|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
9th & 10th Meetings (AM & PM)
JAPAN INTRODUCES DRAFT ON ‘RENEWED DETERMINATION TO ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS’,
IN WAKE OF NUCLEAR WEAPON TEST BY DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Seven More Nuclear Weapons-Related Texts Tabled in Disarmament Committee,
Including on Test-Ban Treaty, as Thematic Debate Concludes on Nuclear Arms
As the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its thematic discussion on the issue of nuclear weapons, the representative of Japan said that yesterday’s announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it had conducted a nuclear test, combined with its build-up of ballistic missiles that might be capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, was “totally unacceptable”.
Introducing a draft resolution on “Renewed determination towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”, one of eight nuclear weapons-related drafts introduced today, Japan’s representative said that this year’s version had been retooled to express deep concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s statement that it would conduct a nuclear test. The text also emphasized the importance of next year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty review process and called for the immediate commencement of substantive work at the Conference on Disarmament.
Condemnation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s announced test came from nearly a dozen delegations. The Republic of Korea called the act a threat to peace and stability throughout the region and said that such a provocation would not be condoned or tolerated. He urged the country to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes immediately and behave like a responsible member of the international community.
The representative of the United States said the impact on international efforts to combat proliferation, international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction “could not be more profound or troubling”. He added that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s action clearly demonstrated a “reckless disregard for peace and security” and that the country’s increasing provocations necessitated “swift, stern measures”.
He urged the international community to immediately denounce North Korea’s action, and he called on all Governments to take concrete measures, including freezing assets and transactions involving North Korea’s proliferation activities. That regime was one of the world’s leading proliferators of missile technology, including to Iran and Syria, and the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to States or non-State entities would be a grave threat to the United States, which would “hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such actions”, he warned.
Several other delegations said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea test announcement had underscored the urgent need for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which opened for signature 10 years ago, to enter into force. The representative of Australia introduced a draft on that treaty. Updated from previous years, the new text condemned the latest nuclear weapon test.
Introducing a draft on reducing nuclear danger, the representative of India said that the hair-trigger posture of nuclear forces contained the unacceptable threat of those weapons’ actual use, with potentially catastrophic consequences. The risk of such weapons falling into the hands of non-State actors had further aggravated existing dangers. The aim was to reach international understanding on reducing nuclear danger or accidental nuclear war. Pending complete disarmament, strategic experts had identified possible measures for reducing nuclear danger, including the de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.
The other draft resolutions concerned a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons, also tabled by India, the Ottawa Convention on Landmines, introduced by Australia, and the follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, tabled by Malaysia. Brazil introduced drafts on the 2010 Review Conference of the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and on nuclear-weapon-free zones.
Earlier today, during the thematic discussion, the representative of Pakistan said that the global security architecture was in flux. Divergent security interests had led to a “strategic pause”, which was now turning into a “strategic vacuum”. The consensus underpinning disarmament and non-proliferation had eroded, and the disarmament machinery had atrophied, opening the door for unilateral and discriminatory approaches. Pakistan had proposed convening an international conference to develop a new consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation, which should be guided by the principle of equal security for all States and “sustained by multilateralism, not by some self-selected, even if well-meaning, groups of countries”. No issue was riper for negotiation than negative security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States, he said.
The representative of Bangladesh said that it was evident that nuclear-weapon States had demonstrated little will, or progress, towards disarmament. Precision was being added to stockpiles, and newer types of weapons were being developed. Those upgrades only enhanced the propensity for use and could be a temptation to indulge in “surgical” strikes, which were presumed to be without excessive collateral damage. “Nuclear war-fighting” with the aim of winning could become a theoretical possibility, he warned. If such weapons were present in any region, others would seek to deter them with similar capabilities. “Nuclear neighbours do not inspire non-violent predilections like weapon renunciations,” he added.
Statements in the thematic debate were also made by Finland, China, Morocco, Norway, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Israel, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Belarus, Indonesia and the Netherlands.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 October, to begin its thematic debate on the issue of other weapons of mass destruction and outer space (disarmament aspects).
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons.
KARI KAHILUOTO (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that while he was disappointed by a series of failures in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, he reiterated his support for a universal non-proliferation regime, bolstered by a strong system of international safeguards and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Treaty remained the cornerstone of that regime, and its three pillars -– non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy -– were as important today as they had been 35 years ago. Bearing in mind the current situation, the Union supported the decisions and resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference of the Treaty and the final document of the 2000 Review Conference.
