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Statement by Ambassador Wu Ken, Head of the Chinese Delegation, During the General Debate of the Fourth Review Conference of the OPCW

Mr. Chairman,


On behalf of the Chinese delegation, please allow me to begin by congratulating you on your election as the chairman of the Fourth Special Conference of the Review of the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  The Chinese delegation will fully cooperate with you, and with other delegations, in a joint effort to bring about a positive outcome of this Conference.  Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to thank the Working Group for the Preparation, led by the Ambassador of Indonesia, His Excellency Mr. Puja, for the large amount of work that it has done.  My thanks also goes to Director-General Arias and the TS for the efforts which they have made. 


The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by the Ambassador of Venezuela, Her Excellency Haifa Aissami Madah, on behalf of the NAM CWC States Parties and China.  


Mr. Chairman,


The world in which we live is presently experiencing profound and complex changes.  On one hand, the global multipolarity and the economic globalization have been further growing.  And nations of the world are undergoing interconnection and interdependence.  Thus, this planet is of a common destiny, with shared weal and woe.  On the other hand, challenges which mankind is up against have kept emerging.  The spectres of the cold-war mentality and power politics have been lingering.  Regional unrests and hotpots have occurred again and again.  And traditional and non-traditional security issues have been intertwined.  Hence, it is still a primary concern for all nations to safeguard world peace, security and stability, reinforce international cooperation and promote global economic development.  And under such circumstances, the OPCW is facing proportionately increasing challenges and opportunities.  The Fourth Review Conference is thus of added importance for the future development of this Organization.


Ever since the Third Review Conference, major progress has been made in chemical disarmament.  The verification regime under the Convention has been running effectively as a whole.  And the universality of the Convention has been further enhanced.  But in the meantime, there have been repeated incidents of the alleged use of chemical weapons (CWs).  The risk of the use of CWs by non-state actors has been mounting.  The destruction of all the categories of CWs, including CW stockpiles and abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) has not been completed.  And, inside this Organization, the tendency towards division and politicization has been worsening, and the principle of consensus has been eroded.  All this is causing tough challenges to the Convention.


China believes that States Parties should take full advantage of this Review Conference, and predicate themselves on the core articles of the Convention in summing up the experiences of the implementation of the Convention all these years, further forging consensus, fully planning the next stages of the implementation, and promoting the balanced and effective implementation, so as to realize the objects and purposes of the Convention.  China has already submitted its national position papers on some issues concerned.  Now, I would like take this opportunity to elaborate further China's positions as follows:


Firstly, in order to ensure its full and effective implementation, a persistent effort should be made to implement all the provisions of the Convention in a balanced manner.  Now that it has not been brought to a close, chemical disarmament remains as a top priority among the objects and purposes of the Convention.  China welcomes the completion of their CW destructions by the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Federation, Libya and Iraq.  China urges the remaining CW possessor state to fulfill faithfully its obligation under the Convention and complete its destruction by the deadline as specified in the Conference decision on the destruction beyond the final extended deadline.  


China expresses its grave concern over the fact that while the destruction of CW stockpiles has made progress, the process of the destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on the Territory of China (Japanese ACWs) has repeatedly fallen behind schedule.  It has been 73 years since the end of Japan's war of aggression against China, and 21 years since the entry into force of the Convention.  However, the large quantities of Japanese ACWs continue to cause harm to the lives and property of the people and the ecological and environmental safety in China.  Without the thorough and complete elimination of Japanese ACWs, it is impossible to achieve the core object of the Convention of creating a "world free of CWs".  China requests the Fourth Review Conference to conduct a comprehensive review of the disposal of Japanese ACWs, and urges Japan to fulfill its obligation under the Convention earnestly, implement the relevant the relevant decision of the Executive Council (Council), and complete the destruction as early as possible in accordance with the destruction plan jointly submitted by China and Japan.  China asks the Council, the Conference and the Review Conference to keep the issue of Japanese ACWs under review and monitoring, while ensuring this Organization's resources inputs in the corresponding verification.  And China calls on all parties to pay attention to such Japanese ACW-related matters as the absence of the information on the burial of Japanese ACWs and the disposal of the contaminated soil, so that Japanese ACWs will be destroyed fully, completely and safely as soon as possible, and that a clean land will be returned to the Chinese people at an early date.


In order for States Parties to gain a better knowledge on the issue of Japanese ACWs, the Chinese delegation will hold a photo exhibition on Japanese ACWs outside this chamber during this Review Conference.  And an opening ceremony and reception for the show will be held at six p.m. today.  Your attendance will be highly welcome.


The provisions of the Convention on assistance and protection against CWs and on international cooperation are important pillars for its full and effective implementation.  China stands for increased inputs in assistance and protection against CWs and in international cooperation, and for enhancing the implementation capability of the developing countries through strengthening international cooperation, thus ensuring that States Parties fully benefit from the peaceful use of chemistry.  Efforts should be made to explore the measures for establishing a "follow-up mechanism for Article XI of the Convention" and formulating an "international cooperation strategy", so as to heighten the developing nations' capabilities and enthusiasm for the implementation, and to draw more countries to join the Convention. 


