China's ambassador to the United Nations on Friday firmly opposed the development, possession and the use of biological and chemical weapons by any country and urged countries to destroy their chemical weapons.
"China greatly values biological safety and security," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, told a Security Council Briefing on the Biological Security Issue of Ukraine. "China consistently stands for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all weapon of mass destruction (WMDs), including biological and chemical weapons."
Zhang stressed that China "firmly opposes the development, possession and use of biological and chemical weapons by any country under any circumstances, and urges countries that have not yet destroyed their stockpiles of chemical weapons to do so as soon as possible. The purposes and goals of the Biological Weapons Convention should be strictly upheld."
The envoy pointed out that biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction. "Any information and lead on bio-military activities deserves close attention from the international community," he said.
"China has noted with concern relevant information released by Russia," he said. To uphold the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is "an obligation for all state parties," he added.
The concerns raised by Russia should be properly addressed, said Zhang. "China urges relevant parties to effectively carry out their obligations under the Convention, provide a comprehensive clarification, and accept a multilateral verification."
"We have taken note of the press report that the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised the Ukrainian Government to destroy the pathogens located in the laboratories in order to prevent the spread of diseases. We look forward to receiving more specific information on this. Under the current situation and for the sake of public health, it is very important to ensure the safety and security of relevant laboratories," he said.
Zhang said the situation in Ukraine is still rapidly evolving with growing complexity and sensitivity. "What is most needed now is still to intensify diplomatic efforts, reduce tensions, and bring the Ukrainian issue back to the track of political settlement as soon as possible, while preventing a large-scale humanitarian crisis," he said.
"The end of fighting and hostilities are shared desires of the international community," he said. "And peace negotiations are the only viable means to achieve that goal."
Zhang pointed out that Russia and Ukraine have held multiple rounds of direct dialogues and negotiations, and the two foreign ministers held a high-level meeting yesterday. "All of these are steps are positive ones towards peace," he said.
"The international community should continue to encourage and support Russia and Ukraine in their negotiations, and create the necessary environment and conditions for such peace talks," Zhang said. "China will continue to work with the international community and play its part in de-escalating the situation and seeking peace."
Zhang also firmly refuted the "groundless accusations" against China made by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, permanent representative of the United States to the UN, in her statement in Friday's meeting, saying China is "spreading" information and "support" Russia's claims about the US bio-military activities in Ukraine.
"The US Representative, in her statement, made groundless accusations against China, which we firmly reject," said Zhang. He pointed out that the international community have already been raising concerns about the US military biological activities. "They have around the world 336 laboratories," said Zhang.
"This number comes from the information provided by the US to the Conference of Parties of the BWC. The US always says they advocate transparency. If they believe the relevant information is fake, they can just provide us with relevant data for clarification, so that the international community can draw a conclusion by itself," said Zhang.