Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
I have listened carefully to the briefing by USG Nakamitsu.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed between the US and the USSR in 1987 is an important treaty on arms control and disarmament. Taking strengthening strategic stability as its objective, the treaty effectively mitigated the arms race on intermediate-range missiles between the US and USSR in Europe and helped to enhance strategic mutual trust between major powers, ease international relations and advance nuclear disarmament process.
Entering the new century, safeguarding the effectiveness of the INF treaty is of great practical significance not only to the United States and Russia but also to international and regional peace and security. The two countries should have properly handled differences over treaty compliance through dialogue and consultation to earnestly safeguard the effectiveness of the treaty. However, the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the treaty led to the demise of the treaty, which will have a far-reaching negative impact on global strategic balance and stability, regional security in Europe and Asia as well as international arms control regime. The international community should be clear headed about this impact. On the INF issue, China has made clear its position on many occasions. It is unacceptable to use China as an excuse for leaving the treaty, and China rejects the baseless accusation by the United States.
The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the irreversible trends of the times, with forces for peace predominating over elements of war. At the same time, there are prominent destabilizing factors and uncertainties in international security. Multilateralism is the effective means to address common challenges. All countries should resolutely safeguard international order with international law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at its core, embrace a concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, fully respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries, work hard for a peaceful and stable international security environment and promote a community of a shared future for mankind.
The UN Charter entrusts the Security Council with the important responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Council members should earnestly fulfill their responsibilities in this regard. All countries should refrain from taking actions that undermine the security interests of other countries. Prior to its official withdrawal from the INF treaty, the United States already announced its plan to accelerate the development and deployment of intermediate range missiles. And lately, it conducted a test launch of land-based cruise missile. China strongly urges the relevant country to take a highly responsible attitude, exercise restraint and earnestly preserve the existing arms control regime in an effort to safeguard global strategic balance and stability and international and regional peace and security. This is the shared message from the international community.
Withdrawal from the INF treaty is yet another act of unilateralism and escape from international obligations by the United States. It is aimed at relieving restrictions and seeking absolute military advantage. China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive nature. China’s land-based intermediate range missiles are all deployed within the Chinese territory. It is for defense purposes only and poses no threat to any country. China firmly opposes US deployment of land-based intermediate range missiles in the Asia-Pacific and urges the United States to be cool-headed and exercise restraint.
The international arms control and disarmament treaty system, as the cornerstone of global strategic balance and stability, bears on international peace and security. Nuclear disarmament, as one of the three pillars of the NPT, constitutes an important part of global governance in the nuclear field. All countries should follow the principles of “maintaining global strategic stability” and “undiminished security for all” and advance disarmament process in a step-by-step manner. Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals have special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament. We support the political and diplomatic efforts made by Russia, support and encourage Russia and the United States to maintain dialogue on strategic security and bilateral nuclear disarmament issues, commit themselves to the extension of the New START Treaty, continue to make substantive reduction in their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner with a view to creating necessary conditions for advancing multilateral nuclear disarmament processes.
I must emphasize that for any arms control negotiation, it is imperative to fully consider the overall military capabilities of countries and follow the principle of “undiminished security for all”, a basic principle of international arms control. China has repeatedly stated its position on the so-called arms control negotiation with the United States and Russia. China has no interest and will not be part of it.
China unswervingly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. China’s nuclear strategy for self-defense is completely transparent and its nuclear policy is highly responsible. China’s nuclear arsenal is extremely limited in scale, and poses no threat to international peace and security. For decades, China has actively participated in arms control consultations and negotiations under multilateral mechanisms and frameworks including those of the United Nations and Conference on Disarmament. China opposes arms race and works to safeguard global strategic balance and stability. Moving forward, China will continue to firmly uphold multilateralism, actively participate in multilateral arms control processes to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.
Thank you, Madam President.