|China: Arms Control and Disarmament(November 1995)|
I. Promoting Peace and Development for All Mankind
II. Military Personnel Reduced
III. Maintaining a Low Level of Defence Spending
IV. Peaceful Uses for Military Industrial Technologies
V. Strict Control over the Transfer of Sensitive Materials and Military Equipment
VI. Actively Promoting International Arms Control and Disarmament
As the world marks the 50th anniversaries of the victories in the global anti-fascist war and China's War of Resistance Against Japan and the founding of the United Nations, it must not be forgotten that twice in this century mankind has suffered from the enormity of world war, that war has repeatedly brought man catastrophic suffering.
Given the new international situation, the importance of arms control and disarmament has become ever more apparent to the international community, both as a component of national security policies and as an effective measure to reduce the danger of war.
China needs a peaceful environment in order to be able to devote itself completely to its socialist modernization programme. Guided by its aspiration to peace and development, China has spared no effort to safeguard international peace, security and stability and afforded the greatest concern to arms control and disarmament. China has always opposed the arms race and advocated that the danger of war be lessened or eliminated through arms control and disarmament. As the international situation has changed, China, while retaining the precondition that the nation maintain necessary defence capabilities, has unilaterally adopted a series of measures aimed at disarmament. These include greatly reducing military staff, reducing defence spending, strictly controlling transfers of sensitive materials, technology and military equipment and converting defence technologies industry to civilian production. China has further made its due contributions as a developing nation and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, proffering many realistic, rational proposals geared to actively promote the international arms control and disarmament process.
China's efforts towards arms control and disarmament have proven to the world that it is positive, sincere and responsible regards resolving this issue. China has been and always will remain a reliable force in the cause of safeguarding world peace and promoting mankind's common development.
Working for lasting world peace and creating a happy life and an advanced culture for all mankind, lofty ideals held by all the world's peoples, are likewise the sincerely held aspirations of the Chinese people.
The Chinese nation loves peace dearly and has made major contributions to peace and other progressive causes for all of mankind. Modern history has served as grim witness to China's great sufferings and the humiliation of the Chinese people as the result of imperialist and colonialist invasion and partition. Countless Chinese sons and daughters shed their blood or laid down their lives to free the nation from this cruel bondage and plundering, advancing wave upon wave, until national liberation and independence were finally won under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese people know only too well the true value of independence, sovereignty and equality.
China's guiding principle of seeking peace and development has been reflected in each of the constitutions the nation has adopted since the founding of New China. The Common Programme of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which was passed at the First Plenary Session of the CPPCC in September, 1949 and served as a provisional state constitution, affirmed that China would "stand for lasting international peace and friendly cooperation among the people of the world, and oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war." The Constitution of 1954 stipulated that "the steadfast policy of our country in international affairs is to work hard for the lofty goal of world peace and progress for mankind." The present Constitution, adopted in 1982, once again states that China "strives to safeguard world peace and promote the cause of human progress."
The forces for world peace have grown rapidly since the 1980s, and peace and development have become the two major issues of the day. China's scientific analysis of the development trends and characteristics of the international situation has produced the conclusion that with the concerted efforts of people throughout the world, a new world war can not only be deferred but it can possibly be avoided as well. In the new era of peace and development, the task of first importance facing the Chinese people is to develop the economy and change the poverty and backwardness of the nation. With this in mind, China has focused its development strategy on economic construction.
China's modernization programme is an important component of the cause for the common development and progress of mankind. A peaceful international environment is necessary for China's development and a prosperous and stable China, in turn, will increasingly benefit world peace. For this reason, China unwaveringly pursues a foreign policy of peace and independence. It resolutely protects its national independence and sovereignty and opposes foreign interference; seeks to establish and develop extensive, friendly relations with all the world's countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, strengthen unity and cooperation with developing countries and actively develop good-neighbourly relations with bordering nations; stands for the proposition that all nations, big or small, are equal and opposes hegemonism and power politics in any form; advocates the settlement of international disputes through peaceful means; and opposes the threat or use of force in international relations.
China's national defence policy is defensive in nature. Its basic goals are to consolidate national defence, resist foreign aggression, defend the nation's sovereignty over its land, sea and air as well as its maritime rights and interests, and safeguard national unity and security. National defence work in China is subordinate to and in service of the nation's overall economic construction, adhering to the principles of "combining peacetime with wartime" and "integrating the army with the people." In terms of military strategy, China follows a policy of positive defence and adheres to the idea of people's war. China does not seek world or regional hegemony. China does not station any troops or set up any military bases in any foreign country. China's national defence construction is not directed against any country, and thus, does not pose a threat to any country.