He said that, the European Union would work towards universal accession of the NPT, urging all States to join the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States. The Union was guided by its commitment to strengthen all multilateral disarmament treaties, while preventing and halting proliferation programmes worldwide. He also expressed commitment to implementing the Union’s common position of November 2003 on the universalization and reinforcement of multilateral agreements on weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
This year would be the fiftieth anniversary of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- a unique and indispensable organization -- which played an instrumental and global role in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, he noted. The European Union considered the universal adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocols as prerequisites to an effective and credible safeguards system. He strongly urged all States to sign the Additional Protocol, as that would greatly increase confidence in the exclusively peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The Union also supported suspension of nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes with a State when the IAEA was unable to give sufficient assurances that the State’s nuclear programme was intended exclusively for peaceful purposes. It supported strengthening the role of the Security Council and its ability to take appropriate action in the face of non-compliance with States parties’ NPT obligations.
On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that the Union strongly condemned the test, calling it unacceptable. It was a flagrant breach of the North-South denuclearisation declaration, and it violated resolution 1695 (2006) which had been unanimously adopted on 15 July. He strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from any further tests, to publicly renounce nuclear weapons and to return immediately to the six-party talks, without preconditions. He also urged that country to return to compliance with IAEA and the NPT, and to ratify The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Further, he condemned the provocative missile test-launches performed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in July, calling upon it to re-establish the moratorium on long-range missile testing.
The European Union also shared concern over Iran’s nuclear programme, he said. He welcomed Security Council resolution 1696 (2006), calling upon Iran to respond swiftly and suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, to be verified by IAEA in accordance with that resolution. He reiterated the statement made by the representative of the United Kingdom, expressing deep disappointment that Iran was not prepared to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
He said the Union also continued to attach great importance to terrorism and supported all measures aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Both the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and a fissile material cut-off treaty could reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.
The world would have to be united by closing existing loopholes, he stressed. Export controls were necessary, and the Union was committed to the Nuclear Supplier Group guidelines. The overall reduction of stockpiles was also critical, as was pursuing efforts to ensure transparency. Practical measures to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war were also vital. Bilaterally, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which had reduced the United States and Russia’s nuclear arsenals to 6,000 accountable warheads, was due to expire in 2009. He welcomed those reductions and stressed the need for more progress to reduce nuclear arsenals. The CTBT was another essential part of the non-proliferation regime, and it was of utmost important that it enter into force as soon as possible. Viet Nam had now acceded, and he called upon other States to do so without delay. He strongly supported the Treaty’s Preparation Commission, as well as the CTBT Organization. The Treaty’s international monitoring system would bring the benefit of early detection, including of tsunamis, he added.
On the fissile material cut-off treaty, the Union stood ready to promote negotiations next spring, and was encouraged by new momentum in the Conference on Disarmament, to which the United States had contributed, through the submission of a draft treaty, he said. The opportunity should be seized, but pending the treaty’s conclusion, the Union called on all States to declare and uphold a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
It also called on all States in the Middle East to rid that region of nuclear weapons in keeping with the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 NPT Review Conference. A nuclear-weapon-free-zone in that region would enhance regional and global peace and security. Hopefully, the outstanding issues could be resolved.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY ( Bangladesh) said it was clearly not the best of times for disarmament efforts. Without the entry into force of the CTBT, the world would be a less safe place. He appealed for the remaining “Annex 2” States, whose ratification was essential for the Treaty’s operation, to ratify it and he urged all others to observe a moratorium on nuclear testing in the meantime. Bangladesh condemned the recent testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which exacerbated the already tense global situation and served no positive purpose. The best methodology to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation was to strive towards those goals in a multilateral framework, which entailed a resumption of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty banning the production of fissile material, especially by the United States, and agreement on the agenda for the Disarmament Commission’s substantive session.
He said that it was evident that nuclear-weapon-States had demonstrated little will, or progress, towards disarmament. While some old warheads had been destroyed, it appeared that that had been the result of aspirations to modernize, rather than the desire to conform to any treaty obligations. Moreover, precision was being added to stockpiles, and newer types of weapons were being developed. Those upgrades only enhanced the propensity for use and could be a temptation to indulge in “surgical” strikes, which were presumed to be without excessive collateral damage. “Nuclear war-fighting”, with the aim of winning, could become a theoretical possibility, he warned.
