Remarks by H.E. Mr. Fu Cong, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, on “The Future of Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Regime” at the 2019 Moscow Non-Proliferation Conference
Moscow, 8 November 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to attend this Conference.
Currently, the international arms control and non-proliferation regime is at a critical crossroads due to the following reasons:
First, the global strategic stability architecture is under duress, with the collapse or near collapse of the bilateral arms control agreements between the U.S. and Russia. Second, great power rivalry is coming back with a vengeance, with the U.S. trying to contain and seek overwhelming military superiority over Russia and China in all fields and with all means imaginable, and introducing political ideology into the international discourse on arms control and non-proliferation, leading to heightened risks of an arms race and confrontation. Third, unilateralism is becoming the order of the day for the U.S., which willfully withdraws from both bilateral and multilateral arms control and non-proliferation agreements and imposes unilateral sanctions with extra-territorial jurisdiction in violation of international law. Fourth, advances in emerging technologies bring about new security challenges, and the absence of international rules in these new domains is becoming increasingly prominent.
The future of the international arms control and non-proliferation regime depends on whether we are able to properly address the challenges brought about by these dangerous trends. In this connection, China would like to propose the following:
First, we need to recognize the indivisibility of security and adopt a concept of common security. The main contradiction confronting the international arms control and non-proliferation efforts is one between multilateralism and unilateralism, not one between the so-called democracies and non-democracies as some U.S. officials wish us to believe. China advocates a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept. Respect for each other's legitimate security concerns, and fostering a regional and global security environment in which all countries feel safe, will help reduce the motivation for an arms race and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Secondly, we must maintain the global strategic stability. The famous motto that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” should be re-affirmed by all Nuclear-weapon States. Such doctrines and practices as the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons, expanding the scope of nuclear deterrence, launch-on-warning, and the development of low-yield nuclear warheads need to be stopped. The U.S. should stop the development and deployment of its global missile defense system. The New START between the U.S. and Russia should be extended. We urge the two nuclear superpowers to further reduce their nuclear weapons, both deployed and in stockpile, so as to create conditions for other Nuclear-weapon States to participate in nuclear arms reduction negotiations.
Thirdly, we must enhance dialogue on nuclear doctrines. The more complicated the international security situation gets, the more urgent is the need for more dialogue on nuclear doctrines between Nuclear-weapon States, so as to avoid accidents and crises triggered by strategic misjudgment or miscalculation. Nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States should also strengthen communication for the ultimate goal of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. An international legal instrument on negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon States should be negotiated as soon as possible, which will go a long way towards reducing nuclear risks.
Fourthly, we must promote political and diplomatic solutions of regional proliferation issues. Imposition of unilateral sanctions in violation of international law should be resisted. And trying to gain geopolitical advantages in the name of non-proliferation must be opposed. The JCPOA, which was endorsed by the UN Security Council, should be implemented fully and effectively. The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will contribute to regional peace and stability. Parties concerned should take concrete actions to maintain the momentum of dialogue and easing of tension on the Peninsula. Efforts should also be made to achieve progress on the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Fifthly, we should uphold the authority of multilateral arms control regime. All states should make efforts to safeguard the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture with the NPT as its cornerstone, and work for positive outcomes of the 2020 NPT Review Conference. We should maintain the authority and effectiveness of the existing multilateral disarmament machinery, such as the UN and the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Trying to create “small groups” or even “exclusive clubs” can only be detrimental to the existing mechanisms. Multilateral arms control agreements must be upheld. The universality of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) need to be promoted. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) should be fully implemented, and obligations under the convention to destroy existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and abandoned chemical weapons (ACW) need to be fulfilled in good faith and in time. Furthermore, we should reject any practice of double standard, and work to establish a more open and inclusive global export control and non-proliferation regime.
Finally, we must regulate the military applications of emerging technologies. The rapid development of technologies in outer space, biology, cyberspace and artificial intelligence has brought about complicated and profound impacts on global security and strategic stability. An urgent task facing the arms control community is to establish necessary norms and rules for the military applications of these emerging technologies, while respecting and safeguarding the rights of all states in their peaceful uses. The international community should be firmly opposed to the weaponization of outer space, and commence negotiations at the CD on a legally binding instrument at an early date, so as to prevent an arms race in outer space. A verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) should be negotiated, and a code of conduct for biological scientific research and other activities needs to be worked out as soon as possible. Cyberspace should be used for peace, and for the well-beings of all people. Efforts should be made to prevent cyberwarfare or an arms race in cyberspace. And we should also resist any attempt to abuse the concept of national security for the purpose of unfairly restricting normal international cooperation in the field of information technology. The security risks, as well as the legal, ethical and moral issues, associated with the military applications of the artificial intelligence (AI) should be fully recognized and evaluated, and necessary preventive measures need to be taken.
Let me conclude by saying that China is a defender of the international order, rather than “a revisionist power” labeled by the U.S. China is not interested in power games, never seeks hegemony, and has no intention of joining an arms race with any country. China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, and unswervingly pursue a defensive nuclear strategy. In the meanwhile, China will stand with the majority of the international community, by firmly advocating multilateralism, by preserving and enhancing the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, and by safeguarding the global strategic stability for the interest of international peace and security.