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China issues white paper on arms control
Updated: 2005-09-01 10:22

China issued a white paper (see full text) Thursday on the Chinese Government's policies and positions on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation and on China's involvement in the international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation affairs.

The white paper, issued by the Information Office of the State Council, says China pursues an independent foreign policy of peaceand follows the road of peaceful development. China will never seek hegemony and never be the first to use nuclear weapons. Thesepolicies will not change.

The wide scope and magnitude of China's unilateral disarmament over the past 20 years are rarely seen in the history of international arms control and disarmament, says the white paper entitled Endeavors for Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

China firmly opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. China does not wishto see a missile defense system produce negative impact on global strategic stability, bring new unstable factors to international and regional peace and security, erode trust among big powers, or undermine legitimate security interests of other countries, says the paper.

"As the Taiwan question involves its core interests, China opposes the attempt by any country to provide help or protection to the Taiwan region of China in the field of missile defense by any means," the paper says.

China has all along stood for peaceful use of outer space and opposes weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, says thepaper.

China is committed to properly addressing humanitarian issues in the arms control field and firmly combating illegal activities in the field of small arms and light weapons, the white paper says.

On nuclear disarmament, the paper says China has conducted the smallest number of nuclear tests among the five nuclear-weapon states. China has never taken part and will never take part in anynuclear arms race. China has never deployed nuclear weapons outside its own territories. In the 1990s, China closed down a nuclear weapon research and development base in Qinghai Province.

"China's development of nuclear weapons has always been for thepurpose of self-defense," the paper says.

Since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, the Chinese Government has solemnly declared that it would not be the first to use such weapons at any time and in any circumstance. Whether confronted with the nuclear threat and nuclear blackmail during the Cold War, or faced with the great changes that have taken place in the international security environment after the Cold War, China has always stayed true to its commitment. China's policy in this regard will remain unchanged in the future, the white paper said.

Ever since the first day when it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has committed unconditionally not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, the white paper says.

In July 1996, the Chinese Government declared a moratorium on nuclear test, and has all along honored such commitment, says the paper. It says China supports endeavors to establish nuclear-weapon-free and WMD-free zones in the Middle East and hopes to see its early realization. China respects and welcomes Mongolia's status as a nuclear-weapon-free country. China supportsdenuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

On biological and chemical weapons, the paper says China suffered a lot from the use of biological and chemical weapons by foreign countries in history. The chemical weapons abandoned by Japan on Chinese soil are still posing a grave and real threat to the lives and property of the Chinese people, and to the ecological environment.

China has received 95 on-site inspections by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the conclusions ofwhich have all demonstrated that China has strictly implemented its obligations under the Convention, according to the paper.

The paper says China has unswervingly pursued a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. Under the premise of ensuring national security interests, China has always kept the quantity and size of its armed forces at the minimum level necessary for maintaining national security and has for many timestaken the initiative to adopt unilateral disarmament.

China made the decision to downsize its military personnel by one million in 1985. By 1987, the size of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had been reduced from 4.238 million to 3.235 million and further reductions followed thereafter. So far, China has reduced its military size to the level of 2.3 million.

"The wide scope and magnitude of China's unilateral disarmamentin such a relatively short period of time are rarely seen in the history of international arms control and disarmament. This has fully demonstrated the firm belief of the Chinese Government and people on the arms control and disarmament cause as well as their sincere aspiration for peace and development," says the paper.

The Chinese Government has kept its defense expenditure under strict control in order to concentrate its strength on economic development. From 1979 to 2004, the percentages of China's defenseexpenditure to its financial expenditure of the same period dropped by about 10 percentage points.

Based on the economic development and revenue growth, China hasmoderately increased its defense expenditure in recent years. However, the increase was relatively small. The increased part of the defense expenditure has primarily been used for increasing salaries and welfare of the military personnel, says the paper.

"Examined and approved by the National People's Congress, China's defense budget is open and transparent," says the paper.

China has actively participated in international non-proliferation process and honored all its obligations. China attaches importance to and actively participates in bilateral exchanges and cooperation on non-proliferation. China supports theimportant role played by the UN in the field of non-proliferation.

To tighten export control to pursue the non-proliferation goal,the paper says, China has gradually set up a comprehensive legal system for export control of nuclear, biological, chemical, missile and other sensitive items and technologies as well as all military products.

China's legislation on export control widely embraces such international practices as licensing system, end-user and end-use certification, list control and "catch-all" principle, the paper says.

China's non-proliferation export control involves many of the government's functional departments. So far, a mechanism for a clear division of responsibility and coordination has been established among these departments, the paper says.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to law enforcement and has adopted a series of effective measures to ensure the implementation of laws and regulations on export control.

According to the paper, since the end of 2002, the Chinese Government has dealt with scores of cases of various types concerning illegal export of sensitive items and technologies.

The white paper says the Chinese nation loves peace and advocates that nothing is more valuable than peace. Subjected to untold external aggression and suppression in its modern history, China fully understands how precious peace is. China needs a long-lasting and stable international environment of peace for herdevelopment, which, in turn, will promote world peace and progress.

The white paper says China, holding high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, will remain forever a staunch force for safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

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