Beijing hosts disarmament conference

Today 60 scholars and experts expressed satisfaction with the progress made in disarmament and the relaxation of regional conflicts in recent years, but still showed concern over the continuing arms race between the united states and soviet union. at today’s conference, participants from all walks of life in china’s capital urged the two superpowers to take the lead in the large-scale reduction of nuclear and conventional weapons and to stop the arms race in any form. the conference, co-sponsored by the Chinese people’s association for peace and disarmament and the united nations association of china, convened while the third special session of the united nations general assembly on disarmament is being held in new York. participants hope the UN special session would contribute to world peace and disarmament. zhou peiyuan, vice-chairman of the national committee of the Chinese people’s political consultative conference and president of the Chinese people’s association for peace and disarmament, spoke at today’s meeting. according to zhou, the intermediate nuclear forces treaty, the start of withdrawal of soviet troops from Afghanistan, and the recent u.s.-soviet summit are all steps in the right direction. the world’s people, zhou went on, hope meetings between the united states and the soviet union will continue, and also worry that the armsrace between these two countries is far from ending. the treaty only covers intermediate-range missiles while the two superpowers are striving to deploy other missiles on a large scale, zhou pointed out. in addition, zhou went on, the two countries are negotiating for a 50 percent reduction of their strategic nuclear weapons, but are also refining their nuclear arms systems and quickening their pace in looking for hi-tech space and conventional weapons. “this new trend in the arms race has aroused serious concern from the world’s people,” zhou added. zhou, who is a well-known scientist and has long been engaged in the peace cause, stressed the peaceful utilization of new scientific inventions for mankind, but not for military purposes. he said the opening of the third session has aroused growing concern from the international community for disarmament, which is connected with world peace and human security. he hoped the current session will urge the two superpowers to shoulder their special responsibility in the field of disarmament and to sincerely carry out their duty. chai zemin, vice-president of the Chinese people’s institute of foreign affairs, said that at present it is “not realistic” to propose the quick implementation of overall and thorough nuclear disarmament. according to chai, as the first step for nuclear disarmament, the use of nuclear weapons must be banned and stockpiles gradually be cut. certainly, he said, a ban is not enough, because if the number of weapons is not reduced or completely eliminated, it will be very difficult to ban their use, he added. chai hopes the intermediate nuclear forces treaty should be sincerely carried out and reductions should cover other strategic nuclear weapons and weapons of other types. he stressed, once both the nuclear and conventional disarmament are carried out, world security can be ensured. chai also said, the world’s people are not satisfied that the final documents of the first special session in 1978 failed to be implemented and the second session in 1982 reached no agreement because of the two superpowers’ lack of sincerity. chai hopes the current session will live up to the expectations of the world’s people and further efforts for disarmament will be made. peng di, member of the secretariat of the all-china journalists association and an expert on international issues believes now the world is at a crossroad, with one path leading to arms expansion for war and escalation of regional conflicts, and the other to an end to the arms race and relaxation of regional conflicts. he said the us-soviet arms race not only constitutes a threat to world peace, but is harmful to the interests of both the soviet union and the united states. peng said everyone should take this opportunity to make the world more peaceful and secure. shi guangnan, vice-chairman of all-china youth federation, du xiangwan, a researcher on international technology and economy, hu hongfan, vice-president of the chinese people’s association for friendship with foreign countries, zhuang qubing, a researcher on international issues, and herbert behrstock, deputy resident representative of u.n. development program in Beijing all spoke at today’s meeting. lei jieqiong, vice-chairwoman of the standing committee of the chinese national people’s congress also attended the conference which was presided over by bi jilong, president of the united nations association of china. to end the meeting, 17 local students sang a song entitled “best wishes” to express their hopes of peace for the younger generation.