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Beijing stance reaffirmed for UN nuclear test ban treaty

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-09-27 09:15
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The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of its headquarters in New York, Sept 15, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

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-nuclear-weapon 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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