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Statement by Mr Liu Zhixian,Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the General Debate of The Seventeenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties To The Chemical Weapons Convention

The Hague, 26 November 2012

Mr Chairperson,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the Chair of the Conference. The Chinese delegation wishes to cooperate fully with you and all other delegations to make this session a success. I would also like to express our appreciation to your predecessor H.E. the UK ambassador for the hard work he has done.

Mr Chairperson,

The world today is undergoing major and profound changes. Countries have never become so closely inter-related and inter-dependent as they are today. It has become a common aspiration in the international community to seek security through cooperation and to promote development in stability. At the same time, the world is far from being a tranquil place. Regional unrest and hot-spots become headlines one after another. Conventional and non-conventional security problems intertwine to the extent that no country is able to address them on its own. Only by joining hands in promoting security and development for all will the international community be able to respond effectively to complex and diverse security threats and global challenges. Therefore, further strengthening the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation system including the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter “the Convention”) is of crucial and practical importance for maintaining global security.

Over the past 15 years since the entry into force of the Convention, thanks to the joint efforts of States Parties and the Secretariat, impressive and outstanding achievement has been made in its implementation, as has been witnessed by all, with considerable progress in chemical weapons disarmament. Looking forward, however, there is still a long way to go in implementation with arduous tasks. It is imperative that CW stockpiles and Abandoned Chemical Weapons (ACWs) be completely destroyed at the earliest. National implementation measures need to be made comprehensive and robust. Capacity for CW protection needs to be improved. And international cooperation needs substantive promotion. We hope that we shall all take the Third Review Conference next year as a good opportunity to work for sound planning for the future development of the OPCW with a view to an early achievement of the object and purpose of the Convention.

Mr Chairperson,

The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by H.E. the ambassador of Iran on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China. Now, please allow me to further elaborate China’s positions.

1. Chemical disarmament remains the priority task of the OPCW. In the 15 years after the entry into force of the Convention, considerable efforts for CW destruction were made by possessor States, leading to a substantial reduction of CW stockpiles short of, however, the complete destruction of all stockpiles within the final extended deadline as prescribed by the Convention. At last session of the Conference, thanks to joint efforts from all sides, a solution was found to the enormous challenge in the face of the Convention posed by the probable failure to meet the said deadline. Nevertheless, the process of chemical disarmament should not end there. The relevant states parties should implement faithfully the relevant decision of the Conference and continue to make efforts with a view to completing their destruction at the earliest within the established timeframes, so as to minimise the negative impact on the Convention caused by their not meeting the final extended deadline. The OPCW should ensure the input of verification resources and the Secretariat should continue to exercise effective monitoring of the destruction process.

2. Complete destruction at the earliest of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China is a matter which brooks no delay. This issue relates critically to the core objective and credibility of the Convention and bears on the safety of life, property and environment of the Chinese people. To date, Japanese ACWs continue to cause casualties and thus pose an even higher realistic risk than CW stockpiles. We have noted that despite much effort by Japan to address this issue and some progress in the destruction process, the current status of destruction has noticeably fallen behind the timeframes established in the decision on future destruction of Japanese ACWs adopted by the Council last February (EC-67/DEC.6). China urges Japan to increase its input with a view to completing destruction at the earliest within the timeframes in compliance with the destruction plan. China will continue to attach importance to effective monitoring by the OPCW of the destruction process, and will take an active part in the tripartite consultations between China, Japan and the Secretariat for the optimisation of verification. The Conference of States Parties and the Review Conference should give full attention to and undertake timely reviews on any progress made in the destruction of Japanese ACWs. Pursuant to the above-mentioned Council decision, China would welcome visits in due time by members of the Council to destruction facilities to obtain firsthand information.

3. Universality of the Convention is a precondition for the achievement of its object and purpose. Fifteen years after the entry into force of the Convention, with the joint efforts of successive Director-Generals and States Parties, we have moved remarkably closer towards universality and have seen ever widening influence of the Convention. Always in support of the universality of the Convention, China is prepared to work alongside all other parties to further promote it in order to achieve the goal of a CW-free world at an early date.

4. Full implementation of Article X of the Convention will help enhance national capacities to respond to CW threat and chemical emergencies. China appreciates the numerous activities conducted by the Secretariat to promote capacity-building for chemical protection in States Parties. China makes its own contribution in various ways, such as financial donations to the OPCW, provision of protective equipment, and co-organisation of training courses and workshops. In May this year, China and the OPCW again jointly organised in Beijing a training course on assistance-and-protection, which yielded with good results.

5. International cooperation is one of the main pillars of the Convention and has a profound significance for its full and effective implementation. Over the years, the OPCW and the States Parties have made great efforts to foster international cooperation in the field of chemical industry, but there is still much to do to meet the practical needs of the great number of developing countries. China believes that the decision on international cooperation, the first of its kind, adopted by the Conference last year has invigorated efforts for the full and effective implementation of Article XI. It is important that we move to take real actions to put it into practice.

China actively supports and participates in international cooperation in the field of chemical industry. Last September, China and the OPCW organised jointly in China the first Asian workshop on Article XI. I wish to thank the Deputy Director-General for travelling to China to open and address this workshop, which served as a platform for Asian States Parties to exchange experiences and to learn from each other. China values highly the implementation of the African Programme and views this programme as an exemplary model for the OPCW’s international cooperation activities. China remains ready to offer training projects for chemical industry personnel in African States Parties and will continue to provide assistance within its capacities to improve capacity-building for national implementation in Africa.

6. Future development planning of the OPCW should be aimed at the full achievement of the object and purpose of the Convention. The OPCW should continue to take vigorous promotion and effective monitoring of chemical disarmament as its priority task, while carrying out, in a balanced manner, tasks relating to other main pillars of the Convention such as industry verification, protection and assistance, and international cooperation. In view of the fact that the future development of the Organisation is an issue that touches upon many factors, including political, legal, financial, institutional and staffing aspects, any decision in this regard should be made democratically though an open and transparent process on the basis of broad participation and in-depth deliberation among States Parties. The Third Review Conference to be held next spring will be an important event, at which China hopes that the future development of the OPCW will be planned. China appreciates the extensive work of the preparatory working group led by the ambassador of Algeria. We hope that an early agreement will be reached on the final document which gives full expression of the views from all parties. This will create conditions for the success of the Third Review Conference.

Mr Chairperson,

China has consistently supported the object and purpose of the Convention and earnestly fulfilled its obligations under the Convention. We have promulgated all-encompassing legislations and regulations for implementation and have put them into effect. We have established implementation bodies at both the central and local levels, and have laid a solid foundation for effective implementation through close communication and active co-ordination. China has submitted all declarations on time and has received over 300 OPCW inspections smoothly. This year we have already received 35 inspections, including 27 industry inspections.

China commends the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by all staff members of the Secretariat under the leadership of H.E. Director-General Uzumcu and appreciates the large amount of work they have done for the implementation of the Convention. China will, as always, continue to give its active support to the endeavours of the Director-General and the Secretariat, and work to strengthen the good cooperation between the two sides.

The Chinese delegation requests that this statement be issued as an official document of this session of the Conference.

Thank you Mr Chairperson. Now please allow me to invite Mr Chan Chi Keung, head of Trade Controls, Customs and Excise Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, to give you a presentation on the efforts made and measures taken in Hong Kong SAR to implement the Convention.

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