During the course of foreign policy implementation and national defence construction, China attaches importance to the active role of arms control and disarmament, holding that arms control and disarmament are conducive to reducing and eliminating the danger of war and increasing factors for international peace and security. Such controls and reductions will help improve relations and mutual trusamong nations and will enable the contribution of more resources, capital and technology to economic and social development.
Protracted, unremitting efforts by the international community have led to great progress in international arms control and disarmament in the past few years. Nonetheless, mankind should remain coolly cognizant that the path to international arms control and disarmament is still extremely complex and difficult. While some progress has been made in nuclear disarmament, the major nuclear powers, with the world's most sophisticated and largest quantity of nuclear weapons in hand, have neither abandoned their policy of nuclear deterrence nor stopped the development of nuclear weapons and outer space weapons including guided missile defence systems. On the one hand, they vie with one another in dumping their advanced weapons on the international market, even using weapons transfers as a means to interfere in other nations' domestic affairs. On the other, they resort to discriminative anti-proliferation and arms control measures, directing the spearhead of arms control at the developing countries.
China holds that the international community should promote fair, rational, comprehensive and balanced arms control and disarmament and observe the following principles:
- All nations should follow the purposes and principles for safeguarding international peace and security contained in the Charter of the United Nations and other relevant international legal norms. At the same time arms control and disarmament is worked for, aggression must be curbed. Regional conflicts must be fairly and rationally resolved and force or threat of force should not be used in international relations. Hegemonism and power politics should be eliminated in international relations, so as to create an international environment and conditions favourable to disarmament.
- The ultimate goal of disarmament is the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (including chemical and biological weapons), the complete prohibition of outer space weapons, and reductions in conventional arms as befits actual circumstances. The big powers, possessors of the largest and most sophisticated nuclear and conventional arsenals, bear a special responsibility in arms control and disarmament
- Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The prevention of proliferation is not in itself the ultimate goal. Only through complete prohibition and thorough destruction of such weapons can proliferation be effectively prevented. Preventing proliferation should neither present an obstacle to the just rights and interests of all countries in the peaceful use of science and technology nor restrict or harm economic, scientific and technological development in developing countries.
- All nations have the right to maintaining an appropriate national defence capability and to legitimate self-defence. It is necessary at all stages of the arms control and disarmament process to ensure all nations from sustaining damage to their security. All nations, big or small, have the right to join in discussions and decisions on arms control and disarmament on an equal basis. The implementation of international arms control and disarmament must not impair the independence and sovereignty of any nation, entail the use of force or the threat of force, or interfere with the internal affairs of any nation.
- All countries, particularly developed nations, should strictly control the transfer of sensitive materials, technologies and military equipment, practise restraint and halt the irresponsible transfer of weapons.
- All nations should endorse, respect and support the arms control and disarmament measures adopted after voluntary consultation, negotiation and agreement between nations and in light of actual regional circumstances.
For many years China has adhered to these basic principles, bearing its due share of international arms control and disarmament obligations and responsibilities, working hard to promote peace and development for humanity.
In May, 1985, China solemnly declared that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) would reduce military personnel by one million. This was the most representative of China's many unilateral moves to disarmament, giving proof of the nation's determination to actively promote arms control and disarmament. This action stood in sharp contrast to the arms race pursued by the two major military blocs existing in the world at that time.
China's vast land and large population have justified the necessity of maintaining a standing army of a certain size in order to maintain national security. The PLA is a people's army led by the Communist Party of China. Its duty is to consolidate national defence, resist aggression, curb subversion and efforts to split the nation, defend the motherland, safeguard the people's peaceful labour, join in building the country and strive to serve the people.
While meeting the precondition of ensuring the interests of the national security, China has always kept its military personnel at a minimum level. For a long period following the founding of the People's Republic, China was subject to isolation, blockade, subversion and sabotage by the imperialists and hegemonists, and, as a result, the PLA was often on a combat-ready alert. Even when faced with such circumstances, China made great efforts towards arms control and twice, in 1955 and 1958, effected large-scale disarmament. The 1980s saw marked improvement in China's security environment. In order to concentrate on rapid economic development and to further raise the quality of its armed forces, the precept guiding China's army-building was strategically shifted from always being prepared against a massive war of invasion to peacetime construction. China carried out large-scale disarmament in order to effect this goal.
