Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC on Syria (Chemical Weapons)
6 May 2021
I thank Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing. China regrets that Director General Arias cannot attend today’s briefing. I wish to make the following observations.
First, respect science and facts, uphold the technical attributes of the OPCW. The investigation and handling of alleged use of chemical weapons must strictly comply with the requirements of the CWC, honor independence, neutrality and impartiality, and ensure procedural compliance, reliable evidence and credible conclusions to avoid causing controversy. The establishment of IIT that exceeded the mandate of the convention, the lack of transparency in its working methods, the failure of its specific procedures to meet the standards set out in the convention, and the difficulty to restore facts in its published reports all give rise to multiple questions. We hope that the Technical Secretariat, on the basis of respecting facts and science, will respond to the questions raised by the countries concerned to ensure that the conclusions of its investigation are objective, truthful and impartial.
Second, strengthen dialogue and consultation and revert to the tradition of making decisions by consensus. On the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, some countries have repeatedly pushed for a vote, leading the parties further apart on the paths of disagreement. If everything is decided on by a vote, the authority of the OPCW will be further questioned, and it will be difficult to implement the decision effectively. The more important the issue is, the more important it is for states parties to bridge their differences through dialogue and consultation. China calls on all parties to go back to the tradition of consensus, jointly improve the working atmosphere of the OPCW and uphold the authority and effectiveness of the convention.
Third, respect the rights of States Parties and avoid politicizing the work of OPCW. Syria has repeatedly expressed its willingness to cooperate with the Technical Secretariat. Its constructive attitude deserves recognition. The international community should encourage both sides to continue to resolve outstanding issues through technical consultations. At the 25th Conference of the States Parties (CSP), some States forced the adoption of a decision to suspend Syria’s rights to vote, to be elected and other privileges. China voted against the draft decision, and many other members of the Council did not support it, which speaks volumes. The OPCW must not be used as a geopolitical tool or weapon to suppress legitimate governments of developing countries.
In conclusion, I reiterate that China is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by any country, organization or individual under any circumstances for the purposes, and hopes that our world will be freed from all chemical weapons at an earlier date. We urge all the countries in possession of chemical weapons to destroy all chemical weapons as soon as possible.