International Meeting
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Niu Qiang
Deputy Secretary-General
Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament

Let's Work Together For Complete
Prohibition and Thorough Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Ladies, Gentleman and friends from the peace movement,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament, to express my warmest congratulations on the convening of this important conference and our heartfelt thanks to Japan Council against A & H Bombs for the kind hospitalities extended to me and my colleagues.

At the dawn of the new century, it is of great importance that we peace workers of various countries come together at such a massive conference in Hiroshima to appeal for the complete prohibition and through elimination of nuclear weapons and to deliberate arduous tasks confronting the peace movement. Over the past half century, holding high the banner of anti-war and safeguarding peace, the Japan Council against A & H Bombs has been engaging in various peace activities and peace education among the people to fight against military expansion and arms race and press for disarmament and a nuclear-weapon free world. We wish to take this opportunity to express our much admiration to our Japanese colleagues for all the positive contributions they have made to the promotion of peace.

At present, the international situation is undergoing profound changes. Destabilizing factors and uncertainties in the international situation are notably on the rise. The world is far from tranquil. Hegemonism and power politics still exist and are rearing their ugly heads in some places in the world. The neo-interventionism characterized by “new gun-boat policy “ and economic colonialism has undermined grossly the sovereignty, independence and interests of development of many medium and small-sized countries and consequently posed grave threats to world peace and international security. Therefore, we need to multiply our efforts in order to accomplish the heavy task and the lofty cause of maintaining world peace.

Now I would like to share with you some personal opinions on how to work for the complete prohibition and through elimination of nuclear weapons.

I. At present, the international efforts for nuclear desarmament and non-proliferation are coming to a critical crossroad. The international community including the peace movement must face the challenges bravely, firmly oppose hegemonism, power politics, military aggression and intervention and any attempts to seek absolute military superiority, and strive for the establishment of a new, just , reasonable international political and economic order. Only by so doing, can countries, big or small, poor or rich, strong or weak, with or without nuclear weapons, have a sense of security. And that will effectively remove any internal cause for acquiring, developing and maintaining nuclear weapons and will constitute a necessary guarantee for future successful nuclear disarmament.

II. To realize the complete prohibition and through elimination of nuclear weapons in the 21st century, rid mankind of the dark shadow of nuclear weapons and to establish a better nuclear-weapons-free world, I believe we should proceed from the present actual situation of the world and redouble our efforts in this regard. “A journey of one thousand kilometers must start with the first single step.”  I think we can continue our work in the following aspects.

1. To work for an international environment characterized by stability, trust and co-operation so as to make sure that all countries enjoy universal security. For this purpose, we should firmly oppose the Cold War mentality, hegemonism and power politics. We demand that military bloc be dissolved, use of force or threatening to use force between countries be strictly prohibited and that permanent superiority and absolute security enjoyed by a single country be replaced with collective security and common security. In the meanwhile, a new security concept should be established, which is based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and co-operation. The establishment and practice of this new concept will be helpful to create relaxation in international situation and will naturally push forward the international nuclear disarmament process since the relaxation of the world situation and the progress of the international nuclear disarmament interact with each other and are complementary.

2. States with the largest nuclear arsenals bear special responsibilities for nuclear disarmament and should therefore continue to drastically reduce their nuclear weapons stockpiles in an irreversible way. States that have deployed nuclear weapons outside their borders should withdraw all these weapons home. All nuclear-weapons states should commit themselves without any conditions not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstances, undertake unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and conclude a legally binding international document. The nuclear deterrence strategy of "the first use of nuclear weapons" must be abandoned.

3. As a cornerstone of global strategic stability and a prerequisite for nuclear disarmament, ABM treaty must be observed in a strict way. There should be no research, development or deployment of missile defense system and outer space arms system, which upsets global strategic equilibrium and stability and leads to a new round of arms race.

4. All the signatories, especially nuclear powers should confirm with no ambiguity their commitment to complete prohibition and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons, work for the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world and negotiate for the conclusion of a convention completely prohibiting nuclear weapons.

In our view, two principles and one prerequisite must be upheld to realize a nuclear-weapon-free world, namely, maintenance of the world strategic stability, prevention of threats to security interests of all the countries and securing a peaceful, safe, stable and trustful international environment in which the process of the nuclear disarmament can make continuous progress. However, a grave situation is unfolding against the will of the international community and the people of the world. That is the US congress vetoed the ratification of CTBT, which produced tremendously negative impacts upon the treaty and the process of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Even after the adoption of a resolution to safeguard and abide by ABM at the UN general assembly, the US still threatened that it would consider to withdraw from the treaty. Regardless of opposition from the people around the world, the US has pushed forward with its TMD and NMD development and deployment, a move that runs counter to the trend of the times, hinders the international disarmament and arms control process and will produce grave negative impacts on global and regional peace, stability and development. One point I especially wish to make here is that Japan and US have already created a serious situation by jointly developing TMD system. If China's sovereignty, which is bound to be firmly opposed by all the Chinese people.

III. China was compelled to develop nuclear weapons under special historical circumstances. Over the past century and more, the Chinese nation had suffered endless misery as a result of foreign invasions and the scourge of wars. Even after the founding of New China, China for a long time was still subject to the dark shadow of wars including repeated nuclear blackmails and threats. To survive and develop itself, China had no other options. The small number of nuclear weapons China has developed is totally for the purpose of defense.

Given the background of its development of nuclear weapons in the past, China has consistently adopted a responsible attitude on the issue of the nuclear disarmament and has made important contributions in the regard. 1. From the very same day it came into the possession of nuclear weapons. China has solemnly declared that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstances. China has also undertaken unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China is the sole nuclear weapons state that has made and strictly observed such commitment. 2. China has never deplyed any nuclear weaons outside of its borders, nor used or threatened to use nuclear wepons against other countries. 3. China has exercised utmost restraint on the issue of nuclear weapons and has never participation arms race of any kind. The nuclear tests it conducted and nuclear weapons developed are all on a limited scale. 4. China has always vigorously supported efforts made by relevant countries and regions to establish nuclear-weapons-free zones on the basis of voluntary negotiations and discussions. China provides unconditional security assurance to the signatories to nuclear-weapon-free zones treaty. 5. China has always advocated the complete prohibition and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons. China's national defense policies are defensive in nature. China seeks no hegemony, expansion or overseas deployment, and enters no military alliance or arms race. Its military expenditure has been kept at a low level. In fact, had other nuclear-weapons states adopted the same policies like China does, the world we live today would have witnessed a totally different situation of the nuclear disarmament.

Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Chinese people are peace-loving people. China is an important force for peace in Asia and in the world at large. Today China is concentrating all its efforts on peaceful development. China's economic development can only strengthen the complementary nature of the world economy, promote common prosperity and consequently is conducive to peace and stability in Asia and in the world as a whole.

As the new century is approaching, we are ready to work together with the people of all countries for the complete prohibition and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons and for a better future.

Finally, let me wish the Conference full success!

Thank you.

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