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Envoy calls for assessment of biological security threat

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-04-07 07:51

Personnel at work in the biosafety level-4 laboratory at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in 2002. [Photo/Agencies]

A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called on the international community to assess documents on US military biological activities, which were published by the Russian government, 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," Dai said, 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 has 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".

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 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 said such a mechanism is a necessary but "long-absent instrument to eliminate potential biological weapons threats and enhance the authority and effectiveness of the BWC, and its establishment must not be thwarted by any certain member state".

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