As a prelude to this extensive unilateral disarmament, the Chinese armed forces were reduced, reorganized and restructured between 1982 and 1984. In May, 1985, China decided to reduce its military personnel by one million. Action on this scale was rare in the sphere of contemporary international arms control and disarmament.
- Reducing personnel. By 1987, the 4.238-million-strong PLA had been reduced to 3.235 million. Subsequently, still further reductions were made. By 1990, the PLA manpower was reduced to 3.199 million, overshooting the declared target of one million men. The 1.039 million demobilized soldiers represented 24.5 percent of the army's original strength.
- Dismantling and merging portions of the military organization. Reapportionment and merger reduced the number of military area commands from eleven to seven. More than 5,900 units above the regimental level were dispersed through dismantling, merging, demoting or reforming.
- Adoption of a civil position system. Most of the officers on active duty working in scientific research, engineering, education, literature and arts and public health were reclassified as working in civil positions within the army.
- Reductions in weaponry. Throughout the armed forces 10,000 artillery pieces of various kinds were removed from service, along with over 1,100 tanks, approximately 2,500 airplanes, and over 610 naval vessels.
- Opening certain military facilities to the public. Nationwide, 101 military airports and 29 military harbours have been opened to the public, and some military facilities have been put to civilian use.
China's unilateral, massive reduction of its armed forces took place at a time when the cold war was still on and the protracted disarmament talks between the U.S. and the Soviet Union were still without outcome. This action was not only conducive to slowing the arms race between the two major blocs, the East and West, and to the relaxation of international tension at the time, but also beneficial to the gradual creation of an atmosphere of mutual trust among the world's nations, and the improvement of the environment for arms control and disarmament and was thus a major contribution towards promoting the process of the international arms control and disarmament.
China has consistently stressed rationally scaled expenditure on defence. The costs of defence are appropriately allocated based on the nation's financial capacities, while retaining the premise of overall balance. Key areas are guaranteed attention, funds are rationally used and strict economy practised so as to ensure maximum benefit and be sure that the minimum requirements for national defence work are met within the limited budget. Since the initiation of the reform and opening policy, China has placed work in defence in a position subordinate to and in service of overall national economic construction. Relatively major reapportionments and reductions have been made so as to strictly control defence spending.
China has consistently adopted a serious-minded attitude towards the management of spending on defence. A complete administrative and regulatory system tightly geared to the principles of strict control, strict management and strict supervision has been established and fine tuned. China's defence budget and final accounts are examined and approved by the National People's Congress and must be strictly implemented once approved. The state and military auditing departments examine and supervise defence appropriations and the results thereby produced so as to ensure that defence expenditure is strictly implemented and rationally used.
In 1994, China's expenditure on national defence totalled 55.071 billion RMB yuan; 34.09 percent (18.774 billion yuan) was spent on living expenses, principally on salaries, food and uniforms; 34.22 percent (18.845 billion yuan) was spent on maintenance of activities, principally military training, construction and maintenance of facilities, water, electricity and heating; 31.69 percent (17.452 billion yuan) was spent on equipment, including research, test, purchase, maintenance, transportation and storage. Thus, maintenance-type activities absorb the largest portion of the defence budget. Moreover, of this expenditure, in addition to that spent to ensure the personnel's living and normal activities a considerable sum, nearly 3.7 billion yuan, is spent to fund activities associated with social welfare, such as pensions for retired officers and schools and kindergartens for children of military personnel.
Plain living and hard working is the people's army's fine tradition. The PLA economizes by frequently inventorying warehouses to make the best use of stored goods and repairing rather than replacing old facilities and equipment. In addition, in so far as is within its capacity it joins in agricultural, sideline and industrial production and engages in business. These activities are primarily undertaken to provide employment for the families of military personnel, to improve life culturally and materially in grass-roots units and to support the nation's overall economic construction.
China's expenditure on national defence has consistently been kept at a low level necessary to ensure that the requirements for national security are met. Between 1979 and 1994 defence spending increased 6.22 percent annually in absolute terms. Over that same period, the general retail price index of commodities increased 7.7 percent annually. During these sixteen years an expenditure of 581.294 billion yuan would have been needed to maintain the 1979 level of defence spending. However, only 71.65 percent of this figure, 416.499 billion yuan, was appropriated. Expenditure on personnel's living expenses was increased by a large margin to keep up with the spiralling costs of living. In recent years, increases in annual defence spending have for the most part simply matched price increases or gone to ensure the standard of living of personnel.
