Remarks by H.E. Amb. LI Song at the First Meeting of the Subsidiary Body 1 of the Conference on Disarmament
2022-03-16 22:20

Mr. Coordinator,

The Chinese delegation congratulates you on your assumption as the coordinator of Subsidiary Body 1. My team and I assure you of our active support and participation under your leadership. I have listened attentively to the presentation made by the colleague from UNIDIR and the statements by other colleagues during today’s meeting. I wish to take this opportunity to share some of my general and preliminary thoughts.

First of all, nuclear arms race is the product of the Cold War. However, 30 years since its end, the Cold War mentality remains the most stubborn enemy and the biggest obstacle to nuclear disarmament. During the Cold War, the two superpowers competed for global hegemony, and engaged in a frenzied nuclear arms race to achieve a balance of terror on the basis of mutual assured destruction. After the end of the Cold War, the international community called on the United States and Russia, the two largest nuclear weapon states, to fulfill their special and primary historical responsibilities towards nuclear disarmament, and to carry out substantial and substantive nuclear disarmament in a verifiable and irreversible manner, so as to rid our planet of the threat posed by the huge nuclear arsenals left over from the Cold War. Although the ensuing 20 years saw steady progress in nuclear disarmament process between the US and Russia, the historic task of eliminating the huge nuclear arsenals left over from the Cold War was far from completed.

In the past 20 years or so, we have witnessed the superpower recklessly sabotaging the strategic security and arms control treaty system, unrestrainedly expanding its military buildup, continuously developing and deploying global missile defense systems, and seeking to deploy land based intermediate range missiles in Europe and Asia Pacific, which is far away from its own territory, and planning to deploy weapons in outer space to seek overwhelming strategic advantages in both offensive and defensive capabilities. The country concerned continued to play up major power strategic competition, and strengthen its military alliance system, which created a serious impact on the geopolitical security environment on both eastern and western sides of Eurasia continent, undermined the strategic mutual trust and security relations among countries, and even resulted in conflicts. A deep dive into all those shows that the root cause lies in one big power clinging to the cold war mentality, and even trying to usher in a new Cold War. Here, I would like to point out what many people may not want to hear or face. That is, as long as the superpower clings to the cold war mentality and major power competition, it will be difficult to remove the incentive for the nuclear arms race. And efforts towards nuclear disarmament would remain a castle in the sand.

Second, despite the dire and complex situation facing us, nuclear weapon states should adopt a highly responsible attitude towards issues related to nuclear weapon, by working to create a security environment conducive to disarmament and by continuing to pursue relentlessly a world free of nuclear weapons based on the principle of undiminished security for all countries. The country concerned must discard its cold war mentality, abandon its strategy of major power competition and work with other nuclear weapon states, at international and multilateral levels, to maintain strategic stability, enhance strategic mutual trust, prevent nuclear war, reduce strategic risks, avoid nuclear arms race, prevent nuclear proliferation, and work towards the complete prohibition and total elimination of nuclear weapons through progressive measures.

It should be noted that the nuclear strategy and nuclear policy of a nuclear weapon state serve as a fundamental guide to the development of its nuclear capability and its nuclear posture. And that, in itself, holds great significance to global strategic stability as well as the international nuclear arms control and disarmament process. China has the most stable, consistent and predictable nuclear policy and nuclear strategy among all nuclear weapon States. From the day it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons all over the world. China unswervingly pursues a national defence policy that is defensive in nature, and upholds a nuclear strategy purely for self-defence. China always keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum and reliable level required for national security, and never competes with other countries in terms of nuclear-weapons investment, quantity or scale. In short, China's nuclear weapons are neither for competing for hegemony with other nuclear weapon states, nor scaring or bullying non-nuclear weapon states. No country will be threatened by China’s nuclear weapons so long as it does not use nuclear weapons against China. China has not, does not and will not participate in any form of nuclear arms race. I would like to stress that any clamour about China's “substantial expansion” of its nuclear capabilities may well be an excuse for the nuclear superpower to enhance its huge nuclear arsenal. Unless the country concerned reduces its nuclear arsenal to the level of China's, any irresponsible remarks about China's military strength are hypocritical and untenable.

Third, despite the dire and complex situation facing us, it is of great practical significance for the CD to conduct substantive work on the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. The agenda item addressed by this Subsidiary Body is a primary item recognized by the Final Document of SSOD-I in 1978 and is also one of the most all-encompassing items on the agenda of the CD. Over the years, members of the CD have conducted in-depth and rich discussions on nuclear disarmament, through its plenary sessions and Subsidiary Bodies. With the further development of the international political and security situation, new factors, new propositions, new topics, and new developments have inevitably come to the attention of the CD. They deserve more comprehensive and in-depth discussion among member States on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

At the beginning of this year, with China's active efforts, the leaders of the P5 issued the Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, which attracted worldwide attention. The Statement has been well received by the wider international community and injected fresh vigor into multilateral fora, including the CD. China will continue to actively engage with all parties on such issues as preventing nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament on platforms such as the UN General Assembly, the CD and the P5 process. The Chinese delegation will also actively participate in the substantive discussion on all specific issues addressed by this Subsidiary Body.

Thank you, Mr. Coordinator.