Inaugural Remarks by Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs H.E. Mr. SHEN Jian at the Conference on Disarmament
2023-08-26 00:44

(Palais des Nations, 24 August 2023)

Madame President,

I'm glad to be back at the Palais des Nations after eight years as the new Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China and to meet with colleagues at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Please allow me to start by congratulating you, Madame President, on your assumption of the Presidency of the CD. I would like to assure you my full support and cooperation. I also look forward to working with all colleagues to enhance mutual trust and build consensus in the spirit of mutual respect, as we jointly seek to take the work of the CD forward.

Madame President,

Arms control and disarmament is a sacred cause. Laying a solid foundation for lasting peace has been the long-cherished wish of peoples of all nations. It has inspired the establishment of the CD, and there has been a goal that member states have been struggling for with a sense of mission of the past four decades.

The world today is not a tranquil place, the human society is facing unprecedented multiple security dilemmas, including the lingering cold war mentality, intensifying major power competition, and an aggravating geopolitical situation, adding severe strains to the global strategic stability and balance. Certain countries are provoking ideological confrontation in pursuit of a strategy of “decoupling” and “small yard with high fence”. The world is once again facing the risk of being torn apart. Meanwhile, global security governance of emerging technologies is woefully inadequate, even though they may have a profound impact on global security. The trend toward politicization, polarization and fragmentation is gathering pace. The outcome of the recent first session of the PrepCom of the 11th Review Conference of the NPT has demonstrated that pushing forward an agenda driven by geopolitical and block interests at the expense of other countries security interests, would very likely bring the international arms control process to a dead end.

“What security concepts does the world need? How can countries achieve common security?” These are the questions of the times facing all of us. Before coming to Geneva, I gave a lot of thoughts to the ways for CD to play a bigger role in maintaining global strategic stability, and promoting international peace and security and for the international arms control and disarmament efforts to better respond to the calls of our times and bring more stability and certainty to a turbulent world.

Madame President, faced with today's international security dilemma, China's choice is clear. It is to be found in the Global Security Initiative that President Xi Jinping has solemnly proposed and recently reaffirmed at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. My predecessor Ambassador Li Song, already elaborated on the initiative at the CD before. The core ideas and principles of the initiative include upholding the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, pursuing the long-term objective of building a security community and advocating a new path to security featuring dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliances and win-win outcome over zero-sum game.

The ideas and principles of the vision of a community of a shared future for mankind and global security initiative are the starting point and ultimate goal of my mission as the Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China. They also contain answers to the questions as to how the CD can follow the trend of the times and contribute more stabilizing elements to the world.

We should firmly uphold the authority of the CD which has made significant historical contributions. Only by reaffirming its status as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, can we make sure that it will make even greater contribution to the new era. Playing down the role of the CD or seeking to set up an alternative forum will only lead to further politicization, block-based division and fragmentation in the multilateral process of arms control and disarmament.

We should steer the CD in the right direction. Under the current circumstances, we should stay committed to the true multilateralism in discussing traditional agenda items or emerging challenges at the Conference. We should also respect the legitimate security interests and concerns of all parties, abandon the cold war mentality and zero-sum game, abide by the principles of undiminished security for all so as to jointly advance the international arms control and disarmament process and facilitate the establishment of a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture.

We should work to revitalize the CD. I hope that all parties can demonstrate their wisdom and determination through positive and constructive interactions on traditional agenda items and emerging challenges in a spirit of unity, cooperation and consensus and come up with new ideas and proposals to solve the problems at hand, so that the substantive work can commence as early as possible to seek positive results.

UN Secretary-General Mr. Guterres recently presented his policy brief on “A New Agenda for Peace”. China commends his efforts and supports upholding the authority and effectiveness of multilateral arms control machinery. We hope that in preparing for the Summit of Future in 2024 member states will seek common grounds while shelving differences, take into consideration the suggestions of all parties and respect the legitimate concern of each other to achieve positive results.

Madame President,

The trend of history towards peace, development, and win-win cooperation is irreversible. The will of the people and the mega trends are all pointing to a bright future for mankind. As an old Chinese saying goes, “those who refuse to take the easy path will succeed; those who meet challenges head on will prevail.” As always, my colleagues and I will strengthen engagement with your Excellencies and other members of the CD in a positive and responsible manner, and push for progress at the Conference. We will join hands with other delegations to preserve and strengthen existing multilateral arms control, disarmament and Non-Proliferation institutions and make new contributions to the cause of maintaining global strategic balance and stability and promoting international peace and security.

I thank you, Madam President.