International Peace and Security in the context of Cyberspace
--Remarks by H.E. CHEN Xu, Ambassador of China to the Netherlands, at the Global Conference on Cyberspace
The Hague, 16 April 2015
As we enter the information age, people benefit quite a lot from the advancement of modern technology. At the same time, we have to face unprecedented, multi-dimensional challenges and dilemmas. Just name a few, the risk of militarization of cyberspace, the mistrust brought by the large-scale cyber surveillance, the threat of cyber terrorism, and so on. As far as international law is concerned, issues like legal aspects of cloud computing, the legal status of root services, etc., need to be further explored.
Today's topic is of practical significance, and I wish to make a couple of quick points.
First, norms and principles. The Charter of the United Nations, as well as the universally recognized fundamental norms and principles enshrined thereof, such as sovereign equality, non-intervention of domestic affairs, no threat or use of force as well as peaceful settlement of international disputes, are also relevant to behavior of states in cyberspace. The UN plays a leading and crucial role in maintaining international peace and security over the years, it should also play such a role and serve as the main vehicle to coordinate States behavior in cyberspace. The UNGGE could make its due contribution in this respect. The whole process should be a consensus building exercise.
In this regard, I wish to draw your attention to the draft of an International Code of Conduct for Information Security submitted by China together with Russia and others to the General Assembly in 2011, and updated in January 2015. The draft puts forward a comprehensive set of proposals of international norms on responsible behavior in cyberspace. We welcome all exchanges of views relating to the draft.
Second, rights and obligations. Sovereignty not only confers rights, but also imposes obligations upon states. Needless to say, states have independent rights to adopt internet-related public policy as well as laws and regulations in light of their national circumstances. All states have the equal rights to participate in the global governance and rules-making process. At the same time, when a state exercises its own sovereignty, it should respect the sovereignty of other states, refraining from intervening their domestic affairs, or allow its territory to be used for acts which will jeopardize the rights and interests of other states.
Third, international cooperation. Sovereign states play an irreplaceable role in the maintenance of international peace and security. Under current situation, we are duty bound to work together to build a peaceful, safe, open and cooperative cyberspace, so as to promote international peace and security in this unique and important perspective. For instance, cyber terrorism constitutes a real threat to international peace and security. In 2013, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2129, which underlines the need to prevent terrorist from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorism act. In this regard, we need to make joint efforts to prevent cyber infrastructures from being used by terrorist to upload violent terrorism video and audio programs, to disseminate extremist ideology, and to recruit, fund, or plan terrorist acts.
Last but not least, "Digital Divide". "Digital Divide" seriously affects the capacity of developing countries to cope with various security threats, including those relating to cyberspace. The international community needs to promote reform of the international internet governance in line with multilateral, transparent and democratic principles and to assist developing countries in their efforts to enhance capacity-building.
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