Statement by Ambassador Wu Ken, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the General Debate of the Twenty-First Session of the Conference of State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention
28 November 2016, The Hague
Please allow me, at the outset, to congratulate you, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, on your election as the Chairman of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Chinese delegation is prepared to cooperate fully with you, and with all the other delegations, in making this session a success. I would also like to express my appreciation to your predecessor, His Excellency Ambassador Eduardo Ibarrola-Nicolin of Mexico for the excellent work which he has performed.
This year, thanks to the joint efforts made by all the States Parties of the OPCW, the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has continued to press ahead. And the significance of the CWC and the OPCW for the safeguarding of global peace and security has been further highlighted. China wishes to commend the Director-General, His Excellency Ahmet Üzümcü, and all the colleagues in the Secretariat for their professionalism and dedication, and thank them for the enormous amount of work which they have carried out in promoting the implementation of the Convention.
The Chinese delegation thanks the Director-General, His Excellency Ahmet Üzümcü, for his comprehensive work report, and associates itself with the statement made by Her Excellency Ambassador Haifa Aissami of Venezuela on behalf of the NAM States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and China. Now, please allow me to elaborate China’s position further.
Firstly, the OPCW should make continuous and relentless efforts to press CW destruction forward. CW destruction constitutes not only a core object of the Convention, but also the primary task of the OPCW for a very long time to come. The OPCW should continue to ensure its resources inputs in this regard. The CW possessor states concerned should work to complete their destructions at an early date in compliance with the Convention and the relevant decisions adopted by the policy-making organs of the OPCW.
At the same time, it is China’s hope that States Parties will remain united, preserve the authority, unity and the tradition of consensus of the OPCW, and work to achieve eventually a proper solution to the issue of the Syrian CWs through dialogues and cooperation. The Fact-Finding Mission, the Declaration Assessment Team and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism should all continue to take an objective and impartial approach and conduct their respective work as mandated professionally, and that they will strengthen their cooperation with the Syrian government while respecting the sovereignty of the country involved.
Secondly, the destruction of the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China (Japanese ACWs) brooks of no further delay. Given the fact that the destruction of Japanese ACWs has a direct impact on the realisation of the core objects and purposes of the Convention, the lofty goal of building “a world free from chemical weapons” will never be truly attained so long as Japanese ACWs have not been eliminated. Although over 70 years have passed since the end of the Japanese War of Aggression against China, large quantities of Japanese ACWs are still endangering the Chinese people’s lives and properties and the ecological and environmental safety in China. Japan should bear the full responsibility for its failure to complete the destruction according to the timeline under the Convention. China urges Japan to implement faithfully the relevant decision adopted by the Executive Council (Council) of the OPCW and increase its inputs in the process, so as to ensure the completion of the destruction as scheduled.
As the territorial state, China has taken a constructive approach and made a great deal of efforts for facilitating the resolution of the issue of Japanese ACW. For this purpose, China has brought on itself considerable political and social pressures. Such efforts include its consent to Japan carrying out the destruction of Japanese ACWs in China, which is the best demonstration of China’s flexibility and cooperation. It is regrettable, however, that Japan stated explicitly at the 82nd session of the Council of the OPCW that it would be unable to meet the phased target for the destruction of Japanese ACWs by the end of 2016, as specified by the decision adopted by the Council at its 67th session. This represents the third time, after defaulting on the deadline both in 2007 and 2012, that Japan fails to fulfil its task according to the schedule laid down for the destruction of Japanese ACWs. To this day, Japan has not yet reached agreement with China on a destruction plan beyond the set timeframe. China expresses hereby its grave concern over this situation. The OPCW ought to pay high attention to the delayed destruction of Japanese ACWs. And the Conference must uphold the authority and validity of the Council decision, express its concern over the delay, urge Japan to reach agreement with China on a subsequent destruction plan before the end of 2016, and ask the Council to remain seized of the progress in the discussion between China and Japan on the destruction plan.
On this occasion，China also expresses its hope that the OPCW will continue to ensure resources inputs in its verification regarding Japanese ACWs, and maintain its deliberations on and monitoring of the issue of Japanese ACWs through the Council, the Conference and the Review Conference. China welcomes a visit to be paid by an OPCW Executive Council delegation in 2017 to Japanese ACWs destruction facilities in China, with a view to examining the work of the Japanese ACWs destruction.