China Statement to First Committee

China’s statement to the First Committee has a useful summary of Beijing’s nuclear weapons policies:

China has pursued a nuclear strategy of self-defense, always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for its national security, and has never and will never take part in any nuclear arms race with any other country. Given the huge gap between the nuclear arsenals of China and those of the US and the Russian Federation, it is unfair, unreasonable and infeasible to expect China to join in any trilateral arms control negotiation. China will never participate in such a negotiation and will never accept any coercion or blackmail.

China’s rejection of the so-called “trilateral arms control negotiation” does not mean that China evades its own responsibility for nuclear disarmament or refuses to participate in the global nuclear disarmament process. Ever since the first day of possessing nuclear weapons, China has been advocating the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China has declared the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and unconditionally commits itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States or Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. China is the only P5 country who makes such commitments. China firmly abides by its commitments on the moratorium of nuclear tests, and supports the development of the verification mechanism of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). China supports negotiation for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced program of work in accordance with the mandate contained in the Shannon Report, and supports the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification. China is ready to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issues related to strategic stability with all parties on the basis of mutual respect, and will continue its participation in the arms control process under the framework of the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament and the P5.

The statement also contained some policy recommendations:

In the face of the increasingly complex and ominous international security landscape, the P5 should take proactive measures to manage differences, and work together to maintain global strategic stability. Since the Beijing Conference in January last year, the P5 have reached consensus on carrying out cooperation on strategic security issues including nuclear doctrines and policies, nuclear risk reduction, etc. China suggests that the P5 continue to strengthen dialogue on nuclear policies and doctrines, jointly reiterate that “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, make a commitment not to target their nuclear weapons at any State, commit to the no-first-use of nuclear weapons unconditionally, and conclude legally binding international instruments on providing negative and positive security assurances to non-nuclear weapon States. We urge the US to abandon the policies of nuclear umbrella and nuclear sharing, withdraw all the nuclear weapons deployed overseas, stop the development and deployment of its global missile defense system, and play a due role in improving international and regional security environment.

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