Roundtable on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation

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 Roundtable on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation

October 25 2013 - The Roundtable on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation, co-hosted by the United Nations Association of China(UNA-China), the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association(CACDA) and the United Nations Association of UK(UNA-UK), was held in Beijing. The themes of the Roundtable were “towards a nuclear weapons-free world”, “countering proliferation”, “towards full ratification of the CTBT” and “nuclear security: Netherlands 2014 and beyond”. Amb. Chen Jian, former President of the UNA-China and former Under-Secretary-General of the UN chaired the opening ceremony. Amb. Li Changhe, Senior Advisor of CACDA, Ms. Zhang Xiaoan, Vice-President & Director-General of the UNA-China, Amb. John Everard, former UK Ambassador to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mr. Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme of the International Institute for Strategic Studies were among other participants.

The Roundtable shared the view that the UN had played an important role in establishing the international regime of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, urging the nuclear-weapon states to fulfill their commitments on nuclear disarmament, mobilizing an overwhelming majority of its member states to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT), and expanding the consensus of the international community on a nuclear-weapon free world, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear security. However, the roundtable also pointed out, the challenges facing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were still daunting. The Iranian nuclear issue and the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula remained unresolved. Some nuclear-weapon states, such as India, Pakistan and Israel had not participated in the NPT. Some countries’ nuclear policy was uncertain, like Japan. The CTBT has not entered into force. The risks of nuclear terrorism were increasing. Serious disputes still existed among member states on how to promote nuclear disarmament, prevent nuclear proliferation and build a world free of nuclear weapons.

The UK delegates suggested that China, as one of the five nuclear-weapon states, should participate more actively in the multilateral nuclear disarmament process, improve the transparency of its nuclear arsenal, ratify the CTBT at an early time and play a bigger role on the Iranian nuclear issue and the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula.

The Chinese delegates responded that the United States and Russia were owners of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In this regard, it is the responsibility of the two countries to take a lead to further disarm their nuclear weapons. China kept its nuclear force at the minimum level and the number of its nuclear weapons was the lowest among the five nuclear-weapon states. Furthermore, the nuclear policy of China had always been consistently transparent. China upheld its commitment of non-first-use of nuclear weapons. China called for all nuclear-weapon states to destroy their nuclear weapons completely and to make efforts to build a nuclear-weapon free world.

The Chinese delegates emphasized that the reason of the nuclear proliferation was that some nuclear-weapons states heavily depended on nuclear deterrence in its security policy. Therefore, the final solution of nuclear proliferation required the adoption of the new security concept based on mutual respect, trust and collective security. The nuclear-weapon states should reduce their dependence on nuclear deterrence in their security policy. Moreover, the international community should strengthen cooperation, solve their disputes through negotiation, dialogue and other diplomatic methods, and refrain from adopting double standards. The non-proliferation should not be used as a tool to intervene the internal affairs of small and weak countries as well.

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