Remarks by H.E. Amb. LI Song at the First Plenary Meeting of the 2023 Conference on Disarmament
2023-01-25 21:06

(Palais des Nations, 24th January 2023)

Mr. President,

Dear colleagues,

I'm very glad to meet with old and new friends in the Conference on Disarmament in the new year. First of all, I would like to extend my New Year's greetings to all colleagues and express my best wishes to those who celebrate the Lunar New Year. I also take this opportunity to welcome the ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Iran, the United States and the Republic of Korea to the CD family. Meanwhile, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the First Presidency of the CD this year. My delegation will fully support your work.

Dear Colleagues,

I started my function as the Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China with my statement at the first plenary meeting of the CD for 2019. Today, I'm coming to the end of my tenure at this post. In the past four years, I have promoted China's positions and propositions and safeguarded our national dignity and interests in the CD as well as the wider multilateral arms control and disarmament processes. At the same time, I have endeavored, together with all colleagues, to build trust, to forge common understanding and to seek cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation and to actively practice true multilateralism.

Over the past four years, the international political and security situation has undergone the most complex and profound changes since the end of the Cold War. Strengthening global strategic stability and maintaining international peace and security has been a significant challenge for the international community and an urgent task before the CD. History will not attribute the difficulties encountered in the processes of arms control and disarmament to relevant mechanisms themselves. Our times call on the CD and other multilateral mechanisms to provide a reliable and lasting stabilizing force for global security. In the past four years, whether in the work of the CD, in the processes of the U.N. General Assembly First Committee, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons or other multilateral mechanisms, I have seen that all parties are seriously participating in the relevant multilateral efforts and share the hope that these efforts will produce positive progress. Witnessing and personally participating in such work has further deepened my following feelings:

Firstly, it is necessary to firmly uphold and make full use of the existing multilateral mechanisms. The multilateral disarmament mechanisms and treaty system, which have been developed through painstaking exploration by the international community, constitute a safety net for international and strategic stability. They should only be strengthened and never be weakened. To belittle the role of a CD, to undermine the principle of consensus, or even to attempt to create other fora outside of the current body and to come with certain rules of certain countries, will inevitably lead to the division of camps for discussions on agenda items, the fragmentation of security governance and the regression of the international order to the law of the jungle. I should reiterate that there is only one system in the world, that is the international system with the U.N. at its core; there is only one order that is the international order based on international law; and there is only one set of rules, that is the basic norms governing international relations anchored in the principles and purpose of the UN Charter. The more difficult the situation, the more essential to maintain the effectiveness and authority of the CD and other multilateral disarmament mechanisms.

Secondly, it is necessary to firmly maintain and strengthen global strategic stability and fully respect the legitimate security interests and concerns of all parties. The CD has never been operating in a vacuum. It should take a broad view of the strategic security situation, and conduct in-depth reflection on the overarching, long-term and structural issues. The CD should not become a platform for big countries to penalize small countries, or for major power competition. The principle of consensus is the fundamental guarantee for equal treatment to the views of all members and for undiminished security for all. Our aim is and should continue to be the promotion of universal and common security for all states. We should not be hijacked by the ongoing geo-political conflicts and ignore the basic issues of strategic balance and stability. We must resolutely oppose anachronistic modes of thinking and behavior against the trend of times, such as the cold war mentality, block politics, and the confrontation between camps. We must not allow them to continue to hinder and undermine the progress in the CD or the wider processes of multilateral arms control and disarmament.

Thirdly, we must keep the CD moving on the basis of the existing common understandings. Over the past more than two decades, the glaring problem with the work of the CD has been the lack of stability and continuity. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, the CD adopted an important decision last year on the organization of the work of its 2022 session, and advanced substantive work with the five subsidiary bodies as the platforms. China supports Egypt, the Presidency of the CD, in consulting widely with member States on the Programme of Work for this year. Whether we build on last year's work to further optimize the organizational approach, or use last year's decision as a blueprint for immediate start of our work, the key is to uphold the critical principle of comprehensiveness and balance. Only through streamlining and seeking common ground while reserving differences and establishing a comprehensive and balanced framework for the work of the CD, can we lay a solid foundation for long-term progress over the work on the agenda items.

Dear colleagues,

Over the past 29 years, from the beginning of 1994, when I first participated in the work of the CD in the Council Chamber, until today, when I'm once again leaving the Palais des Nations, I have witnessed the development and prosperity of my country and the profound changes of the international situation. I feel proud of the country that I represented. China's internal and external policies are open and transparent. Its strategic intentions are clear and aboveboard. China will adhere to its foreign policy goal of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, continue to pursue its basic state policy of opening to the outside world, promote the overall progress of mankind with a Chinese path to modernization, bring new opportunities to the world with China's new development and contribute to global security governance through the new concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security put forward by China. This is the greatest stability that China brings to the turbulent international situation.

Over the past 29 years, I have followed my original aspiration, served my country with all my heart and always accomplished my mission. If there is anything that I can take away from Geneva, it must be the collegial friendship and precious memories that have emerged through communication, cooperation, discussions, and even heated debates with my colleagues. If I can leave anything behind in Geneva, I hope that what I said, wrote and achieved in this unforgettable city can hopefully play a moderate role for building a world of lasting peace and universal security.

Arms control and disarmament is a noble cause that worths our dedication. Here, I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to all colleagues and friends who have given me support and assistance in discharging my duties and responsibilities. I look forward to continuing cooperation with you all in my future career in the interests of our countries and people and for the promotion of peace and development. Our journey forward is still long, see you later.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you, dear colleagues.