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 U.N. Debate on Disarmament: Chiao Kuan hua Explains Chinese Government's Principled Stand

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U.N. Debate on Disarmament: Chiao Kuan hua Explains Chinese Government's Principled Stand

Source: Peking Review, No. 49, December 3, 1971
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


   Chiao Kuan-hua, Chairman of the Delegation of the People's Republic of China, spoke at the plenary meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the afternoon of November 24 in connection with the proposal of the Soviet Delegation for convening a world disarmament conference witch was under discussion in the Assembly. In the speech, he made clear the Chinese Government's principled stand on this proposal. Following is the full text of his speech.
Mr. President, Fellow Representatives,
   In our speech of November 15, the Delegation of the People's Republic of China already made clear the Chinese Government's basic stand on the question of disarmament. Now I would like to make some remarks on the proposal of the Soviet Delegation for convening a world disarmament conference.
   1. China has always been in favour of disarmament. But in our opinion, it should not be said in a vague way that the question of disarmament is of paramount importance. It would not do to put the blame for the arms race on all countries, and it would not be correct indiscriminately to demand disarmament by all countries alike. The actual state of affairs at present is that imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism are continuing to pursue their policies of aggression and war and that many Asian, African and Latin American countries and some other medium and small countries are being subjected to threats and aggression. These countries cannot but build and strengthen their own defence forces in order to pi*event and resist foreign aggression, interference, subversion and control. For instance, the peoples of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia are engaged in a war against U.S. aggression and for national salvation; the Palestinian and other Arab peoples are engaged in the struggle for their right to national existence and for the recovery of their occupied territories; Guinea and some other African countries are engaged in struggles against the colonialists' armed aggression and threats of subversion; and the people of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea (Bissau), Zimbabwe, Azania and Namibia are engaged in struggles for national liberation against the white colonialist rule and racial oppression. They have taken up arms simply because they are compelled to do so, and it is not at all a question of arms race. At present, the question of paramount importance to the people of these countries and regions is, of course, not disarmament but the defence of national independence and sovereignty and the winning of the right to national existence. The idea that all countries must adopt measures for disarmament without distinguishing the aggressors from the victims of aggression and those who threaten others from those who are threatened can only lead the question of disarmament on to a wrong path and benefit imperialism.
   2. A quarter of a century has elapsed since the end of World War II. To date, the two superpowers are still stationing ground, naval and air forces, well over a million, and have established thousands of military bases abroad. It is these superpowers which have obstinately rejected the prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons, feverishly developing nuclear weapons and contending with each other for nuclear superiority, and they are doing this in order to press forward with their policies of blackmail, expansion, aggression and war. The threat to world peace and the security of the people of all countries originates precisely from these two superpowers. In these circumstances, it is entirely just for the people of the world and all peace-loving countries to demand that those two superpowers withdraw to their own countries all their forces abroad and dismantle all their military bases on foreign soil, and to demand the adoption of effective measures to prevent nuclear war. The General Assembly of the United Nations is duty-bound to take effective and not perfunctory, earnest and not superficial measures to satisfy these just demands and prevent the danger of a new world war, particularly of a nuclear war.
   As early as July 31, 1963, the Chinese Government issued a statement advocating the complete, thorough, total and resolute prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons and proposing the convocation of a conference of the heads of government of all countries of the world to discuss this issue. In this statement, the Chinese Government proposed the following: "All countries in the world, both nuclear and non-nuclear, solemnly declare that they will prohibit and destroy nuclear weapons completely, thoroughly, totally and resolutely. Concretely speaking, they will not use nuclear weapons, nor export, nor import, nor manufacture, nor test, nor stockpile them; and they will destroy all the existing nuclear weapons and their means of delivery in the world, and disband all the existing establishments for the research, testing and manufacture of nuclear weapons in the world."- This proposal of the Chinese Government has received the' support of many countries. Regrettably, however, the two nuclear powers have thus far failed to make a positive response. Instead, since the 60s the two nuclear powers have concocted the Partial Nuclear Tost Ban Treaty, the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, etc. These agreements, which some people laud as intended for nuclear disarmament by accumulative means, are in essence a camouflage for their own nuclear arms expansion in the name of nuclear disarmament, a means for consolidating the nuclear monopoly of the two superpowers and carrying out nuclear threats and nuclear blackmail against the Asian, African and Latin American countries as well as other medium and small countries. Their main idea is: Only I can have nuclear weapons; you are not allowed to have nuclear weapons. This is of course unreasonable. In the absence of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, it is impossible to expect the other countries, which are subjected to the threat of the two nuclear powers, not to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of self-defence.
   3. In order to take the first step towards the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, one must grasp the kep question and not be entangled with subsidiary issues. First and foremost, the countries possessing nuclear weapons should undertake the obligation not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other, and particularly undertake not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries or nuclear-free zones. It should not be difficult to undertake such obligations if one truly has the desire to avert a nuclear war and move towards the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. Many countries are now demanding the establishment of nuclear-free zones or peace zones. These are just demands which China supports. However, to free these zones truly from the threat of nuclear war, it is necessary, first of all. for all the nuclear countries to guarantee that they will not use nuclear weapons against these countries and zones and will withdraw all their nuclear forces and dismantle all their nuclear bases and nuclear installations from these zones. Otherwise, it will be totally impossible to establish nuclear-free zones or peace zones, and the danger of nuclear war will still exist.