Secondly, the authority of the Convention should be preserved consistently, and its stipulations be implemented as much.  As an infinitely binding instrument of international law, which is the first of its kind, and mandates the comprehensive prohibition and thorough destruction of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, and sets out a stringent verification mechanism for it, the Convention provides important criteria and an authoritative basis for States Parties to addressed issues relating to CWs.  China maintains that in coping with such issues, it is imperative to act strictly in accordance with the Convention, and maintain earnestly the authority and effectiveness of the Convention.


In the recent years, the incidents of alleged use of CWs which took place in Syria, Malaysia and the United Kingdom have been a cause for extensive attention in the international community.  China stands firmly opposed to the use of CWs by any State, any organization or any individual under any circumstances and for whatever purposes.  China believes that any such use must be lawfully dealt with.  China supports this Organization in its effort to conduct full, objective and impartial investigations in compliance with the provisions of the Convention, so that on the basis of solid evidence, conclusions will be reached, which will stand the test of facts and time.  Meanwhile, China believes that strictly in conformity with the Convention, the existing mechanisms under the Convention should be fully employed to address the alleged use of CWs.  An in-depth study should be undertaken of the potential impact on the Convention of creating an attribution mechanism, so as to ensure that any measure for implementing decisions on the attribution for the use of CWs will be in line with the stipulations of the Convention.


Thirdly, the future priorities of the OPCW should be properly addressed, while keeping abreast with developments.  China is of the view that this Organization should follow the advances in science and technology and make adjustments accordingly with respect to the future priorities.  That will be a long and progressive process.  It must be emphasized that at present, there are still large quantities of CWs around the world, including Japanese ACWs, yet to be destroyed.  The functions of the OPCW as an intergovernmental arms control and disarmament body cannot thus be weakened.


The OPCW should also attach importance to the developing nations' legitimate rights and interests and reasonable requirements.  The industry verification resources should be rationally allocated, so as to avoid causing necessary burdens to States Parties, the developing ones among them in particular.  Verification measures should make it their objective as ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of verification, while giving due consideration to the risks of different facilities, and to the principle of equitable geographical distribution.  And verification resources should be reasonably distributed among different industry facilities.  Regarding the initiation of any new verification measure, it should be placed under discussion on the basis of the principles of States parties taking the lead and of openness and transparency, and should also be presented to the decision-making organs for consideration.


Fourthly, the tradition of consensus should be consistently preserved, and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.  China believes that differences should be narrowed through dialogue and consultation, and that this Organization's fine tradition of making consensus-based decisions should be upheld.  China has taken note of the growing tendency in this Organization towards replacing dialogue with voting, thus worsening the drift towards its politicization.  During the special session of the Conference in last June as well the 23rd Conference of States Parties held yesterday, some States Parties forced the adoption of the decisions on "Addressing the Threat Posed by the Use of Chemical Weapons" and "Draft Programme and Budget for 2019" through voting, despite the deep differences going on among different parties.  China is concerned over the practice of forcing a vote, without due consultation conducted, on how some major issues which concern the objects and purposes of the Convention and the healthy function of OPCW should be dealt with.  China urges States Parties to try and meet each other halfway and work properly to resolve their disputes through dialogue and consultation held on an equal footing, hence avoiding adverse impacts thus caused on the future of the Convention.


Mr. Chairman,


China has always steadfastly supported the objects and purposes of the Convention, and dutifully fulfilled its obligations.  China has worked continuously to improve its national legal system for the implementation of the Convention.  In 2018, China amended its Detailed Rules for the Regulations on the Management of Controlled Chemicals of the People's Republic of China, further clarifying the obligations of industrial facilities for submitting declarations and receiving verification.  The amendment provides also for the establishment of a closed-loop management of the production, use, operation and import-export of Schedule 2 chemicals.  As a State Party with the most declared facilities under Article VI of the Convention, China has set up a declaration-collection mechanism which features regional management and tiered responsibilities based on administrative regions.  China has submitted all its annual declarations timely and accurately, and has so far successfully received more than 520 inspections of all categories by this Organization.


China attaches great importance to such major clauses of Convention as international cooperation, and assistance and protection against CWs.  And China has advanced its work in the fields concerned, via its vigorous cooperation with the TS.  Ever since the Third Review Conference, China has co-organized with this Organization a variety of activities, seminars and training courses, concerning such areas as chemical safety and security, integrated chemical management, chemical trade policy and export control, regional meetings of the National Authorities in Asia with the first education and outreach event in Asia, assistance and protection against CWs, and medical treatment regarding protection against CWs.  There have been over 340 trainees and participants involved.  In cooperation with this Organization, China hopes to have its experiences in the implementation shared, and assist other states in enhancing their capabilities for the implementation, thus contributing to the promotion of the universality and effectiveness of the Convention.  


Mr. Chairman,


The realization of the goal of a "world free of CWs" is a noble aspiration and a general expectation of all the peace-loving peoples across the globe.  It is in the common interests of the international community, and a legitimate cause as well for the building of a community with a shared destiny for mankind.  In the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, China is prepared to work in a concerted and continued effort with other parties to promote the full implementation of the Convention, and contribute to building a clean and beautiful world which enjoys lasting peace, common security, shared prosperity, openness and inclusiveness.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


The Chinese delegation requests the circulation of this statement as an official document of this Conference.


Now, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to pass the floor to Mr. Francis Ho, the representative from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China for briefing the Review Conference on the implementation of the Convention in Hong Kong.  His briefing is part of the statement of the Chinese delegation.


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