Multilateral Action Vital to Ensure Peace for Future Generations, Other Speakers Say
Two nuclear‑weapon States, China and the Russian Federation, today said that a third, the United States, is contributing to global insecurity by failing to fulfil its obligations under existing arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation instruments, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its general debate.
Other speakers, meanwhile, stressed the urgent need for effective multilateral action among Member States — including redoubled efforts to prepare for the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — with a view to ensuring international peace and security for future generations.
China’s representative said that by lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, and by turning outer space and cyberspace into new battlegrounds, the United States has severely undermined global strategic stability. Uncertainty meanwhile prevails after the United States scrapped the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and as questions hover over the future of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty). Voicing opposition as well to the United States’ deployment of intermediate‑range missiles in the Asia‑Pacific region, he said all States should abandon cold war thinking, enhance mutual trust and coordination, jointly maintain strategic balance and stability, and lower the risk of nuclear war.
In a similar vein, the Russian Federation’s delegate said Moscow and Beijing — in striking contrast to the United States and other Western countries — remain steadfast in complying with international norms of good behaviour. Summarizing his country’s disarmament proposals, he suggested, among other things, strengthening the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, rather than destroying it as the United States is doing; abandoning the deployment of nuclear weapons in third countries; extending the New START Treaty; and imposing a moratorium on short‑ and intermediate‑range ground‑based missiles, contrary to what the United States is doing. While most Member States support those proposals, he said, Moscow worries that European States have essentially lost their sovereignty as they sit with their tails between their legs, afraid to reject instructions from Washington and Brussels.
(Speaking on 10 October, the representative of the United States, calling for a “new era” of arms control, described the Russian Federation as a serial violator of its own commitments. He added that China is expanding its military with a view to regional dominance and global influence. See press release GA/DIS/3624.)
Finland’s representative said that in these difficult times, rebuilding trust must be the main aim of deliberations in order to bolster confidence and accountability in arms control. In that regard, the focus in nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament must be on ensuring a successful Non‑Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Stressing the need for new and innovative thinking, she also called for an early extension of the New START Treaty and strengthened cooperation on nuclear security.
Sri Lanka’s speaker urged the international community to take steps to reduce global military expenditure, currently estimated at $1.8 trillion. Such resources could be redirected to economic and social development efforts, he said, calling also for concerted and collective action on non‑proliferation, the eradication of all nuclear weapons, curbing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and preventing an arms race in outer space.
Noting that Peru has signed all disarmament and non‑proliferation treaties, its representative said the use — or threat of use — of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity with catastrophic consequences on the environment, the global economy, food security and human survival. He urged nuclear‑weapon States to fully implement their Non‑Proliferation Treaty obligations.
Other speakers today put a spotlight on regional concerns.
The Republic of Korea’s delegate acknowledged that last week’s working‑level talks in Sweden between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea produced no tangible results. But he added: “We should not be misguided by unhealthy pessimism”. Seoul hopes that Pyongyang, in fulfilling its commitment to denuclearization, will remain engaged in dialogue with Washington so that progress can be made sooner rather than later. Kazakhstan’s representative, meanwhile, said his Government stands ready to share with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the lessons it learned from its denuclearization experience in the 1990s.
Ukraine’s delegate said Russian military aggression against his country has significantly damaged the conventional arms control system. Pointing to the Russian Federation’s transfer of military goods to eastern Ukraine, he said Moscow is turning the Black Sea region into a military playground and Crimea a heavily militarized fortress. He also warned of far‑reaching consequences if the presence of Russian troops in Crimea is not promptly addressed.
Yemen’s representative, who — like several other speakers today — voiced support for establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, said ballistic missiles, drones and mines originating from Iran have killed Yemeni citizens and threatened neighbouring States. Hopefully the international community will put pressure on Houthi militias and those who support them to respect international treaties and stop using landmines, he added.
Also speaking today were representatives of Australia, Poland, Guatemala, Algeria, Uruguay, Egypt, Norway, Estonia, Lebanon and Maldives.
Representatives of the Russian Federation, United States, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The First Committee will reconvene on Monday, 14 October, at 10 a.m. to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate. For background information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3624 of 10 October.