If acquiring nuclear weapons was seen as a means to satisfy security needs and enhance political or military clout, it would become attractive for those who had the capabilities to acquire those arms, he said. If such weapons were present in any region, others would seek to deter them with similar capabilities. “Nuclear neighbours do not inspire non-violent predilections like weapon renunciations,” he added. If States genuinely felt that they needed nuclear weapons to enhance their security, this would be a failure of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the international community. The regimes must not only ensure that States were secure, but they must also feel they were secure. Above all, the regimes must be fair, just and equitable, and must be perceived to be so.
He said that, Bangladesh was proud of its own impeccable disarmament and non-proliferation credentials, having consciously and unconditionally opted to remain non-nuclear. It had done so after concluding that its safety and security lay in adopting such positions. It feared that in the current international climate, however, not everyone might see it that way. There might be those who extrapolated that their security was buttressed by their acquisition of nuclear weapons because their perceived sources of threat had them. The challenge was to persuade them, and all others, that possession of such weapons could never enhance safety and security in the long run, and that until such time as the world was rid of those weapons, humanity would remain hostage to their use or fear of use.
SHI ZHONGJUN ( China) said the international community must intensify efforts to promote disarmament and non-proliferation. Nuclear weapon States should commit to the thorough destruction of their weapons by concluding a legal instrument to that effect at an early date. Disarmament should be a just, reasonable process of adjustment towards a downward balance. The two States with the largest arsenals bore primary responsibility for disarmament, and must make their reductions in a verifiable, irreversible manner.
He said that any nuclear disarmament measure should follow the global strategic balance and allow undiminished security for all. Until such destruction was achieved, nuclear weapon States should commit to no-first-use and unconditionally promise not to use, or threaten to use, such weapons on non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. Negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States were also needed at an early date. There should also be an early entry into force of the CTBT and until that time, a moratorium on nuclear testing should be maintained.
China had always favoured the complete destruction of nuclear weapons and the promotion of international disarmament, he said. His country had never evaded its obligations and had always kept its arsenal at the minimum level necessary for self-defence. It adhered unconditionally to no-first-use and had agreed not to use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones.
He said, his country supported the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty and was carefully studying the version put forth by the United States at the Conference on Disarmament. It also firmly supported the CTBT, and spared no effort for its early entry into force. China also respected and supported efforts by countries and regions to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones.
On the test of a nuclear device by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he quoted from China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, who said that that country had “flagrantly conducted a nuclear test in disregard of the international community.” China opposed that act and consistently and firmly favoured denuclearization. He strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to honour its commitments to denuclearization, to stop all moves that might worsen the situation and return to the six party talks. Safeguarding peace in Northeast Asia served all parties involved. He called for cool-headedness.
LOTFI BOUCHAARA ( Morocco) said that proliferation risks, which remained a major threat to the international community, needed to be studied. More than 15 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the strategic and ideological confrontation between the “blocs”, there were still 27,000 nuclear arms worldwide, 12,000 of which were actively deployed.
He said that Morocco was committed to dialogue. Disarmament could only be achieved through small steps towards practical goals. It was vital to reinforce existing instruments, such as the NPT, as well as greater adherence to the CTBT. Only effective implementation of the test-ban Treaty would combat the emergence of new nuclear weapons. It was a fundamental instrument and must be respected.
Effective action towards tangible results needed a balanced approach to nuclear issues, he said. The NPT was based on such a balance: the obligation of nuclear Powers and the recognized right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and the pledge that, non-nuclear-weapon States would fully respect their commitments. The Treaty was founded on the rights and obligations of both nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon States. It was important to reiterate the importance of the decisions made at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences -– those had not been applied effectively, in particular, the 1995 decision on the Middle East.
Among the new threats, he highlighted the possibility of nuclear terrorism, which could have terrible consequences on large urban centres. Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) reflected the international community’s resolve to act and address that challenge. Ongoing proliferation of ballistic missile systems also remained a growing threat. The Hague Code of Conduct was a key multilateral instrument to combat that menace, and Morocco fully encouraged the Code’s universality. Some 125 States had already joined the Hague Code of Conduct, but it needed to be further consolidated, he concluded.