   The two nuclear superpowers have not only produced and stockpiled large quantities of nuclear weapons in their own countries but also established nuclear bases on the territories of other countries; their planes carrying nuclear weapons fly in the airspace of other countries and their warships carrying nuclear weapons ply in the oceans all over the world. This poses a grave menace to the security of the people of all countries. The Japanese people had their own experience in this respect. Therefore, if the nuclear powers truly do not have the intention to engage in nuclear threats and really want to realize nuclear disarmament, they should dismantle all their nuclear bases abroad and withdraw all their nuclear weapons and means of delivery from abroad. Otherwise, how can you expect people to believe that you have any desire for nuclear disarmament?
   4. China is compelled to develop nuclear weapons because she is under the nuclear threat of the two superpowers. We develop nuclear weapons solely for the purpose of self-defence and for breaking the superpowers' nuclear monopoly and finally eliminating nuclear weapons. China's nuclear weapons are still in the experimental stage, and the experiments are only carried out within the territory of our own country and confined within necessary limits. China will never be a "superpower" pursuing the policies of nuclear monopoly, nuclear threats and nuclear blackmail, neither today nor ever in the future. Upon China's first nuclear explosion, the Chinese Government solemnly declared to the whole world, and I reaffirmed in my speech of November 15 on behalf of the Chinese Government, that at no time and in no circumstances would China be the first to use nuclear weapons. We always mean what we say. We stand for the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and the prevention of nuclear war. But confronted with the danger of foreign aggression, including that of a sudden nuclear attack, the Chinese people cannot but intensify their preparations against war. Our preparations against war are entirely defensive in nature. Our consistent policy is: We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we will certainly counter-attack. We sincerely hope that an agreement can be reached on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. However, before the realization of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, we cannot give up the necessary self-defence.
   5. The complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, the prevention of nuclear war and the elimination of nuclear threats are matters affecting the peace and security of all countries of the world. On such issues of great importance, all countries in the world, big or small, nuclear or non-nuclear, should have the same say; no handful of countries have the right to brush aside the majority of countries In the world and arbitrarily hold a conference to deliberate and make decisions on such matters. I hereby once again reaffirm on behalf of the Chinese Government that at no time will China ever agree to participate in the so-called nuclear disarmament talks among the nuclear powers behind the backs of the non-nuclear countries. China has a few nuclear weapons, but she will never join the so-called club of nuclear powers.
   The Chinese Government has consistently stood for the convening of a world conference to discuss the question of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. The convocation of such a conference must be truly conducive to nuclear disarmament and the reduction of nuclear war threats and must not be used to cover up nuclear arms expansion and increase the threat of nuclear war; it must help push forward the struggle of the peace-loving people of the world for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and not serve to lull and deceive them.
   Such a conference must have a clear aim, that is, to discuss the question of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and as the first step, to reach a solemn agreement on the non-use of nuclear weapons by all nuclear countries at any time and in any circumstances.
   The Chinese Government also maintains that in order to realize the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, the United States and the Soviet Union which possess large quantities of nuclear weapons should, first of all, issue statements separately or jointly to undertake openly the obligation.
   1) Not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any lime and in any circumstances and not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries and against nuclear-free zones;
   2) Dismantle all nuclear bases set up on the territories of other countries and withdraw all their nuclear armed forces and all nuclear weapons and means of delivery from abroad.
   As for the level of the conference, we still hold that it should be attended by the heads of government of all countries, but we are also prepared to hoar and consider different opinions. As to whether it should be convened inside or outside the United Nations, this question is open for discussion and consultation among all.
   6. In the opinion of the Chinese Delegation, the Soviet Delegation's proposal for convening a world disarmament conference has neither set out a clear aim nor put forward practical steps for its attainment. If the Soviet proposal is to be acted upon, such a world disarmament conference would inevitably become a permanent club for endless discussions that solve no substantive problems, which will result in perpetual arms expansion alongside perpetual disarmament talks. This is not in keeping with the desire of the people of all countries, and we cannot agree to it.
   International disarmament talks have been going on for many years now; innumerable meetings have been held and innumerable declarations, statements and agreements have been published. The United Nations has passed a great number of resolutions. Although many member 6tates have favoured these resolutions out of good intentions and in the hope that they may give an impetus to disarmament, the hard facts are that these resolutions remain but empty papers that are utilized by the two superpowers to hoodwink world opinion.
   The Chinese Delegation holds that we should sum up the historical experience of the past 20 years and more and draw the necessary lessons. We should not allow the United Nations to become a tool for implementing the policies of certain big powers. To meet their political needs of a given time, they resort to various means to secure a majority for the adoption of some high-sounding resolutions. However, after the resolutions have been adopted, the superpowers have continued and even intensified their arms expansion and war preparations. The result of this can only be: The greater the number of the resolutions adopted, the lower the prestige of the United Nations. The time has now come to change this inglorious situation. We should endeavour to make a new start. None of us should act rashly and make hasty decisions on such a major problem as disarmament. We should consult each other fully and continue the discussions to find a way truly conducive to nuclear disarmament, and avoid discussions that lead to no solutions or decisions that are not put into effect, for this can only further disappoint the people of the world.
   Therefore, the Chinese Delegation proposes that the Soviet draft resolution for convening a world disarmament conference not be put to vote at this session of the General Assembly.
  

Source: Peking Review, No. 49, December 3, 1971
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org




  
  
  

 
 
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