SALLY MANSFIELD (Australia), commending the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), called for action against those who challenge the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, known as the Chemical Weapons Convention. She encouraged States to reach a consensus at the 2021 Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. Committed to a world free of nuclear weapons, she called for strengthening the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons ahead of its 2020 Review Conference and for the further universalization of the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty. She supported the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, condemning recent missile launches as “provocations that do nothing for peace and stability” and calling on Pyongyang to choose the path of dialogue. Turning to Iran’s nuclear programme, she said that while Australia remains supportive of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran should return to full compliance with all provisions. She underlined the need for the United Nations disarmament machinery to operate at its full potential.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) said his country is a signatory to every international disarmament and non‑proliferation treaty because it believes that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity with catastrophic consequences on the environment, the global economy, food security and human survival. He urged nuclear‑weapon States to fully implement obligations stemming from the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. Regretting to note the expiration of the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in February, he urged the United States and the Russian Federation to reach new agreements based on irreversibility, verifiability and transparency. Expressing concern about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and use of ballistic missiles, he called for a complete, verifiable and irreversible end to these practices. Warning against the increased use of unmanned autonomous vehicles as weapons of war, he called on the international community to develop clear regulations.
MARCIN WRÓBLEWSKI (Poland), associating himself with the European Union, called for strengthening the international non‑proliferation regime and delivering at the upcoming Tenth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Poland chaired the 2018 Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee, sparing no effort to deliver practical solutions for the 2020 review. The Russian Federation is solely responsible for the demise of the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, he said, regretting that authorities in Moscow have shown no willingness to take demonstrable steps to ensure its implementation. Stressing that lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula can only be reached by peaceful means, he regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has made scant progress towards complete, irreversible denuclearization and urged the Asian country to comply fully with all United Nations treaties and resolutions and to refrain from any ballistic missile testing. He fully supported the Joint Plan of Action, and said Iran should full comply with the agreement. He strongly condemned the recent use of chemical weapons in places such as Syria, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Iraq and asked for full accountability under a strengthened OPCW. “The time to act is now,” he said. Pointing to disruptive technologies such as hypersonic weapons and anti‑satellite systems, he warned that current legally binding instruments might not be enough and called for more pragmatic solutions to such challenges.
MARÍA DEL ROSARIO ESTRADA GIRÓN (Guatemala), associating herself with the Central American Integration System, said military expenditures are increasing while insufficient resources are allocated to fight hunger and poverty. She regretted the suspension of the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Affirming Guatemala’s commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and disarmament, she said the process must be transparent, irreversible and in an accorded timeframe. The First Committee’s discussions and results must be embodied in the upcoming 2020 Review Conference on the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, she said, insisting that: “concrete actions must be taken”. Security is a top priority for Guatemala. Expressing concern that the illegal trafficking in small weapons and light weapons fuels violent conflict, she said praised Latvia’s initiative to include gender and gender‑based violence in discussions of the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty but regretted the lack of substantial progress on different Treaty issues.
MARWAN ALI NOMAN AL-DOBHANY (Yemen), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, and underscoring his country’s support for a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, said ballistic missiles, drones and mines originating from Iran have killed Yemeni citizens and threatened neighbouring States. While Yemen, a signatory to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, has eliminated its stockpile of landmines, the Houthi militia have manufactured and deployed two million explosive devices in areas it controls or have vacated. Yemen hopes the international community will put pressure on militias and those who support them so that they might respect international instruments and cease using landmines. He went on to stress the need to implement the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, as such weapons can fall into the hands of terrorist groups.
MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria), underlining the importance of total elimination of nuclear weapons to his country, called for balanced implementation of all pillars of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, calling on nuclear‑weapons States to fulfil their Treaty obligations and for all parties outside the Treaty to join it without conditions. Calling for accelerated efforts to bring about the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, he pointed to Algeria’s announced intention to ratify it at the earliest possible time. He also made an appeal for countries that have not acceded to the Test-Ban Treaty to do so at the earliest possible time. Noting his country’s role in the adoption of the African Nuclear‑Weapon‑Free Zone Treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty, he called for signing and ratification of that instrument as well, welcoming also the decision on convening a conference to establish such a zone in the Middle East. Regretting the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament, he called for underlying issues to be addressed and substantive work addressed. He finally expressed his country’s concern over illicit trade in small arms that fuels terrorism and organized crime, calling for support for its text on strengthening cooperation in the Mediterranean to counter it.
