By MINLU ZHANG
A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called on the international community to assess documents on US military biological activities released by the Russian government in order to alleviate the "great concern" of the international community.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that as a crucial matter of international peace and security, biological security has no borders and involves the shared interests of humanity," Dai Bing, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said during the UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on biological security, hosted by Russia.
"Thus, any information on the biological military activity should trigger heightened concern and attention of the international community to avoid irreparable harm," said Dai, stressing that "China welcomes the international community to assess the discovered documents within appropriate frameworks including the BWC (Biological Weapons Convention) and the UN, and hear the clarifications from the relevant country in a fair and impartial manner."
The envoy emphasized that the relevant country should "take a responsible approach and offer timely and comprehensive clarifications on its biological activities to remove the doubts of the international community".
"Further enhancement of the transparency on its global biological activities is also needed," he added.
China suffered from biological weapons during World War II, Dai said, and hence "consistently stands for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapons".
Good faith call
Dai said China "firmly opposes the development, stockpiling or use of biological and chemical weapons by any country under any circumstances and urges countries that have not done so to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles as soon as possible".
"All states parties should comply with the objectives and principles of the BWC in good faith," he said.
Sunday will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening for the signature of the BWC, he noted.
"The current dynamics on biological security highlight the urgent need to relaunch negotiations on a verification protocol under the BWC and establish a professional, impartial and independent multilateral verification mechanism based on that," Dai said.
Dai's call comes as the Russian military accuses the US of consistently building up its military biological warfare potential in various regions of the world, taking advantage of gaps in international law.
Washington is creating biological laboratories in different countries and connecting them to a unified system, Igor Kirillov, chief of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, said on Wednesday.
In territories bordering Russia and China alone, there have been about 60 facilities modernized since 2005 with funding from the US military, he said at a meeting.
He said these biological facilities are carrying out work in three areas: monitoring the biological situation in proposed areas for the deployment of military contingents of NATO, collecting and delivering strains of dangerous microorganisms to the US, and studying potential agents of biological weapons.