Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Open VTC on Chemical Weapon Issue in Syria
5 January 2021
At the first open meeting of the Security Council in 2021, I wish to welcome our five new members, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway to the Council. We look forward to all Council members working together to start a new chapter of solidarity and cooperation in 2021 to fulfill our important collective responsibility mandated by the UN Charter. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tunisia on assuming the Council’s Presidency for this month. We pledge our full support to the work of the Tunisian delegation.
I thank Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing on the Syrian chemical weapons issue. On the issue of chemical weapons, China’s position has been consistent all along. We object to the use of chemical weapons by any country, organization or individual under any circumstances for any purpose. Alleged use of chemical weapons must be investigated and dealt with in an impartial and objective manner, on the basis of factual evidence and the provisions of the CWC.
China notes that Syria has expressed, on many occasions, its strong willingness to cooperate with the Technical Secretariat, and the two parties have, through consultation, closed three outstanding issues related to the initial declaration. Syria’s constructiveness and the outcomes of the engagement between the two parties deserve our recognition. We encourage them to continue to work towards positive progress on other outstanding issues. The Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic has addressed many letters to the President of the Security Council, with detailed information on terrorist organizations planning staged chemical weapon attacks. Information such as this deserves full attention. China hopes follow ups to such information will be provided in the monthly reports and Council briefings.
I would also like to point out that Syria is a member of the UN, and the Syrian government is the legal government. It is not the so called regime. This is the basic respect for UN member state.
Given the crucial importance of the chemical weapons dossier, the issue of accountability must be placed back under the CWC framework. Investigations must be based on respect for facts and science. We object to taking action with undue haste when conclusive evidence is absent, and question marks abound, as regards the reports. We hope the OPCW reports are able to establish a complete chain of evidence with no loose ends, failing which the objectivity, neutrality and authority of the OPCW would be called into question. Given that the report is dogged by controversy and parties remain sharply divided, forcing an action is not the right thing to do at this point. The Technical Secretariat should encourage exhaustive discussions on the question marks regarding the reports to convince each other with science-based analysis and with factual information. This is the only way to implement Council resolution 2118 to the letter and preserve the authority of the OPCW.
Right now we are seeing challenges facing the OPCW in its work and sharp division and confrontation among the parties. Last month, Director General Arias indicated he was in close engagement with member states. We encourage the DG and the Technical Secretariat to step up efforts to help bring states parties back to the tradition of consensus-based decision-making and avoid forced voting. We also look forward to DG Arias briefing the Council at its open meetings and answering Council members’ questions.
Thank you, Mr. President.