International Atomic Energy Agency
(Unofficial electronic edition)
16 September 1996
On 29 July 1996, China successfully conducted a nuclear test. The Government of the People's Republic of China hereby solemnly declares that it will start a moratorium on nuclear testing effective from 30 July 1996. Such an important decision by China is not only a response to the appeal of the vast number of non-nuclear weapon states, but also a concrete action to promote nuclear disarmament.
Over the past three decades and more since its first nuclear test on 16 October 1964, China has established a capable and effective nuclear self-defense force. In a pioneering spirit of self-reliance, sustaining hardships and personal sacrifices, a large number of Chinese workers, Scientific and technical personnel, officers and soldiers of the People's Liberation Army, as well as all the staff working on the front of national defense have made strenuous efforts under extremely difficult conditions in the research, manufacture and development of China's nuclear weapons. Their indelible historical feats have greatly boosted the morale of the Chinese people and enhanced China's capability to safeguard peace. The Chinese Government and people wish to extend cordial greetings and pay high respect to them.
Adhering to its independent foreign policy of peace, China has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. Historical circumstances compelled China to develop nuclear weapons. For more than a century, the Chinese nation experienced untold sufferings and scourges of war inflicted upon by foreign aggressors. After the founding of new China, it was still subjected to the threat of war, including that of nuclear weapons. In order to survive and develop, China was left with no other alternative. Our development of a limited nuclear capability is not aimed at threatening other people, but is solely for self-defense with a view to maintaining independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and ensuring a peaceful life of the people. Moreover, our development of nuclear weapons is to safeguard world peace, counter nuclear blackmail and nuclear threat, prevent nuclear war and ultimately destroy all nuclear weapons.
Since the very first day when China came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has solemnly declared that at no time and under no circumstances will it be the first to use nuclear weapons. China has also undertaken unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear weapon-free zones. China is the only nuclear weapon-state in the world that has made and abided by such commitments. China has never deployed nuclear weapons outside its border, nor has it ever used or threatened to use nuclear weapons against other countries.
China is a peace-loving country and an important force for the maintenance of world peace and stability. China is in favor of reaching a comprehensive ban on nuclear weapon test explosions in the process towards the objective of complete nuclear disarmament. China has taken an active part in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations in Geneva, and is striving for the conclusion, within this year and on consensus basis, of a fair, reasonable and verifiable CTBT with universal adherence and unlimited duration. China is ready to work with other members of the international community to this end.
Halting nuclear tests is an important step towards nuclear disarmament. In order to remove once and for all the threat of nuclear war hanging over mankind and achieve lasting peace and universal security throughout the world, the Chinese Government hereby appeals to all the countries, nuclear weapon states in particular, for the following:
To realize the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world and ensure the enjoyment of peace, security, stability and prosperity by all countries is the strong aspiration of all people. We sincerely hope that there should never be a nuclear war. We are convinced that with the concerted efforts of all peace-loving countries and people around the world, nuclear war is preventable. If mankind can produce nuclear weapons in the 20th century, it can very well destroy such weapons in the 21st century. The Chinese Government and people are ready to join the governments and people around the world for the realization of this lofty goal.