KJETIL PAULSEN ( Norway) said that all States had a responsibility to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and he called upon them to implement effective national export control measures. He also called on them to ratify and implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly. Adequate physical protection of nuclear material was of crucial importance. Greater efforts were also needed to convert nuclear research reactors in the civilian sector from being fuelled by highly enriched uranium, to being fuelled by low enriched uranium so that civilian highly enriched uranium did not fall into the hands of terrorists.
He said that, while all States shared the responsibility of contributing to non-proliferation, obviously, the nuclear-weapon-States had an additional responsibility. He appealed to those States to be more transparent about their nuclear programmes. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) should be renewed and strengthened, based on the principles of irreversibility and verification. Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty should start immediately. In the meantime, he called on all nuclear-weapon-States to declare, or reconfirm, moratoriums on the production of fissile material. The relevant States should make all efforts to enable the CTBT to enter force, and until that time, a full moratorium on test explosions should be observed. In that respect, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was moving in a “very wrong and unacceptable direction”, he warned.
The alert time between the decision point and the trigger point in the use of a nuclear weapon should be lengthened, in order to lessen the chances of an accidental nuclear exchange, he stressed. There was widespread support of the concept of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Yet, only one such zone had entered into force with the protocols ratified by the nuclear-weapon States. It was important to explore how other such zones could realize their potential, with the active participation of the nuclear-weapon States. “The wake-up call last Sunday was loud and frightening. The urgency we now sense should inspire us to reach agreement on more resolutions and decisions than we are used to in the First Committee. Resolutions do not save the world. But it is at least a valuable contribution,” he said.
YOSHIKI MINE ( Japan) recalled that, all States were encouraged to take further steps leading to nuclear disarmament under article VI of the NPT. He encouraged the United States and the Russian Federation to undertake nuclear arms reductions beyond those provided for by that Treaty, and hoped that other nuclear-weapon States would make similar efforts to reduce their arsenals. Nuclear-weapon States should further reduce the operational status of nuclear-weapon systems, in ways that promoted international stability and security, while diminishing the role of such weapons in their security policies. Universalization of the NPT was equally important. He appealed to the non-parties to that Treaty, which possessed nuclear weapons, to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States, without delay and without conditions.
He said that a fissile material cut-off treaty was the most logical next step for multilateral disarmament. While that treaty was often described primarily as a non-proliferation measure, it would also obligate States possessing fissile material for nuclear weapons to cap such production, which was not an explicit legal obligation for the nuclear weapon States under the NPT. Consequently, the fissile material treaty would provide the effect of irreversibility and be a significant nuclear disarmament measure. It was significant that, during debates on the fissile material treaty at the Conference on Disarmament, no country expressed opposition to the establishment of an ad hoc committee for negotiating the text. He, therefore, called for the immediate commencement of such talks.
Following the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s announcement yesterday that it had conducted a nuclear test, a relevant authority in Japan had detected a seismic wave with an abnormal wave pattern, he said. That country’s action, combined with its build-up of ballistic missiles that might be capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, raised extremely deep concerns and was totally unacceptable. As a United Nations member State, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was obliged to implement Security Council resolution 1695 (2006). Japan, once again, strongly demanded that the country implement the Joint Statement by the six-party talks, in which it committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and nuclear programmes, and return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.
Regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, the confidence of the international community had not been restored. He strongly urged Iran to comply with Security Council Resolution 1696 (2006), by suspending all enrichment-related activities and returning to the negotiation process.
He then introduced a draft resolution entitled “Renewed determination towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”. His delegation had redrafted its version from last year in stronger, yet more concise, terms. The fact that last year’s resolution was adopted by 168 countries, the highest number since its submission, had demonstrated that, despite the failures of last year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and World Summit, there existed a common ground on specific guidance in promoting nuclear disarmament. In addition to emphasizing the importance of next year’s NPT review process, language was also added calling for the immediate commencement of substantive work at the Conference on Disarmament, as well as expressing deep concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s statement that it would conduct a nuclear test. Japan hoped that all countries, including the nuclear-weapon States, would support the resolution, with a view to achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
JǛRG STREULI ( Switzerland) said that, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had announced that it carried out an underground nuclear test, despite the recent Security Council statement. Switzerland condemned that test, which countered nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Acts like those could unleash an arms race with consequences, and, thus, the CTBT needed to be universalized. That act ran counter to the test-ban Treaty. He called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to sign and ratify it. His Government also called on that country to rejoin the NPT, following its withdrawal in 2003. Furthermore, a peaceful solution should be sought in the six-party talks.