PATRICIA BENÍTEZ LIMA (Uruguay), emphasizing her country’s full commitment to arms control and disarmament, said that nuclear weapons are an imminent danger to the survival of humanity and stressed the need to totally eliminate nuclear stockpiles without reservations and in an established timeframe. Non‑nuclear‑weapon States must receive a legally binding guarantee from nuclear‑weapon States that these weapons will never be used. Pointing at the possible catastrophic consequences of their use, she expressed concern about the general increase in military expenditure worldwide and that some countries are investing resources to modernize and upgrade their arsenals. Regretting that the Test‑Ban Treaty is not fully in force, she asked countries to sign or ratify it without delay. Also highlighting the crucial role of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, she called for its implementation while defending the right of all countries to peacefully use nuclear energy. As for small arms and light weapons, she supported the United Nations efforts to implement a tracing system, which is crucial for ending the trafficking of such weapons and making them less available and accessible. She lamented that the victims of these weapons are women and children.
FU CONG (China) said his delegation was appalled by the remarks made by the representative of the United States on 10 October that featured “jaundiced ideological bias and anachronistic sentiments”. By lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, and by turning outer space and cyberspace into new battlegrounds, the United States has severely undermined global strategic stability and increased the risk of nuclear war. Moreover, the international security situation is plagued with uncertainty after the United States scrapped the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty amid questions of the future of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty). Noting that President Xi Jinping’s global security vision is highly compatible with the Secretary‑General’s disarmament agenda, he underscored China’s commitment to the international arms control process. Non‑proliferation should not be exploited as a tool to hamper the peaceful transfer of technology, he said, urging the United States to implement its treaty obligations to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles. He went on to say that China firmly opposed the United States’ attempt to deploy intermediate‑range missiles in the Asia‑Pacific region which is aimed at seeking military and strategic advantage. In such a context, all States should abandon cold war thinking, enhance mutual trust and coordination, jointly maintain strategic balance and stability, and lower the risk of nuclear war. On the Iran nuclear issue, he said China will work with all sides to put the Joint Plan of Action back on track.
VLADIMIR YERMANKOV (Russian Federation) said his delegation shared China’s concerns and regretted that the United States is deciding who is worthy to come to New York to participate in the Committee’s work and who is not. The striking difference between China and the Russian Federation, when compared to the United States and other Western countries, is that they remain steadfast in complying with the international norms of good behaviour. Summarizing his country’s disarmament proposals, he proposed strengthening the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, rather than destroying it as the United States is doing, to abandon the deployment of nuclear weapons in third countries, to extend the New START Treaty and to put into place a moratorium on short‑ and intermediate‑range ground‑based missiles, contrary to what the United States is doing. The Russian Federation also proposed ensuring the immediate entry into force of the Test‑Ban Treaty, starting a dialogue on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, which the United States is blocking, and prohibiting the deployment of nuclear or other weapons in outer space. Most Member States support those proposals, but his delegation is worried that European States have essentially lost their sovereignty as they sit with their tail between their legs, afraid to reject instructions from Washington and Brussels even when such orders run counter to their national interests.
CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea) said working‑level talks in Sweden last week between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea produced no tangible results, but “we should not be misguided by unhealthy pessimism”. The Republic of Korea hopes that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in fulfilling its commitment to denuclearization, will remain engaged in dialogue with the United States so that progress can be made sooner rather than later. For its part, the international community must keep working together to maintain the hard‑won momentum for dialogue as the search for a negotiated solution to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear problem — and to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula — continues. He went on to say that his delegation will present a draft resolution on the empowerment of youth in the field of disarmament and non‑proliferation, emphasizing the importance of nurturing young experts who can lead collective efforts in the future.
LEENA PYLVÄNÄINEN (Finland), endorsing the statements made Thursday by the European Union and Nordic Countries, said that in this difficult period rebuilding trust must be the main aim of deliberations in order to bolster confidence and accountability in arms control. In that regard, the focus in nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament must be on ensuring a successful review of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. Stressing that new and innovative thinking is needed, she voiced her country’s support for the Stepping Stones initiative, Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament dialogue and attention to risk reduction. She also called for an early extension of the New START and strengthened cooperation on nuclear security. On chemical weapons, after seeing attempts to undermine OPCW, she called for the Organization to receive the support necessary to fulfil its mandate in full, with the Security Council fulfilling its responsibility in accountability. On conventional weapons, the current priority is ensuring effective implementation of commitments made under the Arms Trade Treaty and other instruments. Describing her country’s support for initiatives in that context, she added that the goal for lethal autonomous weapons control is an effective normative framework, with the Geneva Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems serving as the appropriate forum.
