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China calls for protecting non-nuclear states from nuclear threats


The Chinese representative at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday called for drafting a road map to reach an international legal framework to protect non-nuclear-weapon states from nuclear threats, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing nuclear threats and the role of major powers in leading by example.

Sun Xiaobo, the director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of Arms Control, stated at the UN meeting that the international society is facing new security challenges as the country with the most powerful military is seeking absolute advantages, repeatedly breaking international treaties and stirring block confrontations, severely undermining strategic balance and stability.

Sun underscored the growing concern over nuclear security and the responsibilities of nuclear-armed nations, calling for countries possessing the largest nuclear arsenals to continue playing a significant role in disarmament and fulfill their special responsibilities. 

He proposed that nuclear-weapon states should negotiate and conclude a treaty on non-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other or issue a political statement, a pivotal step towards reducing nuclear war risks and fostering a safer, more stable international environment.

Sun also raised questions about the balance of national security and socioeconomic development, saying China opposes "decoupling" and the international society should establish a nuclear non-proliferation and export control order based on universal participation and non-discrimination. The order should ensure that developing countries enjoy the fruits of sci-tech progress equally, he added.

Facing new security challenges in the areas of artificial intelligence, space and the internet, Sun said the international society should pay importance to international rule-making.

He also urged the Japanese side to fulfill its international obligations and thoroughly destroy chemical weapons abandoned in China. The Chemical Weapons Convention requires Japan to complete the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China by 2012, but the destruction has been delayed four times, and less than a quarter of the approximately 400,000 Japanese chemical weapons found so far have been destroyed.

Sun said that it is only by upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and advocating multilateralism and globalization that the international society can "break the security dilemma" and achieve win-win results.

"China's national defense construction and development are out of its legitimate security needs, which also contribute to world peace," Sun said, adding China is willing to work with other countries to jointly promote the global disarmament work.

(Cover: A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine Missouri (SSN-780) docked at the Pusan Naval Base, Pusan, South Korea, December 17, 2023. /CFP)

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