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China Calls for Strengthening IAEA Safeguards

A senior Chinese diplomat said countries should agree to enhance the safeguards powers of the International Atomic Energy Agency and take other steps in accordance with global efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday (see GSN, April 30).

"We should further consolidate and enhance the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, strengthen the universality, authority and effectiveness of the" Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said Cheng Jingye, head of the Chinese delegation to an international forum preparing for the next five-year review conference of the NPT accord.

"We should strengthen the safeguards function of the International Atomic Energy Agency and promote the effective implementation and universal adherence of the comprehensive safeguards agreements and its Additional Protocols," he added from Vienna, Austria.

States that agree to the Additional Protocol give the U.N. nuclear watchdog authority to conduct more extensive monitoring to ensure that national nuclear operations are not being turned toward weapons programs.

Cheng touted his own nuclear-armed government's record on nonproliferation. "China has acceded to all relevant international treaties and mechanisms, put in place a complete legislative and regulatory framework of export control and taken effective steps to ensure its implementation," he said.

On Monday, Cheng called for Russia and the United States to pursue "drastic" reductions in their respective nuclear arsenals. He also urged all possessor states to formally supply no-first-use guarantees for the usage of their nuclear weapons.

Beijing is a supporter of regional efforts to create territories in which the presence of nuclear weapons is forbidden, Cheng said, noting his government has signed off on nuclear-weapon-free-zone accords for Africa, the South Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Additionally, the Chinese government supports a similar zone in Central Asia as well as efforts to establish an accord that would ban all weapons of mass destruction the Middle East, Cheng said. "China supports the efforts made by all parties in convening the 2012 International Conference on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and is willing to make our own efforts in this regard" (Liu Gang, Xinhua News Agency, April 30).

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Country Profile

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This article provides an overview of China’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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