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H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Jun Delivered a Statement in the General Debate of the 16th session of the Conference of States Parties of the OPCW

The Conference of States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (hereafter referred as "the OPCW") opened its 16th session on 28th November 2011 in The Hague of the Netherlands. H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Jun, the Permanent Representative of China to the OPCW and head of the Chinese delegation, attended the meeting and delivered a statement in the general debate of the Conference. Ambassador Zhang stressed the importance of further strengthening multilateral regime of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation in the current international political and security situation. While commending the positive progress achieved in implementation of the Convention, Ambassador Zhang further pointed out that the OPCW is now confronted with such major challenges as how to seek a proper solution to issues relating to probable failure to meet the final extended deadline for the destruction of chemical weapons, and how to shape the orientation of its future development. He then elaborated Chinese positions on key issues including destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles, destruction of abandoned chemical weapons by Japan in China and future development of the OPCW.

Ambassador Zhang pointed out that complete destruction of chemical weapons within the final extended deadline prescribed by the Convention constitutes the core goal of the Convention and seeking a proper solution to the probable failure to meet the final extended deadline is the biggest challenge faced by the Organization. It is thus important that States Parties strictly abide by the provisions of the Convention, faithfully follow the rules of procedures of the Policy-Making Organs and the good tradition of consensus of the OPCW, and accommodate fully and completely sensible proposals from all States Parties through intensive and patient consultation and communication, so as to bridge the divergence and achieve common ground with a view to finding a solution that will preserve the solemnity of the core provisions and legal obligations under the Convention, promote the long-term development of the multilateral chemical disarmament process, and maintain the cooperation and unity among all Member States of the OPCW.

Ambassador Zhang stressed that destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the territory of China relates directly to the core objective and credibility of the Convention, and bears on the safety of life, property and environment of the Chinese people in the affected areas, therefore demands high attention from all members of the Organization. China is seriously concerned over the declaration made by Japan that it is unable to complete destruction within the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012. China urges Japan to fully recognise the urgency of the situation, take constructive and pragmatic attitude, show good faith for cooperation, and start at the earliest consultations with China on this subject, with a view to reaching an early agreement on multilateral and bilateral arrangements to address the related issues.

Ambassador Zhang articulated that any decision with regard to the future development of the OPCW should be made democratically through open and transparent discussion among States Parties. Until the completion of destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles, abandoned chemical weapons and old chemical weapons, chemical disarmament process shall continue to be the top priority task of the OPCW. The Budget for 2012 of the OPCW should continue to ensure adequate input for verification of destruction and reflect proper planning of work in key priority areas such as industry verification and international cooperation. Efforts to improve the industry verification regime should lay emphasis on how to enhance relevance and effectiveness of inspections while honouring the principles embedded in the Convention on the hierarchy of risks of facilities and geographic balance, rather than a mere large increase of Article VI inspections .

As members of the Chinese delegation, officials from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China also attended the Conference. Ms Yuen Siu Wai, Deputy Director-General of Trade and Industry of the Hong Kong SAR gave a presentation on the efforts made and measures taken by the government in Hong Kong SAR to implement the Convention.

A photo exhibition on Japanese ACWs is held by the Chinese delegation during this session of the Conference, which comprehensively and systematically presents the history and the current status of this issue, including the cooperation between China and Japan and the most up-to-date progress in the destruction process. The exhibition received high attention from delegates and promoted understandings on this critical issue.


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