Remarkable progress: China and the CTBT

Remarkable progress: China and the CTBT

To mark the certification of four International Monitoring System (IMS) stations in China in 2017, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, paid an official visit to the country at the end of January.

During his stay, the Executive Secretary met with HE Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China,  Lt. General Zhang Yulin, Vice Director of Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission, and number of high-level Chinese officials.

During his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zerbo highlighted the remarkable progress that was being made in China-CTBTO cooperation, as evidenced by the certification of four IMS stations in 2017 -- PS12 (Hailar), PS13 (Lanzhou), RN20 (Beijing) and RN22 (Guangzhou) -- bringing the total number of certified stations in China to five. These certifications, and the rapid pace at which they were added to the IMS network show the strong commitment of China to realizing the vision of a nuclear-test-free world and provides a positive example for other Member States. Zerbo thanked Minister Wang for China’s commitment and support and also highlighted the involvement of Chinese experts in CTBTO’s training courses, capacity building workshops and conferences. Foreign Minister Wang Yi acknowledged the important position of the CTBT as an unquestionable factor in the global non-proliferation architecture and its irreplaceable role for the international community. He reaffirmed China’s commitment to the CTBT and committed to further IMS stations certification. He also said that it is necessary to promote the CTBT as a concrete step towards global nuclear disarmament.

We should promote the CTBT as a concrete step towards a global nuclear disarmament process that is acceptable to the international community.Wang Yi Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs


In discussions with Lt. General Zhang Yulin and other high-ranking military officials, Zerbo noted the important symbolism of having certified five stations in the space of 12 months. More certifications would cement the position of China as a centre of excellence and pave the road for hosting future training exercises, workshops and experts’ meetings in the country.

Strengthening cooperation enlarges the Treaty’s impact. Certifying five stations in a year is of landmark significance.Lt. General Zhang Yulin Vice Director of Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission

Beijing National Earth Observatory

The afternoon of 29 January was dedicated to a visit to the Beijing National Earth Observatory, which hosts an Auxiliary Seismic station that is yet to be certified. A forum was held with young Chinese scholars and experts, representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China National Data Centre (NDC), Beijing University, the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, Carnegie–Tsinghua Center, China Academy of Engineering Physics, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, China Earthquake Administration, and students from the National University of Defense Technology. The discussions ranged from China’s commitment to the CTBT to the importance of the Treaty for China’s international role. Among other things, the forum also explored possible ways of mobilising the younger generation, in particular through the CTBTO Youth Group.

The CTBT provides China with an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership, dedication and independence on an issue on which nearly the entire international community is united. …China has also set a positive example for other Member States by robustly increasing its engagement on technical issues related to the Treaty’s verification regime. Lassina Zerbo CTBTO Executive Secretary



Certification Ceremony

During the symbolic certification ceremony that took place at the Guangdong Environmental Radiation Monitoring Center that hosts the IMS station RN22 in Guangzhou, Lassina Zerbo expressed his appreciation to the Chinese partners for the joint efforts in realising another contribution to the IMS. It was noted that the ceremony is a testament to the rapid progress that has been achieved in fully integrating China’s IMS network into the global system.

With this system in place “we are relying on the experts in China, with their skills and technical capabilities, to help us build a verification regime to support a world free from nuclear tests,’ said Zerbo.