(The Hague, 12 July 2016)
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election as the chairperson of the Executive Council. The Chinese delegation is prepared to cooperate fully with you, and with other delegations, so as to contribute to a successful conclusion of the deliberation of all the agenda items of this session.
This is the first time that I attend a Council session. At present, the OPCW stands at a crucial juncture which connects the past with the future. And it is also facing plenty of opportunities as well as challenges. It is my belief that as long as we all uphold our fine traditions of unity, cooperation and win-win pursuits, we will certainly be able to advance our work to a brand-new stage.
The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Director-General for his opening statement, as well as the vice-chairpersons for their respective reports. My delegation associates itself with the statement made by His Excellency Alireza Jahangiri, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the NAM CWC States Parties and China. Now, I would like to elaborate further China's position and views regarding some major items on the agenda of this session.
In accordance with the relevant decision adopted by the Council at its last session, the Director-General and the Secretariat have held several rounds of consultations with the government of Syria Arab Republic on the assessment of the initial declaration on the Syrian chemical weapons. Syria has provided hundreds of pages of information, and, following the advice given by the Secretariat, agreed to use parts of that information as amendments and supplements for its initial declaration. According to the report presented by the DG, additional steps have been achieved towards completion of the declaration by SAR, while, on the other hand, some issues remain yet to be further clarified. China believes that so long as all the parties concerned maintain an adequate political will, the process of resolving the issues concerning the Syrian CWs will constantly move forward. In the meantime, with regard to some technical problems which cannot be solved for the time being, efforts should be made to seek a proper solution, taking a scientific and professional approach and a flexible and pragmatic attitude, and giving due regard to the objective circumstances and practical difficulties in Syria.
As a core objective of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the destruction of all categories of chemical weapons constitutes the top priority of this Organisation. Although the destruction of CW stockpiles has made positive progress and been recognized by all sides, it is regrettable that in contrast, the pace of the destruction of Chemical Weapons Abandoned by Japan on the Territory of China lags considerably behind schedule.
It is now over 70 years since the end of the Japanese war of aggression against China. However, to date, the evil legacies of the use and abandonment of chemical weapons by the Japanese Aggression Army have not been fully eliminated. Japanese ACWs have been discovered at more than 90 locations all over China, including Hunan Province where I am from, and Guangdong Province where I once worked. These evil legacies have been posing a grave threat and harm to the lives and properties of the Chinese people and to the ecological and environmental safety in China. Since the Japanese side has not yet provided information on the abandoning and burial of Japanese ACWs, it is difficult to estimate if more Japanese ACWs will be found, or how many more innocent victims they might cause. In order to minimize potential casualties, the Chinese side has undertaken a great deal of investigations, and found and informed the Japanese side of plenty of suspect Japanese ACWs. However, the Japanese side has not yet investigated and identified a large part of them. China urges Japan to complete the destruction as soon as possible in compliance with the plan jointly submitted by China and Japan, and to speed up the identification of suspect Japanese ACWs, so as to return a clean land to China at an early date. Meanwhile, since the destruction of Japanese ACWs represents a sacred obligation and an international responsibility under the Convention, and exerts an impact on the realization of the goal of "a world free from chemical weapons", the OPCW should continue to ensure resources inputs in its work concerned, and well fulfil its reviewing and monitoring duties.
China is firmly opposed to any form of terrorism and to the use of CWs by anyone under any circumstances. The Chinese delegation has been actively engaged in the discussions held by the Sub-Working Group on Non-State Actors, and appreciates the contributions made by the Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Teresa Infante. China also supports the measures for prevention and response proposed by the DG and the Secretariat. At the same time, China has noted that there were different views among different States Parties in areas such as legal accountability, and hopes that States Parties will carry on with the discussions within the framework of the Convention, and in the spirit of seeking common ground while putting aside minor differences.
China supports actively the establishment of the open-ended working group on the future priorities of the OPCW. China maintains that the working group should operate on the principles of letting States Parties take the lead, seeking consensus and being open and transparent, and that it should give due consideration to the interests of all the parties, have collective planning and pool together the good opinions from all sides. On this basis, China hopes that the working group will produce positive results as soon as possible, in order to allow the Fourth Review Conference to make decisions on the important issues involved.
In last June, the Chinese government and the Secretariat jointly held in China an international seminar on chemical trade. That was an important initiative which China took to support the international cooperation in the field of the peaceful use of chemistry. I believe that what has come out of the seminar will instil new dynamic into the discussions on international cooperation in the OPCW. China will continue to make its contributions to the advancement of the full implementation of Article XI of the Convention.
The Chinese delegation requests the circulation of this statement as an official document of this session and its uploading onto the official and internal website of the OPCW.
Thank you, Madame Chairperson.