People's Daily Friday, January 28, 2000

China Deems World Arms Control, Disarmament 'at the Crossroads'

China said on January 27 that the international arms control and disarmament cause is now "at the cross-roads," and urged the international community to make a concerted effort to conduct "fair, reasonable and comprehensive" disarmament.

"With the advent the new century and the new millennium, the Chinese people whole-heartedly hope to achieve the goal of peace, security and development with all the other peoples in the world," Chinese delegate Hu Xiaodi told the first plenum of the Conference on Disarmament in 2000.

"International arms control and disarmament is now at the cross-roads" because of a lingering Cold War mentality, raging hegemonism and power politics, enlarging military alliances and other negative developments, he warned.

The Cold War mentality still exists in the world today and is tending to resurge Hu said, adding that hegemonism and power politics are increasingly rampant, with gross intervention in other countries' internal affairs reaching its peak, and the use of massive force among nations taking place without U.N. approval.

A mammoth military alliance has been enlarged and consolidated rather than allowed to wither away, he said.

Regardless of requirements and appeals made by the United Nations Assembly, some countries have applied pragmatic and double standards on arms control and arms reduction treaties. They have even sought to weaken or nullify treaties, in order to clear the way for research, development and proliferation of advanced missile defense systems, which will imperil strategic balance and stability.

"All these developments, which have weakened confidence and security perceptions of states, are posing serious threat to the achievements made in the process of arms control and disarmament and will certainly bring about devastating effects to the arms control and disarmament process in the future," he said.

Hu said that preventing an arms race in outer space and re-establishing a special committee on nuclear disarmament should be priorities of the disarmament conference in its year 2000 session.

According to a resolution adopted last year by the U.N. General Assembly, he said, the forum should play "a leading role" in negotiating and concluding legal documents to prevent an arms race in outer space.

The resolution requires the conference to re-establish a special committee on nuclear disarmament in 2000 as soon as possible so that negotiations could be opened at an early date on programs to phase out nuclear weapons and their eventual elimination.

The prevention of an arms race in outer space, including prohibiting arms used in outer space and anti-missile systems that will damage strategic stability, is the top priority, he said.

It is the serious situation in this area that has hindered the nuclear disarmament process and is undermining the basis of nuclear non-proliferation, he stressed. Therefore, he added, the Chinese delegation calls for re-establishing the special committee on preventing outer-space arms race and opening negotiations on the experiment, deployment and use of arms, arms systems and their components in the outer space.

China is also for holding serious multi-lateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament in order to fulfill the lofty goal of completely eliminating nuclear arms at an early date, he said.