China has a fairly low level of defence spending compared with that announced by other countries. It spent only US$ 6.39 billion on defence in 1994 (calculated at the average annual exchange rate of the RMB yuan to the US dollar), 2.3 percent that spent by the United States, 18.3 percent that by Britain, 18.6 percent that by France and 13.9 percent that by Japan. Per capita defence spending by that year was only US$ 5.36.
China's spending on defence is low in relative terms as well as absolute terms. In 1979, defence expenditure in China accounted for 5.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP); in 1994, 1.3 percent. This may be compared with 4.2 percent in the United States, 3.6 percent in Britain and 3.18 percent in France. Again, in 1979, defence accounted for 18.5 percent of total expenditure by the Chinese government; in 1994, 9.5 percent. In the United States this figure stood at 18.9 percent, in Britain 9.64 percent and in France 13.6 percent.
As these facts make clear, China has a pattern of low expenditure on defence. As long as there is no serious threat to the nation's sovereignty or security, China will not increase its defence spending substantially or by a large margin. It will never threaten or invade any other country.
Beginning at the end of the 1970s, China began a planned and comprehensive transfer of defence technologies to civilian use. This transfer is part of the nation's development strategy and will not only promote national economic development but also help to consolidate China's achievements in arms control and disarmament.
During the course of this transfer, China has effected a major readjustment in military products research and production capacity, converting two thirds to serving economic construction. In addition, it has reformed the management system and the industrial and product structures of the defence industry, putting its accomplishments in defence technologies to civilian use.
In 1989, the central government established a "civilian applications of military technology liason group" comprised of the State Planning Commission, the State Scientific and Technological Commission and the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. In provinces and municipalities with concentrations of defence industries, leading groups have been established to coordinate the transfer from military to civilian use, strengthening organization in the organic inclusion of such transfers in national, regional and industrial development plans. Today, the government departments formerly in charge of military production have already been changed into general corporations within their respective trades and, in accordance with the principles of the socialist market economy, will step by step develop into economic entities engaging in research, production and business.
During the Sixth (1981-1985) and Seventh (1986-1990) Five-Year Plans for economic and social development, China invested approximately four billion yuan in projects aimed at effecting the transfer. During the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-1995), an additional more than ten billion yuan has been invested. The military industrial enterprises enjoy the same series of preferential policies and reform measures the central government offers for facilitating the operation of enterprises and follow the contract responsibility system. As is stipulated in their contracts, these enterprises will surrender a portion of their profits to the government in addition to taxes. The remaining profits produced by civilian goods will be mostly used to boost production of such goods and improve the lives of those working for the enterprises.
Transforming China's defence industry gradually from its former incarnation as a monolithic producer of military products to today's diversified producer of products for military and civilian consumers has ensured that the needs of peacetime national defence construction are met, while at the same time producing high-quality industrial and consumer goods for society at large, thus playing an important role in national economic construction. As a result of technical transformation and new construction under the direction of the national industrial policy, approximately 450 production lines are now operating in the defence industry at a certain economic scale producing civilian consumer goods. The output value of civilian consumer goods produced by defence industry departments has been increasing 20 percent per annum and in 1994 represented approximately 80 percent of the total output value of such departments as opposed to 8 percent in 1979.
Today, such enterprises have the capacity to produce more than 15,000 products for civilian use in over 50 categories. Products include those used in telecommunications, energy resources, transportation, textiles and other light industries, medicine and health, and engineering and building industries. Outputs of some products have made a substantial contribution to the nation's total, for example automobiles (9 percent), motorcycles (60 percent), freight trains (26 percent) and coal excavation equipment (24 percent). In addition, these enterprises have used military facilities and technology to bring many products and projects from the drawing board to production including the Yun-5, Yun-7, Yun-8 and Yun-12 civil aircraft, the MD-82 and MD-90 large passenger airplanes (produced in cooperation with a foreign partner), the Galaxy-II supercomputer capable of handling 1 billion operations per second and its application software, the 300,000-KW Qinshan Nuclear Power Station, shuttle oil tankers, multi-function container ships, large air-cooled container ships and other new and hi-tech products. Between 1984 and 1994, China launched 11 satellites for civilian applications. Newly launched communications satellites have increased satellite television coverage in China to 82 percent. The meteorological satellite system has brought increased accuracy to weather forecasting, substantially reducing economic losses due to natural calamities. Satellite remote sensing technology has produced great economic benefits.
China has established a centre for the application of the national defence technologies and a network to disseminate products and information in order to better convert such technologies to civilian use in a planned way. In the last dozen or so years, more than 2,500 defence technologies have been released for civilian use, greatly promoting technological progress and development in relevant fields.
