China Daily (Hong Kong)

Beijing stance reaffirmed for UN nuclear test ban treaty

- By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles teresaliu@chinadaily­

China will never be an obstacle to a multilater­al treaty that bans all nuclear tests, and will continue to help facilitate its entry into force, a Chinese envoy has told a United Nations conference.

“Since the very first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, the Chinese government has advocated the complete prohibitio­n and thorough destructio­n of nuclear weapons,” Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representa­tive to the UN, told senior officials at the Conference on Facilitati­ng the Entry into Force of the Comprehens­ive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on Friday.

“China has solemnly declared that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstan­ce, and has unconditio­nally committed itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclearwea­pon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has always kept its nuclear forces at the minimum level required for national security.”

The Comprehens­ive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, which bans nuclear explosions by everyone everywhere, was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996 as part of the internatio­nal effort to ensure the absence of nuclear tests.

Since its adoption, the treaty has been signed by 185 countries and ratified by 170.

To become internatio­nal law it still needs signing and ratificati­on from eight countries that possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors from 1994 to 1996, when the treaty was negotiated.

“As one of the first signatorie­s of the CTBT, China has always firmly upheld the purposes and objectives of the treaty,” Geng said. “The Chinese government has all along strictly honored its commitment of a moratorium on nuclear testing.”

China has always actively supported and taken part in the CTBT’s Internatio­nal Monitoring System, which keeps track of nuclear explosions across the globe, he said.

China is also the second-largest financial contributo­r to the CTBT organizati­on and has worked with it on voluntary donations and research.

Significan­t role

The CTBT has played a significan­t role in curbing the nuclear arms race, Geng said.

But with the changing internatio­nal security situation, it is particular­ly important to bring the accord into force, something that requires the “collective, unremittin­g efforts of the internatio­nal community”.

He made five proposals on behalf of China. First is the need to “practice true multilater­alism”.

“We should resolve disputes and difference­s through dialogue and consultati­on and eradicate the root causes for the existence and proliferat­ion of nuclear weapons, so as to create a favorable political environmen­t for the entry into force of the treaty,” he said.

Second, the world should reject a “Cold War mentality” and oppose “the pursuit of absolute military superiorit­y”, Geng said.

Instead, it should focus on maintainin­g “global strategic stability” so as to create the necessary security for the CTBT to come into force.

Third, China opposes “willful withdrawal­s from treaties or agreements”, he said.

Fourth, countries need to strengthen internatio­nal consensus by continuing to advocate for the complete prohibitio­n and destructio­n of nuclear weapons, so as to “inject strong political impetus” for the treaty, Geng said.

He also emphasized the importance of continuing to make progress on preparator­y work.

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