The Russian Federation and China claimed in a joint statement that the military biological activities of the United States and its allies pose a ‘serious threat’ to their national security.
The two countries stated that they “reaffirm their conviction that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) is essential as a pillar of the international peace and security, and their determination to safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the Convention.”
Over the past two decades, the BWC States Parties have failed to reach an agreement on resuming the multilateral negotiations on the Protocol to the Convention suspended in 2001 when the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from this process. Consequently, and also in the light of rapid advances in the field of science and technology with dual-use capabilities, the risk of biological agents being used as weapons has increased.
There are more than 200 U.S. biological laboratories deployed outside its national territory, which function in opaque and non-transparent manner, the statement alleges.
Russia and China emphasized that the U.S.’ and its allies’ overseas military biological activities cause serious concerns and questions among the international community over its compliance with the BWC.
The two sides share the view that “such activities pose serious risks for the national security of the Russian Federation and China, and are detrimental to the security of relevant regions.”
They further noted that the U.S.’ and its allies’ military biological activities on their national territory also cause “serious compliance concerns.”
The statement further said, “Given the fact that the United States and its allies do not provide any meaningful information on those military biological activities that could allay concerns of the international community, the Russian Federation and China urge the United States and its allies to act in an open, transparent and responsible manner, by informing properly on its military biological activities carried out overseas and on their national territory, and supporting the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding protocol to the BWC with effective verification mechanism, so as to ensure their compliance with the BWC.”
The Russian Federation and China also call upon the BWC States Parties to continue joint efforts towards strengthening the Convention on a secure, legally binding basis. At the same time, they support ancillary measures to improve the current implementation of the Convention.
The BWC institutional framework would be strengthened with the proposed mobile biomedical teams to render assistance in cases of biological weapons use, investigate such cases and help combat epidemics of various origins. This proposal represents a new approach to the improved BWC implementation at the international level, combining the principles of collective security and cooperation for peaceful purposes.
The Russian Federation and China stress that the rapid development of science and technology in BWC-related areas call for greater attention of the BWC States Parties. “There is a need to raise awareness of the risks associated with dual-use research and, simultaneously, promote the full use of the latest advances in biotechnology for peaceful purposes. In this context, the Russian Federation and China support the idea to establish a BWC scientific advisory committee to analyse scientific and technological advances relevant to the Convention and advise its States Parties accordingly.”