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Statement by Ambassador XUE Hanqin, Permanent Representative of China to the Organization For the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,at the 52nd Session of the Executive Council
2008/03/10

Distinguished Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to welcome you back to the chair for this EC session. The Chinese delegation will extend to you its full cooperation, so as to help ensure the smooth completion of all the proceedings at this session.

I wish also to thank Director-General Mr. Rogelio Pfirter for the comprehensive work report he just presented. Meanwhile, I fully concur with the statement made by the Cuban Ambassador Mr. Oscar Ramos on behalf of the NAM States Parties and China. Now, I would like to further elaborate on China's views on some issues.

Mr. Chairman,

The complete destruction of chemical weapons at the earliest possible date constitutes the core element and fundamental object of the Convention. It is also the most urgent task facing the OPCW now. At present, the CW destruction is progressing steadily, and over one third of the total declared stockpile has been destroyed. However, to complete the entire stockpile by the final deadline specified by the Convention remains the top challenge to be faced by the OPCW in the future. China urges all the possessor states, particularly the major ones, to try their outmost to overcome all difficulties and accelerate the destruction process, in order to ensure the completion of the destruction by the final deadline of 2012.

We have taken note of the report submitted by Your Excellency on the visit to the US CW disposal facility. We hope that the visit will help eliminate and resolve doubts and concerns regarding the destruction obligation of the possessor states, and play an effective role in quickening the destruction process.

Mr. Chairman,

The destruction of abandoned chemical weapons is an integral and important part of the Convention. It has a direct bearing on whether the fundamental object of the Convention, being the complete destruction of chemical weapons, can be ultimately achieved. For a long time, the Chinese people have been suffering the terrible damages caused by the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China. The complete destruction of the abandoned CWs at the earliest possible date has remained a primary concern of the Chinese government and Chinese people. Despite the steady positive progress made in the disposal of the Japanese abandoned CWs in China thanks to joint efforts by China and Japan, it is an undeniable fact that up to date, substantive destruction is yet to begin. Thus, we urge the Japanese side to bear earnestly its responsibility and obligation and speed up its efforts in this regard, so as to destroy all its abandoned CWs in China as soon as possible. The Chinese side will continue to provide appropriate cooperation. We welcome the Secretariat's continued active participation in this process. We hope that States Parties will keep paying due attention to this issue.

Mr. Chairman,

The Report of the Eleventh Session of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB-11/1) has just recently been circulated. China is still studying and reserves its position on one of the views expressed on Para. 9.3 of the Report as "undertaking a review of destruction technologies for OACWs would be inappropriate at this stage". After ten years of implementation of the Convention, to draw some experience from the past OACWs destruction by the OPCW is of important reference value for those States Parties which are still faced with OACWs problems. Therefore, it is constructive to undertake such a review and examination at technological level. The Chinese delegation is ready to further exchange views with related sides and seek clarification on this matter.

Mr. Chairman,

We have received and carefully reviewed the report (EC-52/DG.4) submitted by the DG on the status of implementation of Article XI of the Convention for 2007. We admire the Secretariat for its achievements in fostering international cooperation in chemical industry for peaceful purposes. We are ready to join in continued in-depth discussions of this report by all parties during the intersessional informal consultations, in order to better review experiences and explore more effective ways for future activities in this field.

We attach high importance to the decision adopted by the 12th Session of the Conference of States Parties last year on fostering international cooperation. We call on all parties to continue, on the basis of this decision, to join in consultations constructively and achieve further consensus, so as to enhance the full implementation of Article XI.

Mr. Chairman,

In just a month, the Second Review Conference will be held. At the moment, the Open Ended Working Group led by the UK Ambassador Mr. Lyn Parker is working diligently on the preparation of the Conference. We appreciate the efforts of Ambassador Parker.

The Second Review Conference will come to exert a significant impact on the implementation of the Convention in the next five years. We attach great importance to the Conference and have actively participated in its preparation. We believe that the Second Review Conference should mainly observe two principles. The first one is the principle of balance and equity. As one of the most important results of the Conference, its Final Report should deal with the major Articles of the Convention in a balanced manner, especially the four pillars, namely, chemical disarmament, non-proliferation, protection and assistance, and international cooperation. The Conference should comprehensively and objectively review the past implementation of the Articles, and make balanced planning for the future development of the Convention. The second principle is consultation-based consensus. Such consensus represents not only the spirit with which the Convention was negotiated and concluded, but also a fundamental reason that the Convention has been successfully implemented in the past ten years. At present, during consultations on the draft provisional agenda and the draft Final Report, views of all parties should be extensively drawn upon, and concerns of all sides taken into consideration. All parties should work steadily and surely towards bringing about positive results from the Conference, and avoid forcing through ideas or propositions without adequate deliberation or consultation among States Parties.

We have noted that at the moment, views remain divided among different parties on the draft provisional agenda of the Conference. We call on interested parties to show flexibility and the spirit of compromise and try to reach consensus on the provisional agenda during this EC Session, so as to concentrate as soon as possible on discussing substantive issues, such as the Final Report.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese government always actively supports the work of the OPCW and pays high importance to its cooperation with the Secretariat. I would like to inform you that in May this year, the Chinese government and the OPCW will jointly hold a training course on protection against chemical warfare in Beijing, with the object of promoting among States Parties experience-sharing and capability-building on this subject. In addition, China contributed US$30,000 to the OPCW at the end of last year, which is to be used for activities regarding universality and Article X.

In closing, I wish this EC session a full success.

Thank you.

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