RAVINATHA P. ARYASINHA, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the General Assembly debate delivered a clear message on multilateralism. In that vein, he called for the full implementation of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. Emphasizing his country’s commitment to the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons, he regretted to note that some countries are modernizing, not eliminating, their arsenals. While Sri Lanka strongly supports arms control treaties and conventions, however, the international community must take steps to reduce global military expenditure, currently at $1.8 trillion. Instead, these resources could be redirected to economic and social development efforts. Pledging full support for the multilateral disarmament machinery, he called for concerted and collective action towards progress on non‑proliferation progress, the total eradication of nuclear weapons, curbing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and preventing an arms race in outer space.
BASSEM YEHIA HASSAN KASSEM HASSAN (Egypt), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the Arab Group, the African Group and the New Agenda Coalition, said the most serious challenge facing the United Nations is the deterioration in the regional and international security environment as the great Powers roll back their commitments and a new arms race begins. The establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East is long overdue, he said, encouraging all sides to participate in a conference on that proposal in New York next month. He added that Egypt looks forward to the United Nations developing binding rules to prevent cyberspace becoming a field for confrontation and aggression. It also looks forward to the Committee agreeing its programme of work in full and by consensus as soon as possible.
RUSLAN NIMCHYNSKYI (Ukraine) said his country stands with those States that are prepared to strengthen the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine is deeply concerned that the loss of the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in August will lead to a build‑up of conventional and nuclear missiles with a destructive impact on European security. He added that Russian military aggression against Ukraine has significantly damaged the conventional arms control system. The massive transfer of military goods to eastern Ukraine by the Russian Federation is a great concern, he said, adding that the country is turning the Black Sea region into a military playground and Crimea a heavily militarized fortress. The presence of Russian troops in Crimea is contrary to the sovereignty, independence and integrity of Ukraine and, if not addressed now, can have far‑reaching consequences.
MONA JUUL (Norway) said her country is fully committed to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and called for full implementation of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. She advocated for the entry into force of the Test‑Ban Treaty and the completion of the treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, known as the fissile material cut‑off treaty. As for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she stressed that its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes are unacceptable and that only a political solution will be sustainable. She expressed concern about the steps Iran has taken to reduce its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action and urged their reversal as well as full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Russian Federation’s non‑compliance with the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has caused its demise, she said, calling on that country and the United States to expand the New START Treaty. She deplored the use of chemical weapons and asked for a full investigation into incidents in Syria, such as the attack in Douma, to determine responsibility. The illegal trade in small arms and light weapons must be stopped and a gender perspective should be a part of all arms control efforts.
GERT AUVAART (Estonia), associating himself with the European Union, underscored his country’s great concern that some States are disregarding core principles of international law and violating their obligations. He pointed in particular to the use of chemical weapons, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, steps taken by Iran that are inconsistent with the Joint Plan of Action and the Russian Federation’s deployment of a missile system that violated the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Noting that Estonia will be a non‑permanent member of the Security Council for the 2020‑21 period, he said his country welcomes the opportunity to advance global understanding on a framework of international stability in cyberspace within the Open‑Ended Working Group and Group of Governmental Experts. Those two processes should develop in a complementary manner, he said, adding that a safe and stable cyberspace requires an inclusive multi‑stakeholder approach.
DASTAN YELEUKENOV (Kazakhstan), recalling that his country has undergone its own path of denuclearization, said the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons should complement the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. That instrument has been ratified by Kazakhstan, which calls on the nuclear Powers to take practical steps and effective measures towards eliminating their nuclear arsenals. Hopefully, Sweden’s initiative on nuclear disarmament and the Non‑Proliferation Treaty will help find common ground between nuclear‑weapon and non‑nuclear‑weapon States in the run‑up to the 2020 Review Conference. He emphasized, however, that a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing is no alternative to a legally binding instrument such as the Test‑Ban Treaty. He went on to say that the Russian Federation and the United States must make every effort to preserve the Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and that Kazakhstan stands ready to share with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea its experience in dismantling nuclear testing infrastructure.
BACHIR SALEH AZZAM (Lebanon), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, stressed that arms are a threat to peace and security and lamented that in the past two decades that threat has multiplied. “Instead of progress, we see strategic conflict among countries”, he said, adding that a rhetoric that justifies the usefulness of nuclear weapons does not consider the human perspective. Israel impedes efforts to create a nuclear‑weapon‑free zone in the Middle East, he said, and praised initiatives by the General Assembly calling for negotiations to form such a zone. The Non‑Proliferation Treaty must be strengthened, particularly in light of the upcoming 2020 Review Conference, and said pressure should be directed towards Israel to join the Treaty and subject its nuclear programme to the IAEA. He lamented the trafficking of small arms and light weapons and said that Lebanon has updated its domestic legal framework and has ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. He rejected the use of cluster bombs and pointed to the painful experience created by unexploded cluster bombs left behind by the Israeli military in Lebanon during the 2006 conflict between the two countries. The production and sale of this type of armament must stop in order to save innocent lives.
ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED (Maldives) supported the international disarmament regime and taking collective responsibility towards the betterment of humanity, noting that the use of a nuclear weapons can affect even the smallest country. For its part, Maldives has signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty. Security and peace are not attained by strength but by upholding human rights and fighting poverty and climate change. “We must adopt a holistic approach for security and disarmament,” he said. “Sustainable development must be central” to that effort, he said, underlining the link between peace and development. Expressing serious concern about climate change, organized crime, terrorism, instability and conflicts, he urged the First Committee to address these issues in a holistic manner. “We must work together to make a better world”, he said, urging all countries to ratify and sign the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adding that disarmament is a shared responsibility.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the statement of the United States on 10 October gave the impression that that country alone is working to build a new system of arms control and non‑proliferation. That is not in line with reality, he said, stating that the United States for decades has been creating an infrastructure to project military force anywhere in the world, taking its military budget up to astronomical levels while also pressuring its allies to follow suit. He added that the language used by the representative of the United States harked back to the cold war era and contravened Washington’s stated positions on arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation.
The representative of the United States said that every year, the representative of Syria, who spoke on 10 October, makes ridiculous charges that no one believes. The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people has not been forgotten and it will be held accountable for its crimes. Responding to the representative of China, he suggested asking China’s neighbours who the regional bully is. “It is not the United States, it is China.” He noted that the United States is on track to eliminate its entire chemical weapons stockpile by 2023, adding that China is making efforts to develop its intermediate‑range arsenal. He also stated that a proposed treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects is flawed, unverifiable and not in the interest of the United States or its partners. Turning to the Russian Federation’s representative, he said his remarks were a reminder of the propaganda of Soviet times and that “I hope this is not taking us back to the future.” It is the Russian Federation that is blocking the work of the Committee and it must stop doing so, he said. As for the Russian Federation’s assertion that it conforms to the norms of international behaviour, he said “uh‑huh” and that it is that country’s conduct that is threatening and threatening.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said in response to some Western countries, including Australia, Poland and Norway, that his country’s missile launches are part of self‑defence activities which respond to growing military threats, including joint military exercises between the United States and the Republic of Korea. He added that sanctions “are not a trouble‑shooter, but a trouble‑maker” and that his country will tolerate no infringement of its sovereignty under the pretext of such measures.
The representative of China, noting that his statement today included a response to the groundless accusations made by the United States on 10 October, said he wanted to highlight that his country’s intermediate‑range missiles are deployed only in China for self‑defence purposes. They pose no threat to any other country and China has no clue why the United States thinks they do. He added that the deployment of similar missiles by the United States in the Asia‑Pacific region — and on China’s doorstep — represent a provocation against China, which will come up with the necessary response. He went on to say that he was pleased to hear that the United States will destroy all its chemical weapons by 2023, or 20 years after the deadline set in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The representative of the Russian Federation, taking the floor a second time in exercise of the right of reply, said the United States is disregarding the views of most Member States while also taking steps to destroy the existing arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation system. Washington seems to be doing so because that system does not suit its interests and restricts its global ambitions. If it does not and cannot implement its obligations under existing agreements, then what guarantee is there that it will have the political will to fulfil a new system, he wondered. As things look now, there are no such guarantees.
The representative of Syria said the First Committee has grown accustomed to the claims, lies and fabrications of his counterpart from the United States. Referring to recent media reports about an undersea nuclear test by Israel in the 1970s, he said the United States is hindering the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East so as to protect Israel and its arsenal of such weapons. He added that the United States is violating the Non‑Proliferation Treaty by deploying nuclear weapons in five North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries and on the Mediterranean Sea. The catastrophic consequences of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, and it support of terrorists under the guise of “liberating” Syria, cannot be forgotten, he said, adding that world is tiring of American lies aimed at regime change.
The representative of the United States, responding to his counterpart from China, said little is known about that country’s intermediate‑range weapons. He encouraged China to consider transparency on that issue. He also recalled that when asked by a former President of the United States if China is militarizing the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping replied no. He went on to say that the United States has no problem with existing treaties, but rather that the Russian Federation is violating them. On Syria, he said its representative can keep regurgitating the usual lies, but its regime will be held accountable for crimes against the Syrian people.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), Chair of the Committee, said requests from China and Syria to take the floor again in exercise of the right of replied will be rolled over to its next meeting.