Opening Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong at Beijing P5 Conference
Distinguished Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, to welcome all of you to the Beijing P5 Conference during the warm spring month of April with flowers blossoming, grass flourishing and birds singing everywhere. I am sure a P5 conference at such an opportune time will certainly yield fruitful results. Over the past year, the Chinese team composed of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, China Atomic Energy Authority and other agencies, as well as our colleagues from France, Russia, the UK and the US have made enormous efforts to bring together this conference, and laid a solid foundation for its success. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all of you for the hard work.
From London back in 2009 to Beijing today, five years have passed. Five nuclear-weapon states have taken turns to host five conferences. “Five” seems to have become a lucky number for us. We are pleased to note that the P5 conferences have helped to deepen our mutual trust and strengthen our coordination. Now there is a growing momentum for timely communication and joint action. This is our real and concrete contribution to nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In recent years, fundamental and complicated changes have taken place in the international security landscape. And there have emerged new trends and new issues in the fields of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy that call for serious thinking and collaborative efforts. At the recent Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, President Xi Jinping elaborated for the first time on China’s approach to nuclear security and put forward China’s views on global governance in the nuclear field. We hope the current Beijing P5 Conference will serve as a platform where we could build on our past achievements to strive for new progress and work together to explore ways to resolve major nuclear-related issues and advance global governance in the nuclear field.
As three major pillars in the nuclear field, nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy have a direct bearing not only on global peace and stability, but also on the security of all countries and the well-being of their people. Properly harmonizing the relations among these pillars, and enhancing global nuclear governance is in the common interests of the international community and therefore the shared objective of the P5 states. To this end, we should underscore the following aspects:
First, universal security is the fundamental goal of global nuclear governance. To open the door to a world free of nuclear weapons, we must use universal security as the key. To fundamentally prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and better utilize nuclear energy for the well-being of mankind, we must also achieve universal security. For this purpose, we should work to build an international environment featuring peace and stability and eliminate the root causes of conflicts and unrest. We should fully respect and accommodate the legitimate security concerns of all countries and discard zero-sum thinking and cold-war mindset. We should develop country-to-country relations based on mutual understanding and trust and dissolve disputes and suspicion through dialogue on an equal footing.
Second, the leadership role of the P5 states is a major driving force for global nuclear governance. The P5 states, being nuclear-weapon states and also permanent members of the UN Security Council, shoulder the important mission of maintaining global peace and stability, and should also play a leading role in global nuclear governance. Like five fingers of a hand, the P5 states can make a powerful fist only by deepening strategic mutual trust, unity and collaboration. In this way, we will be able to effectively deal with problems in the nuclear field and guide global nuclear governance in the right direction.
Third, multilateral mechanism is the central content for global nuclear governance. Nothing can be accomplished without norms and standards. There are people who criticize that the nuclear disarmament process is moving too slowly, the nuclear proliferation situation is going from bad to worse and the cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy is unsatisfactory. They even believe the problem can be solved promptly by getting rid of the existing international mechanism and starting all over again. This is, in fact, a very wrong approach based on wishful thinking. To solve the problems in the nuclear field, we must give full play to the pivotal roles of existing multilateral agencies like the UN, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the IAEA. This is the only way to bring all key parties on board and ensure that the issues concerned get discussed and positive results achieved.
Fourth, balanced progress and consensus is the basic principle for global nuclear governance. Three pillars, i.e. the nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy are equally important and indispensable, and together, they underpin the overall international nuclear order. We must attach equal importance to all three pillars and push for balanced progress. The nuclear issues bear on international stability and security as well as the vital interests of all countries, decisions on these issues must be made by consensus and through discussions on an equal footing.
Fifth, broad participation is a critical guarantee for global nuclear governance. The world today is a community of common destiny where no country can stay immune from global challenges or solve nuclear-related problems on its own. To push forward the nuclear disarmament process, strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation system and promote peaceful use of nuclear energy, we must allow all countries to play their role as stake-holders. And not only governments should actively participate in this process, the initiative of international and regional organizations, NGOs and civil society should also be mobilized to maximize our synergy.
China is committed to the position of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and has firmly pursued a nuclear strategy of self-defense, strictly honored its non-proliferation obligations, actively participated in international cooperation on peaceful use of nuclear energy, and worked to promote global nuclear governance. As President Xi Jinping put it, the Chinese people are working hard to realize the Chinese dream, a dream about pursuing peace, seeking happiness and making contribution to the world. China stands ready to join hands with other P5 states and the rest of the international community to effectively strengthen global nuclear governance through careful planning and step-to-step efforts, thus making even greater contribution to world peace and security.
In closing, I wish this conference a complete success.