The defence industry has cooperated extensively with foreign partners in developing products for civilian use. By 1994, over 300 such joint ventures had been established in China.
China's efforts to benefit mankind through military technology have drawn the attention of the international community. The seminars on the transfer of military technology to civilian use jointly held by China and the United Nations in Beijing and in Hong Kong received positive worldwide response. The declaration on such transfers issued by the 1993 Hong Kong seminar stated that world peace and sustained economic development are the common wish of all the world's people; disarmament and peace are complementary, and the transfer of military technology to civilian use is an indispensable link in the chain of promotion of disarmament, and the resulting promotion of peace and development.
The transfer of military technology to civilian use has contributed to national economic construction in China and moreover provided various countries in the world with successful experience for such conversion in peacetime.
The transfer of sensitive materials and military equipment is a major issue in the field of international arms control and disarmament and one which China has consistently approached with the utmost gravity.
China supports the three major goals set forth in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, accelerating nuclear disarmament, and promoting international cooperation in the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. China has consistently stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, pursuing a policy of not supporting, encouraging or engaging in the proliferation of nuclear weapons and not assisting any other country in the development of such weapons. At the same time, China holds that preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons should not proceed without due regard for the just rights and interests of all countries in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly in the case of developing countries. There must not be a double standard whereby anti-nuclear proliferation is used as a pretext to limit or retard the peaceful use of nuclear energy by developing nations.
China holds that the safeguard regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an important component of the efforts to assure the effectiveness of the NPT. Even prior to acceding to the treaty, China undertook to fulfill the obligations stipulated by the IAEA Statute, including the obligation to apply IAEA safeguard. Since 1992 when it became a party to the treaty, it has strictly fulfilled all its obligations under the Treaty, including the obligation to cooperate fully with the IAEA in safeguard application. China follows three principles regarding nuclear exports: exports serving peaceful use only, accepting IAEA's safeguards and no retransfers to a third country without China's consent. Only specialized government-designated companies can handle nuclear exports and in each instance they must apply for approval from relevant governmental departments. All exports of nuclear materials and equipment will be subject to IAEA safeguard. China has never exported sensitive technologies such as those for uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water production.
With a view to supporting IAEA safeguard, in November, 1991, China officially declared that on a continuing basis it would report to the IAEA any export to or import from non-nuclear-weapon states involving nuclear materials of one effective kilogramme or above. In July, 1993, China formally promised that it would voluntarily report to the agency any imports or exports of nuclear materials, and all exports of nuclear equipment and related non-nuclear materials.
In 1985, China declared that it would of its own free will submit part of its civilian nuclear facilities to the IAEA for safeguards. In 1988 China and the IAEA signed an agreement on voluntary safeguard, under which China provided the IAEA with a listing of facilities subject to such safeguard and established SSAC. The system is supervised, administered and operated respectively by the competent government department, the facility concerned and technological support unit. The competent government department is responsible for organizing the implementation of the safeguard agreement between China and the IAEA. The nuclear facility management is responsible for establishing measurement, recording and reporting regimes in line with the requirements of the agreement, as well as receiving on-site investigations by IAEA inspectors.
China has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of chemical weapons. It does not produce or possess chemical weapons. China was in the first group of countries to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, and joined in the work of the Preparatory Commission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in a conscientious and constructive manner. China itself suffered greatly from chemical weapons in the past. Large quantities of chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese aggressor troops are found in China to this day, which still threaten the safety and lives and the living environment of the local people. China demands that, in keeping with the stipulations of the convention, the country leaving chemical weapons in another country destroy all such weapons as soon as possible. China hopes that the convention will go into effect at an early date and be thoroughly and effectively implemented, so as to free mankind as soon as possible from the threat of chemical weapons and bring about a world free of such weapons.
China has a massive civilian chemical industry. It is, however, very cautious and responsible regards the export of chemicals that could be used to manufacture chemical weapons and related technologies and equipment, refusing such exports if they are to be used for the purpose of manufacturing chemical weapons. In order to ensure these items if exported not to be used in the production of chemical weapons, the Chinese government has drafted regulations and measures for the control of their exportation. A detailed list of chemicals subject to export control has been drawn up in accordance with the Verification Annex of the convention. Import and export of chemicals on this list and technologies and equipment used in their manufacture are under the centralized management of the Ministry of Chemical Industry (MCI). Business related to such imports and exports is handled by specialized enterprises designated by MCI and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC). MCI, MOFTEC and the General Administration of Customs (GAC) take joint responsibility for examining and approving imports and exports, issuing licenses and making inspections. China insists that the governments of importing countries provide assurances that the relevant goods imported from China not be used to manufacture chemical weapons or retransferred to a third country.