He said that Switzerland supported all multilateral efforts in the disarmament field. The NPT was the only legally-binding world scale instrument designed to promote nuclear non-proliferation, and, thus, an essential tool. With the new review cycle, it was imperative to stress that peaceful uses of nuclear energy should not be overlooked. Compromise was essential; renouncing nuclear weapons by non-nuclear-weapon States happened in exchange for the commitment by nuclear-weapon States to go ahead with complete nuclear disarmament plans. While most nuclear-weapon States had complied, he called upon all to fulfil their disarmament obligations.
There had been positive progress such as the SORT which had reduced those weapons, under a welcome initiative. Any such disarmament efforts, however, should respect the principles of transparency, verifiability and irreversibility. On non-strategic weapons, the balance sheet had been “dubious”, as an imbalance remained between unilateral promises and actual realities. Switzerland insisted on respect for the principles of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and called for the ratification of the CTBT by the “Annex 2” countries. An ad hoc committee should also be established in order to start negotiations in earnest for a fissile material cut-off treaty. He also called for a binding multilateral instrument, negotiated within the Conference on Disarmament on negative security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States. He stressed that the Treaty, as well as such assurances, be negotiated as quickly as possible.
SERGEY KOSHELEV ( Russian Federation) condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s test of an atomic device, and expressed the hope that that country would return to the negotiation process. Such a step threatened peace and security and undermined the non-proliferation regime. His Foreign Ministry had demanded that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea immediately take steps to return to the NPT regime and reopen six-sided negotiations. Recent events confirmed the importance of nuclear disarmament, as well as the necessity of strict compliance by all States with obligations in that area and the inadmissibility of such weapons falling into hands of terrorists.
He said that the Russian and United States Presidents were working on a global initiative to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism. The initiative was aimed at promoting implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), condemning terrorists, improving accountancy control and protecting nuclear material and installations. Another initiative of his country’s President established international centres to offer services in the field of nuclear fuel cycles, which offered an alternative for developing sensitive elements in the nuclear fuel cycle and processing spent fuel. Russia stood ready to work with all interested countries to clarify and develop that initiative, with the IAEA’s active involvement.
The Russian Federation was also steadily reducing its arsenal, both unilaterally, and in accordance with its agreements with the United States, he went on. It was ahead of schedule on fulfilling its obligations under SORT, and had proposed further negotiations with the United States in connection with the 2009 expiration of the START Treaty. The Treaty on Strategic Potentials was a great step forward and a substantial implementation of article VI of the NPT. Russian President Vladimir Putin had stated his readiness to reduce the country’s nuclear arsenal to 1,500 weapons, or below.
He said it was important that, in following the Russian example, all non-strategic nuclear weapons and related infrastructure be moved to the territory of States that possessed such weapons. Steps were also needed to ensure the irreversibility of the reduction of those weapons. Russia had ratified the CTBT, which was an essential component of international security, and hoped that the remaining non-signatory States would take steps for early adherence. There should be a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosions in the meantime. In addition, a treaty prohibiting fissile materials should also be concluded.
All challenges to the NPT regime must be solved on the basis of that treaty, he said, calling on all States to observe their obligations with regard to the IAEA safeguards and to develop effective measures to prevent the illicit trade in nuclear weapons, equipment, technology and materials. The Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system should be strengthened and the Additional Protocol universalized. In concert with the United States, Russia was trying to resolve high-risk radioactive sources within the IAEA’s plan of action to prevent nuclear terrorism. Nuclear weapons reductions in nuclear-weapon States should not take place in a vacuum, however. Key agreements in weapons control, disarmament and non-proliferation should also be implemented. Placing weapons in outer space would have serious consequences for disarmament and international security. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons was possible, but only through gradual advances, and not through artificial haste.
CHANG DONG-HEE ( Republic of Korea) said that, there had been significant failures in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament which had placed the regime in disarray. It was up to the Committee to breathe new life into international machinery. Nuclear disarmament was vitally important to international peace and security. Progress had been made in the reduction of nuclear arsenals, in line with the Moscow Treaty, but there was still a gap between what was hoped for and what had been achieved. Cooperation between the “nuclear haves” and “have-nots” was, therefore, essential.
