanese ACWs prescribed by the Convention and the relevant Council decision, and the pace of destruction has once again fallen behind the schedule contained in the destruction plan which was agreed at by China and Japan and approved by the OPCW policy-making organs. All this has to be a source of grave concern for China. From June 8 to 12 this year, a Council delegation led by you, Mr. Chairman, paid a second visit, to the Japanese ACW destruction facility to gain first-hand information on the historical context, the destruction progress and the status of the delay in the destruction concerning Japanese ACWs. I wish to take this opportunity to urge Japan to honor its obligations under the Convention and implement the destruction plan in good faith by increasing its inputs in the process, so as to complete the destruction as scheduled. The destruction of ACWs is an obligation of the Organization prescribed by the Convention. China hopes the Council will continue to pay attention on the subject and carry out deliberation. China also hopes that the Secretariat will continue to play its role in this regard and maintain adequate resources and capacity to that end, so as to undertake effective verification and monitoring. China will also continue to provide professional and high-standard assistance and support in the process.

Secondly, the issue involving the Syrian CWs should be properly resolved. Currently, the work of the elimination is proceeding steadily and yielding significant progress, which has been the result of the joint efforts of all the parties concerned, including the Syrian government. China hopes that the Syrian government and the Secretariat will maintain their close cooperation and clarify the pending issues regarding the Syrian CW declarations as soon as possible, with so as to dispel the concerns and worries of the international community. China is strongly opposed to the use of CWs by anyone under any circumstances, and is deeply concerned about the alleged chemical attacks in Syria. China supports the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) and hopes that they strictly follow their mandates and uphold in an objective, impartial, independent and professional spirit carry on with the task.

Thirdly, we should pay due attention to the concerns of the developing countries and further deepen international cooperation. As one of the four cornerstones of the Convention, international cooperation is crucial for the full and effective implementation of the Convention. We should take practical measures to achieve the full implementation of the relevant decision adopted by the Conference at its Sixteenth Session in 2011. We should go to lengths in exploring solutions to the removal of the barriers and the restrictions in the way of the transfer and trade of chemicals. The Secretariat should take full account of the conditions and needs of all states, especially of the developing nations, focus on capacity-building, strengthen its overall coordination and continue to optimize its international cooperation programs.

Fourthly, we should scientifically formulate a blueprint for the future development of the Organization. The future development and restructuring of this Organization touch upon the future and fate of the Convention, and involve a wide range of elements. It is normal to have different views and opinions. China has taken note of the vision paper "The OPCW in 2025: Ensuring a World Free of Chemical Weapons" circulated some time ago by the Secretariat, and expects all the parties to conduct in-depth and pragmatic discussions on it. China believes that relevant planning and restructuring moves should be fully discussed and elaborated from both the long-term and the progressive perspectives, with a view to improving the efficiency and capacity-building of the Organization. Meanwhile, States Parties should play a leading role in conducting extensive consultations, taking into account the interests and concerns of all sides, and drawing up an integrated concept and a strategic framework on the basis of consensus.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the years, with the active assistance of the Secretariat, States Parties have engaged in fruitful consultations and discussions on many outstanding implementation issues. Based on a broad consensus, a series of solutions have been shaped and endorsed by the policy-making organs of this Organization, thus laying a solid foundation for the successful implementation of the Convention. Not long ago, the Secretariat circulated a note on Technical Secretariat's procedure for handling cases of schedule 1 chemicals as unavoidable by-products. The Chinese delegation believes that since any issues regarding Schedule 1 chemical is highly sensitive and complex, it is necessary for all parties to have adequate reviews and deliberations before any decision is made and approved by the policy-making organs of this Organization. For this purpose, the Chinese delegation would like to propose that consultations on such subjects as this within the framework of the Council be conducted among all sides as soon as possible, with the object of coming up with a practicable solution on the basis of consensus. My delegation is ready to participate in relevant discussions.

Mr. Chairman,

China has been always committed to the object and purpose of the Convention, and is prepared to continue to play its vigorous role in the regional implementation. In May this year, China and the OPCW jointly hosted in Beijing the "Annual Meeting of National Authorities of States Parties in Asia", as well as the first regional meeting on education and outreach. On the occasions, in-depth discussions were held on such topics as the implementation legislation, team building and implementation awareness promotion, with a broad consensus reached and positive results yielded. In the coming September, China will host the first protection and assistance training course for Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, and will also continue to conduct training program for chemical engineering internships for African countries.

The Chinese delegation welcomes the attendance at this session by the Foreign Minister of Myanmar, H.E. Wunna Maung Lwin, as the head of his delegation, and welcomes as well Myanmar's ratification of the Convention. My delegation also commends that the Parliament of Angola has approved the instrument of accession and that the Republic of South Sudan will deposit its instrument of succession soon. We believe this development is an essential step ahead in the process of the universality of the Convention. On this occasion, China would like to call on other States not Parties to take the initiative to accede to the Convention.

The Chinese delegation requests the issuance of this statement as an official document of this session and its uploading onto the official OPCW website.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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