It is the first time that I headed the Chinese delegation to the General Conference of the Agency. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to explore with colleagues from other countries major issues of promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation. At the outset, allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of the current General Conference. I am certain that your rich diplomatic experience and remarkable leadership will contribute to the success of the conference. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warm greetings to participating delegations, the Agency’s Director-General Dr. ElBaradei, and the Secretariat he leads.
This is the 50th General Conference, and the Agency has weathered ups and downs of half a century. Confucius, the Chinese ancient sage, once said, “At fifty, I know the decrees of the Heaven”, which means that a man who have gone through 50 years of ups and downs has a sound understanding of the natural and social laws and is able to live his life in perfect order accordingly. Established half a century ago, IAEA was set to two major tasks, that is, promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear weapon proliferation, as provided in the Statute. In this ever-changing world, the Agency has adhered to the principles and spirit of the Statute and unceasingly improved its functions. The Agency has devoted great and effective efforts to implementing its two major tasks, and its universally recognized achievements won approbation of the international community. That Dr. Elbaradei and the Agency won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize is one of the credentials. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to extend warm congratulations to them.
In retrospection, the Agency has made notable achievements; while looking into the future, it faces long-term, arduous tasks. The Chinese Delegation makes the following four proposals to enhance the sound development of the Agency.
First, the Agency shall exert more efforts to TC programs. Promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy is one of the two major responsibilities of the Agency. Driven by social development and technological progress, the developing countries have higher demands on nuclear technology applications to promote economic growth and improve people’s life. The Chinese government definitely approves the Agency’s unremitting efforts in this field. The effectiveness and efficiency of the TC programs have been strengthened through such measures as giving the programs clear-cut purposes, establishing “National Participation Cost (NPC)”, and reorganizing the TC Department. We shall, however, have a clear understanding on new challenges in this area, since the situation that safeguards are given more priority than TC in the Agency’s work remains unchanged, or rather, shows every tendency of getting worse. The issue of insufficient TC fund has not been solved from root. Some countries are not positive to personnel and technological exchange of the developing countries. There is still difficulty in the Agency’s implementation of TC programs, in dispatching experts and personnel training in particular. All this hinders back the development of TC programs. We wish member states, especially the developed ones, attach more importance to TC programs to ensure the smooth implementation of the Agency’s responsibility of promotion activities.
Second, the Agency shall continue to build and promote nuclear safety culture. Nuclear safety is of life-and-death importance to the nuclear power development and technology applications. We are glad to note that the Agency has made commendable achievements and contributed to the improvement of nuclear safety performance of the world by strengthening global nuclear safety mechanism, formulating and promoting nuclear safety standards, establishing and improving international legal instruments and national supervision structure, and providing safety review service and technological training. Given the current robust development of nuclear power and technology application, the Agency shall continue to give importance to building nuclear safety culture with a purpose of protecting human beings and the environment, formulate and update appropriately safety standards that are beneficial to nuclear industry development, and help member states improve their nuclear safety performance. In last April 29, the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China ratified the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. China will perform her duty provided in the Convention and will, as always, support the Agency in its nuclear safety efforts.
Third, the Agency shall provide enforced guarantee for nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear security. For years, the Agency has devoted unremitting efforts to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of its safeguards system. China appreciates the Agency’s work in this area and will continue to support it. Opposing nuclear weapon proliferation is one of China’s fundamental foreign policies. With the ratification of the additional protocol and accession to NSG, China has participated in all of the nuclear non-proliferation mechanisms. At present, China’s nuclear export policies and non-proliferation measures are fully in line with the international practice.
Illicit trafficking and transaction of nuclear and radioactive materials posed new threats to world’s peace in recent years. The Chinese Government always supports the Agency’s in its efforts of strengthening nuclear security. In order to curb illicit trafficking and transaction of nuclear and radioactive materials and enhance the information exchange between member states, the Chinese Government decided to join the IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database and make due contribution in this area. The 28th Olympic Games is going to be held in Beijing in 2008, and prevention of nuclear terrorist attack is an important part of its security work. We will keep close cooperation with the Agency and draw upon its rich experience to ensure the security during the Olympic Games.
Fourth, the Agency shall play an active role in addressing nuclear-related hot issues. As the only intergovernmental organization in the nuclear field, the Agency’s authority in nuclear technology is acknowledged by the international community. It shall keep its objectivity and impartiality, and play an active role in settling nuclear issues that the international community is concerned. Addressing and properly resolving such issues as the nuclear issue of DPRK, Iran, nuclear fuel supply and nuclear terrorism within the framework of the Agency with joint efforts of the member states are to the fundamental interest of the international community and are the wish of the peace-loving people of the world.