He called upon nuclear-weapon States to implement article VI of the NPT by carrying out the 13 practical steps outlined in the outcome text of the 2000 Review Conference. Meanwhile, to relieve security concerns of the non-nuclear-weapon States, strong security assurances should be granted. It would need to be clear to all that the path to stability was disarmament and compliance with international obligations and norms. Both a fissile material cut-off treaty, and CTBT, placed quantitative and qualitative caps on the development of nuclear weapons, and thus, would be a major step in the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, he said. The CTBT remained paramount to the eventual elimination of nuclear arsenals. He strongly urged all States to ratify the test-ban Treaty, especially the “annex 2” States, which had not yet done so. He could not overemphasize the importance of the early conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty, and he appreciated the United States’ draft proposal which presented a solid basis for negotiations. He, meanwhile, urged all States to declare moratoriums on fissile material for weapons use, without delay.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, the NPT remained the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime, and, as such, it needed strengthening, he said. Universal application of the IAEA additional protocol would further enhance global confidence in that regime.
Northeast Asia was the locus of a pressing nuclear issue. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea announced that it had conducted a nuclear test. He strongly condemned this act as a threat to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region. It was a flagrant violation of the Joint Statement, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1695 (2006), and the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Such a provocation would not be condoned or tolerated. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and exiting nuclear programmes immediately, and behave like a responsible member of the international community.
YEHOSHUA ZARKA ( Israel) joined others in condemning North Korea’s nuclear test, which was an irresponsible and provocative act that seriously threatened global and international security. Israel reiterated its call for a continued moratorium on nuclear tests, and expected North Korea to refrain from any action that could worsen the situation. Israel also called on the international community to see to the implementation of Security Council resolutions adopted to deal with the threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation.
He said that Israel had long advocated global and complete disarmament, and remained committed to a vision of the Middle East developing into a zone free of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as well as ballistic missiles. “Yet we are also realistic enough to know that, in the current realities of the Middle East, this noble vision is not going to materialize any time soon,” he said. Such a vision could not be pursued out of context, but rather, could only emerge out of a fundamental transformation of the regional political-strategic climate, through a gradual process of building mutual trust and reconciliation, followed by more modest arms control measures.
Given the global state of disarmament, other important developments should be addressed, such as rising global energy demand, he said. Such demand, coupled with an ever growing need for non-polluting energy sources, required that nuclear power be made abundantly available. That could only be done if nuclear power could be made safe, reliable and “proliferation resistant”. Concerns about the spread of sensitive nuclear technology were especially urgent, in light of the growing threats to the non-proliferation regime and the poor track record of compliance by some States with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations and norms, during the past decade. Given the inherently dual nature of nuclear fuel cycle technology, it was important to consider the attributes of States possessing such technology and their willingness to shoulder the burden of responsibility and accountability of international non-proliferation and nuclear security norms. Above all, States that threatened others, supported terrorism or denied the right of other States to exist, could not be trusted with such sensitive technology.
He said that Israel recognized the special responsibility it shouldered, and had been engaged in a concerted effort to bring itself closer, wherever possible, to international norms on nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation. It was in full adherence with the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s guidelines, and had complemented its export control effort with active participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative. It had also launched the ratification process of the upgraded Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as well as the Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It was also stepping up the security of its international border crossings against illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials, in cooperation with the United States Department of Energy. Israel remained, not only formally committed to the CTBT, but also participated in the work of the CTBT. Its vested interest in the success of the non-proliferation regime had propelled it to support the development of safe, reliable and proliferation-resistant nuclear power technology, and to strive to enhance the efficiency of safeguards, and promote new international norms on dissemination of new fuel-cycle facilities.
PAUL MEYER ( Canada) said that, these were challenging times for the NPT. Some had questioned whether the infrastructure was losing its relevance and effectiveness. He refuted that notion, stressing that both the CTBT and NPT were just as relevant as ever. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s “irresponsible and dangerous” acts demonstrated exactly how vital the need to preserve and further strengthen the existing nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament regime, was. The NPT must remain the cornerstone of the regime. Now was not the time to resort to passiveness or despair; rather, the Treaty needed to be reinforced rapidly in the face of real world challenges.
He said that States’ policies, pronouncements and actions should be compatible with the progressive movement towards disarmament. There was a role to be played by both nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States. The nuclear-weapon States had made progress, but they needed to continue to reduce and dismantle weapons in a secure and verifiable manner. The Security Council’s role should also not be overlooked. The CTBT was a piece of unfinished business in the nuclear weapons file. The 10 remaining “annex 2” countries needed to ratify it, thereby putting a definitive end to testing. Existing moratoriums could not be terminated with a press release. Yesterday’s testing underlined the need for a universal, legally-binding and permanent ban on all nuclear test explosions. The test-ban Treaty was a crucial support beam for the nuclear non-proliferation edifice.