China has consistently advocated a complete prohibition and thorough destruction of biological weapons. It opposes the production of biological weapons by any country and their proliferation in any form by any country. In 1984 China acceded to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, and since that date it has fully and conscientiously fulfilled its obligations under the convention. Since 1987 China has year after year reported to the United Nations on convention-related information and data in accordance with the decisions of the Review Conferences of the convention. China supports measures that help strengthen the effectiveness of the convention. It will actively join in discussions of the Ad Hoc Group on promoting international cooperation, enhancing trust, strengthening verification, and other issues. With regard to the transfer of military equipment and related technology, China respects the right of every country to self-defence aimed at safeguarding its own security in accordance with the relevant principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, but at the same time it is very concerned about the adverse effects on world security and regional stability arising from excessive accumulations of weaponry.
For many years until the early 1980s, China did not engage in weapons export trade, and since then the volume of such exports has been limited. In accordance with a resolution by the UN General Assembly, China participates in the United Nations register of conventional arms transfers. As these records make clear, China's exports of conventional weapons are only a small portion of those of the United States, Russia, Britain, France or Germany.
China consistently adheres to a series of principles on conventional weapons transfers. The export of such weapons should help the recipient nation increase its appropriate defence capacity. The transfer must not impair peace, safety or stability regionally or globally. China does not use trade in weaponry to interfere in sovereign states' internal affairs.
China strictly controls transfers of military equipment and related technologies and has established an appropriate administrative organization and operating mechanism to achieve this goal. The State Administrative Committee on Military Products Trade (SACMPT), under the leadership of the State Council and the Central Military Commission, is responsible for the centralized control of transfers of military equipment and related technologies. Its main function is drafting laws and policies governing such transfers. It is mainly comprised of leading personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Headquarters of the General Staff, the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, MOFTEC and other relevant departments. As the administrative arm of the SACMPT, the State Bureau of Military Products Trade is responsible for handling day-to-day affairs.
Governmental departments and companies engaged in transfers of military equipment and technologies must be authorized, registered and approved by the government. Their business activities must remain strictly within the scope of operation approved. Contracts for transfer of military equipment and technologies require approval before gaining effect. Major transfer items and contracts must be examined by the SACMPT and approved by the State Council and the Central Military Commission. Stern legal sanctions shall be taken against any company or individual who transfers military equipment and technologies without proper governmental examination and approval.
The principles and measures to prevent the proliferation of weaponry and unwarranted transfers of military equipment that China has consistently upheld have helped preserve world peace and regional stability and promote the healthy development of international arms control and disarmament.
China has always held that common effort by all nations is necessary to realize disarmament and safeguard world peace. It has long stressed and supported international community's sustained efforts to promote arms control and disarmament. Since China was restored to its rightful seat in the United Nations in 1971, it has even more actively participated in international arms control and disarmament activities.
China conscientiously attends meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, the First Committee which considers issues on disarmament and international security and the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations. It sent highlevel delegations to the three UN special sessions on disarmament issues and to the UN Conference on the Relationship Between Disarmament and Development
China stresses and supports the conclusion of arms control and disarmament agreements and treaties through negotiation. Beginning in 1980, it has formally joined in the work of the Geneva Conference on Disarmament and has actively promoted negotiations on a wide variety of disarmament issues and the conclusion of relevant conventions.
China appreciates and supports disarmament activities proposed by the United Nations. In 1987, China, in cooperation with the United Nations, hosted the Regional Symposium on World Disarmament Campaign in Beijing. In response to United Nations' proposals, China carried out extensive publicity on disarmament issues and implemented a series of nationwide activities including an "International Peace Year" and a "Disarmament Decade." On many occasions it sent representatives to UN expert group meetings and symposiums on disarmament and international security issues, conscientiously and responsibly making its own contribution to the drafting of fair and rational research reports.
In international disarmament activities China has consistently given active support to reasonable disarmament proposals and initiatives by the Third World countries. In the early 1970s, China supported the proposal by Sri Lanka and other countries that the Indian Ocean be designated a Zone of Peace. In 1973, China signed the Additional Protocol II of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and in 1987 the relevant protocols of the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga). China has always respected and supported the demands of the countries concerned for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of voluntary consultation and agreement and in accordance with actual local circumstances. Given this consistent position, China welcomes the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty agreed upon by the African nations, and supports the proposal by relevant nations on the establishment of nuclear-free zones in the Korean Peninsula, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Correspondingly, China holds bilateral consultations with various nations on arms control and disarmament issues, either on regular or ad hoc basis.