China’s rapid economic growth puts increasing demands on energy supply. As an integral part of the national energy strategy, nuclear power has been incorporated into the national overall plan for development of the power sector. Last March, the State Council of China adopted the Mid-and-Long Term (2005-2020) Nuclear Power Development Plan which set the energy strategy of “actively promoting nuclear power construction”. This is of great significance to meet the growing demand on energy in the process of social and economic development; realizing coordinated development of energy, economy and eco-environment; and promoting the country’s comprehensive economic strength and industrial capacity. According to the plan, China’s nuclear generation capacity will reach 12,000 MW by 2010 and 40,000MW by 2020 with another 18,000MW under construction, meaning that over 30 NPPs are going to be constructed. By that time, nuclear power will account for 4% of the national total power generation, and play a more important role in the future development of the power sector.
To achieve the goal set in the nuclear power development plan, a series of PWR units are going to be constructed with proven and reliable technology, following the guiding principle of “cooperating with international partners with China playing the major role”. The research on advanced PWR will be conducted and new and advanced nuclear power technologies will be developed through independent research and development and international cooperation. The G-3 PWR units will be built in a fairly large number around 2016. In promoting nuclear power construction, China will apply unified technology and adhere to the principle that “safety and quality come first”. Capability of independent design and innovation is given priority, and drawing upon advanced experience and technology from other countries be emphasized. Thus the capability will be established for quantity construction of advanced NPPs. Accordingly, the construction and operation management capability will be formed in line with the international practise, and a fairly comprehensive independent industrial system and regulations and standard system for nuclear power will be founded.
In a long-term view, China adopted a “three-step” approach to nuclear power development, from thermo neutron reactor to fast neutron breeding reactor and then to controlled fusion reactor. China is a member of INPRO and a participant of ITER. Last July, China made an official application to participate in GIF. China will cooperate with interested countries in developing G-4 reactor and thermo fusion, and make due contribution to new energy solution.
Nuclear power development cannot be achieved without the support of nuclear fuel. According to experts’ preliminary estimation, there is a potential uranium reserve of 1.2-1.7 million tons. China will reinforce the domestic uranium prospecting, increase input in prospecting and mining, and set up a stable nuclear fuel supply assurance system. We are open to cooperating with interested partners in exploring overseas uranium resources.
Maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and its denuclearization are of the common interest of the people in the region and the whole world. We support the goal of denuclearisation of the Peninsula , to be realized through international efforts in a proper way. With joint efforts, rounds of Six-Party talks were held and positive results achieved. The talk has been proved an effective mechanism in promoting the normalization of relationship between the DPRK and other countries and an important forum within which the dialogue and consultation could be held. We believe that any external pressure is not conducive to solving the issue, and to the contrary, will only make the situation more complicated. China hopes that the international community will, as before, create good political atmosphere for solving this issue, and that the pertinent parties will hold constructive dialogues and consultations, increase mutual understanding and confidence, so that the Six-Party Talks would resume and seek an early solution to the issue.
The nuclear issue of Iran is at a crossroad, facing both opportunities and challenges. China, as always, supports the Agency in playing a positive role in this issue. The peaceful settlement of this issue through diplomatic negotiation is the wish of the international community, and will be conducive to peace and stability of the middle east, protecting the international non-proliferation mechanism and countries’ right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy with the premise of performing their obligations under NPT. All of us shall make efforts. As a Chinese saying goes, “take a step back and you will enjoy a better view of the vast sea and skies”. On the Iranian nuclear issue, related parties shall keep dialogue and contacts, demonstrate positiveness and flexibility, make full use of diplomatic wisdom and creative thinking, maintain dialogue instead of choosing confrontation, for a “win-win” result. We hope that related parties will take into full account the interests and concerns of all sides and adopt pragmatic attitude in seeking the final and proper solution to this issue.
Peace, development and cooperation are the themes of our times. In this new historical era, the Agency is facing long-term, arduous tasks. The Agency, undertaking historical responsibilities, has made remarkable achievements and lived up to the expectations on it. The Chinese delegation is convinced that, in future, the Agency will make greater contribution in the two areas of promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and prevention of nuclear weapon proliferation, with the joint efforts and sincere cooperation of member states.
Thank you, Mr. President.