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Statement by H.E. Ambassador WU Ken Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the OPCW At the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties
2018/06/28

Mr. Chairman,

Since its entry into force in 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention has played an irreplaceable role in prohibiting and destroying chemical weapons (CW), preventing CW proliferation, promoting international cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry and safeguarding global and regional peace and stability. The universality and effectiveness of the Convention has been continuously enhanced, and the mechanisms of the Convention have been operating in good order.  The prohibition of the use of CWs and the prevention of their re-emergence have become an internationally accepted norm.

China has closely followed incidents of alleged use of CWs in various locations in recent years, which caused civilian casualties.  As a State Party to the Convention, and as a victim of CWs used by the Japanese army during Japan's War of Aggression against Chin, China does have its empathy as regards the severe consequences afflicted by such a use.  China has been consistently and strongly against the use of CWs by any state, organization or individual under any circumstances and for any purposes.  China supports full, objective and impartial investigations into all the incidents of the alleged use of CWs, so that, on the basis of solid evidence, conclusions which will stand the test of time and facts will be reached, and the perpetrator or responsible party shall be held accountable.  China has been consistently supporting the OPCW in playing its due role in investigating and addressing the alleged uses of CWs strictly in accordance with the Convention.

In the recent years, the Conference of the States Parties, the Executive Council and relevant subsidiary bodies have maintained constant attention to the issue of the use of CWs, which is reflected by, inter alia, the establishment of the Fact-Finding Mission, the participation in the relevant UN mechanism on the investigation of the incidents of the alleged use of CWs, the provision of technical assistance to countries concerned, and the adoption by consensus of the decision on "Addressing the Threat Posed by the Use of Chemical Weapons by Non-State Actors" (EC-86/DEC.9).  China takes note of the intent of some states for requesting the convening of this Special Session of the Conference, as well as the different views of States Parties on the purpose and outcome of the session.  China hopes that States Parties will bridge their differences through consultation, so as to effectively maintain the solidarity of the OPCW.

Mr. Chairman,

China supports the efforts made to strengthen the effectiveness of the Convention.  In this regard, China would like to highlight the following positions on ways to enhance the Convention's mechanisms, uphold the object and purpose of the Convention, and properly address the threat of the use of CWs:

Firstly, the OPCW should deal with matters relating to the compliance with and implementation of the Convention in a balanced manner.  The destruction of CWs is one of the four pillars of the Convention.  The early completion of the destruction of CWs, including the destruction of Chemical Weapons Abandoned by Japan on the territory of China, has an impact on the realization of the goal of "a world free from CWs", and constitutes a necessary guarantee for ensuring that CWs are no longer used and that the re-emergence of CWs is prevented.  The Council, the Conference and the Review Conference should attach equal importance to the destruction of CW stockpiles and the ACWs.

Secondly, the existing mechanisms of the Convention should be fully utilized to investigate and address issues concerning alleged uses of CWs.  The Convention has put in place such mechanisms as "consultations, cooperation and fact-finding, "investigation of the alleged uses of CWs" and "challenge Inspections". It also stipulates explicitly relevant procedures and methodologies. The above-mentioned mechanisms are aimed at the clarification and resolution of questions concerning possible noncompliance with the Convention, and the determination through investigations of whether non-compliances by States Parties have occurred. And on that basis, the Council and the Conference may take further actions, including recommendations thereof to be submitted to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.  China is prepared to engage in in-depth discussions with all parties on how to use fully and enhance and improve further those mechanisms.

Thirdly, the OPCW's valuable tradition of making decisions by consensus should be preserved.  Since the founding of the OPCW, States Parties have successfully addressed, on the basis of consensus, many complex and sensitive issues, including the destruction of the Syrian CWs.  Facts have proved that to resort to a vote on a draft decision, on which views are clearly divided, would only trigger confrontation among States Parties and intensify internal disagreements within the Organization.  That would be conducive neither to the maintenance of the authority of the Convention and of the solidarity of the Organization, nor to the achievement of the objective of strengthening the Convention's mechanisms.

Mr. Chairman,

China supports the OPCW in playing its due role in investigating and addressing the alleged uses of CWs in accordance with provisions of the Convention.  China believes that the existing mechanisms within the framework of the Convention has not been exhausted. We, the States Parties, should address cautiously and review carefully such questions as whether a basis can be found in the clauses of the Convention for a new "mechanism of the attribution", whether it will go beyond the purview of the Convention, whether the Convention will have thus to be amended, and how the future development of the Organization will be impacted thereby.  It is therefore inappropriate to make any hasty decision.

China supports of the enhancement of the capabilities of the OPCW to investigate allegations of the use of CWs, including setting up investigative missions, authorized by its policy-making organs, to conduct impartial and transparent investigations.  China also supports States Parties in holding in-depth discussions on how to strengthen the OPCW's investigative abilities, and put forward feasible recommendations.

Mr. Chairman,

According to the discussions carried out so far by the States Parties, there is broad consensus on the preservation of the effectiveness of the Convention, the condemnation of the CWs attacks, the conduct of impartial and objective investigations, and on bringing the perpetrators of the use of CWs to justice.  On the other hand, there are still different views in terms of specific measures and methodologies of carrying out relevant investigations.  China calls on all parties to try to meet each other halfway through good faith consultations that may lead to narrowing down disagreements, building up consensus. Only through this, can we jointly maintain the effectiveness of the Convention, duly address the variety of challenges faced by the Convention under new circumstances, and effectively promote the object and purpose of the Convention.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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