China has acceded to a series of major international arms control and disarmament treaties and conventions, including the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, the Convention on Prohibition or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, the Antarctic Treaty, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof, and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. China is also signatory to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. China attaches great importance to the active role these international legal documents play in promoting international arms control and disarmament and has earnestly and conscientiously fulfilled its own obligations under the agreements. A Chinese delegation is currently actively participating in the negotiation on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Convention on Banning the Production of Fissile Materials for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices.
China is actively promoting the international arms control and disarmament process with both real actions on its own part and many realistic and reasonable proposals. As early as 1963, the Chinese government issued a statement calling for the complete, thorough, utter and resolute prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons. China has persistently exercised great restraint in the development of nuclear weapons and its nuclear arsenal has been very limited. It has developed nuclear weapons for self-defence, not as a threat to other countries. It has not joined and will not join in the nuclear arms race and has consistently maintained restraint over nuclear testing.
The Chinese government has from the beginning opposed nuclear blackmail and the nuclear deterrent policy. On October 16, 1964, the Chinese government offered a solemn proposal: a summit conference be held to discuss the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and that nuclear-weapon states commit themselves not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones or against each other. From the first day it gained nuclear weapons, China has solemnly undertaken not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstance and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China as a nuclear-weapon state never shies away from its due obligations, advocating that nuclear-weapon states should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and repeatedly proposing that nuclear-weapon states negotiate and conclude an international treaty on the no-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other. In January 1994, China formally presented a draft for the Treaty on the No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons to the United States, Russia, Britain, France and other countries, proposing that the five nuclear-weapon states hold first-round discussions on the treaty in Beijing as soon as possible. On April 5, 1995, China made another official statement, reiterating its unconditional provision of "negative security assurance" to all non-nuclear-weapon states, at the same time undertaking to provide these nations with "positive security assurance." These positions taken by China have won the support of a great many countries without nuclear weapons.
China advocates prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons as part of the process of eliminating such weapons. In May 1995, at the Conference on the Review and Extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, China supported the decision to indefinitely extend the treaty and the three decisions on the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, on enhancing the review process of the treaty and on the Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. China holds that the results of the conference accord with the interests of all the parties to the treaty and will help maintain world peace, security and stability. China believes that the indefinite extension of this treaty reaffirms the objectives of international cooperation in nuclear disarmament, the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the promotion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and should not be interpreted as permitting the nuclear-weapon states to retain possession of nuclear weapons forever.
During the cold war, China resolutely opposed the arms race between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, and stressed that the key to success in disarmament laid in the two superpowers taking real action on their own initiative. In 1978 at the First Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations, China proposed that, as the two superpowers had more nuclear and conventional arms than any other country, they must take the lead in disarmament. In 1982 at the Second Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations, China went a step further by putting forth a concrete proposal: The United States and the Soviet Union should stotesting, improving and producing nuclear weapons and should take the lead in drastically reducing their stockpiles of all types of nuclear weapons and means of delivery. China's proposal that the "two superpowers take the lead" met with uniform approval from the international community and has played an active role in promoting negotiations between the two nations, creating actual progress towards disarmament.
In an effort to step by step realize the objective of building a world free from nuclear weapons, in 1994 China put forward a complete, interrelated proposal for the nuclear disarmament process at the 49th Session of the UN General Assembly. All nuclear-weapon states should declare unconditionally that they will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and immediately begin negotiations towards a treaty to this effect; efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones should be supported and guarantees given not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones; a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty be negotiated and concluded no later than 1996; the major nuclear powers should implement existing nuclear disarmament treaties as scheduled and further substantially reduce their nuclear weapon stockpiles; a convention banning production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons be negotiated and concluded; a convention prohibiting all nuclear weapons be signed, whereby all nuclear-weapon states undertake to completely destroy existing stocks of nuclear weapons under effective international supervision; prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons while promoting nuclear disarmament process and international cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Nuclear disarmament and conventional disarmament have all along been the two priority tasks in the sphere of disarmament. In 1986, China presented two proposals on nuclear and conventional disarmament for the first time at the UN General Assembly, pointing out that the United States and the Soviet Union had special responsibilities both for nuclear and conventional disarmament. Subsequently, for five years China had presented these two proposals to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, and they had been adopted by consensus. This action on China's part played an important role in generating real progress in nuclear and conventional disarmament in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
China opposes the arms race in outer space. Beginning in 1984, it has on numerous occasions proposed to the UN General Assembly draft resolutions on preventing such arms race. China maintains that outer space belongs to all mankind and should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. No country should develop any kind of weapon to be used in outer space: outer space should be kept "weapon free."
