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China pledges efforts to bring nuclear test ban treaty into force

Zhang Jun (front row, center), China's permanent representative to the United Nations, delivers a speech at a meeting of the UN Security Council on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept 27, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

UNITED NATIONS – A Chinese envoy on Monday pledged that China will continue to contribute to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)'s entry into force.

The CTBT is an important milestone in humanity's quest for a world free of nuclear weapons. In the 25 years since opening for signature, the CTBT has made significant contributions to curtailing the nuclear arms race, mitigating the risk of nuclear war and maintaining international peace and security, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

… I would like to reiterate that China will not become an obstacle to the entry into force of the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty).

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations

"This treaty has become a major pillar of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. The volatile and challenging dynamics of international strategic security and stability that we are seeing today highlight the importance of the CTBT," Zhang told the Security Council.

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China was among the first signatories of the CTBT and has conducted the least number of nuclear tests among all nuclear-weapon states. Since announcing a nuclear test moratorium in 1996, the Chinese government has scrupulously upheld the moratorium and has never wavered in its support for the treaty at the political level, he said.

"In its own way, China has made its due contributions to the entry into force of the treaty, to the preparations for its implementation, and to international cooperation on the treaty. I would like to reiterate that China will not become an obstacle to the entry into force of the CTBT," he said.

Come what may in the shifting international political climate, China will remain staunchly committed to safeguarding multilateralism, maintaining international peace and security and preserving the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. 

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China will continue to work with all the other parties to continuously consolidate the international consensus on a nuclear test ban, contribute to bringing the treaty into force, and make unremitting efforts toward the noble goal of the complete prohibition and total destruction of nuclear weapons at an early date, said Zhang.

To bring the CTBT into force at an early date, the international community should firmly uphold multilateralism and create an enabling security environment for that, he said.

All states should practice true multilateralism, stay committed to win-win cooperation and equity and justice, reject Cold War and zero-sum game mentality, work toward common, universal and durable security, so as to eliminate the root causes of the existence, proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons, he said.

The international community should keep up its advocacy for the complete prohibition and total destruction of nuclear weapons, and enable the vision of a nuclear test ban to gain greater traction among the peoples, Zhang said

Zhang also asked the international community to support the purposes and objectives of the CTBT and build on the strong political momentum for its entry into force.

The international community should keep up its advocacy for the complete prohibition and total destruction of nuclear weapons, and enable the vision of a nuclear test ban to gain greater traction among the peoples. Nuclear-weapon states should honor their commitment to a moratorium on nuclear testing, genuinely cut the weight of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, and make a no-first-use pledge, he said.

There is a need to preserve the international arms control regime and provide more robust institutional safeguards for the entry into force of the treaty, he said.

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All states should work together to uphold the international order based on international law, strengthen the multilateral disarmament regime with the United Nations at its core, comply with and fulfill their international obligations and commitments, renounce double standards and discriminatory practices, and maintain the integrity, authority and effectiveness of the international arms control treaty system, Zhang said.

There is also a need to advance the preparations for the implementation of the CTBT and reinforce a robust foundation of capacity for its entry into force, said Zhang.

The international community should further push ahead with the development of the international data center, the international monitoring system, and the on-site inspection mechanism in a comprehensive and balanced manner and assist developing countries with capacity-building, with a view on full technical readiness for the operation of the verification regime once the treaty enters into force, he said.