In recent years, the issue of transparency in armaments has attracted a great deal of attention in all countries. In 1991, China submitted a working paper to the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations entitled "Basic Positions on Objective Information on Military Matters," presenting an overview of China's position: Transparency in armaments is aimed at advancing peace, security and stability for every country and region and the entire world; accordingly the fundamental principle that the security of individual states should not be compromised should be upheld. The specific measures for transparency should be decided on through equal consultations by all countries and be implemented on voluntary basis. These principles play an active role in promoting the implementation of proper and feasible transparency measures.
China attaches great importance to regional disarmament. In 1991, China submitted a working paper on regional disarmament to the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations containing a complete set of principles and positions. Bilateral, regional and multilateral disarmament should be mutually promoting. The creation of favourable external conditions and environment is absolutely necessary in the promotion of regional disarmament; countries outside the region, particularly those with the largest arsenals, should actively cooperate with and give energetic support to regional disarmament efforts. In considering regional disarmament issues, interregional differences in security environment and level of armament should be acknowledged and respected; in terms of measures to be taken or process to be followed there is no model applicable for all regions. China's position as above was adopted in the main in the Disarmament Commission's final document.
China is located in the Asian-Pacific region, and understandably is specially concerned with the security, stability, peace and development in this region. In 1994, China presented three basic objectives for the region's security: maintenance of stability and prosperity in China, safeguarding long-term peace and stability in its surrounding environment, and initiating dialogues and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equality. In cognizance of the Asian-Pacific region's particular circumstances, China holds that with regard to security and cooperation in the region the following principles and measures to realize them should be followed and adopted: On the basis of the Charter of the United Nations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence [mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence], establish a new mutual respect and friendly relationship between nations; with promoting common economic development as the objective, establish economic relations based on equality, mutual benefit and mutual cooperation; settle conflicts and disputes between nations within the region through consultation on the basis of the principle of equality and peaceful resolution, so as to step by step remove the factors of instability in the region; with the promotion of the region's peace and security as the purpose, adhere to the principle of arms only being used in defence and refrain from any form of arms race; and promote various forms of bilateral or multilateral dialogues and consultations on security issue so as to strengthen trust and understanding. China's position has won understanding and support from most of the Asian-Pacific countries.
China has consistently stressed friendly, good-neighbourly relations with adjacent countries and has actively promoted measures to establish bilateral trust. In recent years, China has held multi-level consultations with a number of neighbouring countries and has taken a series of practical actions. China and the former Soviet Union signed an Agreement on Principles Governing the Mutual Reduction of Military Forces and the Enhancement of Confidence in the Military Field in the Border Areas. The leading figures of China and Russia issued a joint statement "on no first use of nuclear weapons against each other and on not targeting their respective strategic nuclear weapons at each other." China and India concluded an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity Along the Line of Actual Control in the Border Areas. At the two nations' request, China issued a statement providing security guarantees to Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Looking back over mankind's long history of war and peace, one is deeply struck by the fact that peace does not come easily and thus should be doubly treasured.
In recent years, while there has been some relaxation in the international situation, peace has not prevailed in the world. On the regional level, tensions persist. Armed conflicts and local wars break out continuously and hegemonism and power politics are still lingering on. While old contradictions have yet to be fundamentally resolved, new contradictions emerge. International arms control and disarmament is still a long-term, arduous task. The complete eradication of the disaster of war and the realization of a complete and lasting peace, therefore, remain a highly complex and difficult task before the peace-loving people of the world.
The world wants peace, nations want development and society wants progress--this has become the irresistible tide of the day. As long as the peoples of all nations work together, adhering to the road of peace and development, continuing to unflaggingly promote the arms control and disarmament process, and sparing no effort to establish a new peaceful, stable, fair and reasonable international political and economic order on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other commonly recognized standards for international relations, a long-lasting peace is possible, and the righteousness of peace and development will ultimately and veritably triumph over the evils of war.
In the future China will unswervingly promote arms control and disarmament as it has in the past, joining together with the peace-loving people of all the nations in the world, working untiringly to bring a peaceful, stable, prosperous and happy new world into the 21st century.
Information Office of the State Council Of the People's Republic of China
November 1995, Beijing