The next milestone was a fissile material cut-off treaty, he urged. The Committee must build on the positive momentum demonstrated at the Conference on Disarmament on those talks. Canada would table a resolution for immediate negotiations, as there was broad support and the timing was right. “The time to act is now,” he emphasized.
ROBERT LUACES ( United States) said that his country’s aim was to conclude a treaty banning fissile material as soon as possible. The 18 May draft of the treaty, offered by the United States in Geneva, set forth the essentials for meeting the objective of ending, expeditiously, the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. The basic obligation under such a treaty would be a ban on the production of fissile material for use in weapons or explosive devices. Stocks of existing material would be unaffected. Production of fissile material for non-explosive purposes, such as fuel, would also be unaffected.
He said that the definitions of “fissile material” and “production” were an outgrowth of a decade of discussion. The definitions set forth in the draft text were appropriate for a fissile material cut-off treaty, without any provision for verification. His draft omitted the following: “effective verification of a fissile material cut-off treaty cannot be achieved”. Even with verification mechanisms that were so extensive that they could compromise key national security interests, and so costly that they would be cause for hesitation, the United States still would not have high confidence in monitoring compliance with the treaty. Mechanisms and provisions that provided the appearance of verification without the reality could be more dangerous than having no provisions at all. They would provide a false sense of security and the sense that there would be no need for Governments to be vigilant themselves.
Negotiating an international ban on fissile material for nuclear weapons would be difficult enough by itself, he said. Avoiding time-consuming, futile efforts to negotiate verification measures would expedite action by the Conference on Disarmament on the ban. Only by focusing on real objectives could the Conference negotiate the treaty, which would be a significant contribution to the non-proliferation regime and an example of truly effective multilateralism. He hoped that negotiations could begin, and conclude, in the very near future. Pending the conclusion of such a treaty, and its entry into force, all States should declare publicly, and observe, a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, such as the United States had maintained since 1988.
CAROLINE MILLAR ( Australia) said that North Korea’s nuclear test on 9 October was a grave threat to international peace and security -– particularly for Northeast Asia. That country’s actions were unacceptable and totally at odds with Pyongyang’s claim that it sought a denuclearised Korean peninsula. She urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programmes and return immediately to the six-party talks. She also called upon the international community to support a unified and strong response to that country’s actions.
She said that the actions of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had underscored the urgent need for the CTBT to enter into force. The Treaty had established a norm against nuclear testing, but further signatures and ratifications were still required. The lack of a fissile material cut-off treaty remained another significant shortcoming in the international community’s nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. A key objective of all States would be the conclusion of a treaty that secured the commitment of States parties to end fissile material production for nuclear weapons. Of particular significance had been the tabling of a draft treaty and negotiating mandate by the United States.
CARLOS ANTONIO DA ROCHA PARANHOS ( Brazil), speaking on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said that the Market had rejected the nuclear option, and was actively promoting strict compliance to the NPT. He recalled the need to respect the commitments made in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences and to the 13 steps, in particular. Referring to the failure of the 2005 Review Conference to reach any substantive outcome, he noted that that lack of results had sent worrying signals, and seemed to indicate a reinterpretation of the Treaty. It was crucial to maintain a balance between rights and obligations, which underpinned that instrument. It was also imperative to guarantee balanced implementation with strict compliance to the three pillars. Rights to research and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as well as the right to transfer scientific information, should be protected.
He said that the NPT was at a crossroads. In light of the threat of nuclear weapons, the Committee could not afford another string of failures. The review cycle starting next year was, thus, highly important. On the CTBT, his sub-region had been among the first to formally adopt the Treaty. That had demonstrated Brazil’s historical commitment. While there had been progress, he urged the remaining “annex 2” countries to adopt the necessary measures and put an end to the nuclear tests. It was also imperative to assist those countries unable to ratify the Treaty because of technical constraints.
With the Treaty of Tlateloco, MERCOSUR had been the first to establish a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in its territory -- Latin America and the Caribbean. He congratulated Central Asia on its establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone there -– it was the first in the northern hemisphere. The entire southern hemisphere was close to ensuring that it became a nuclear-weapon-free-zone, he added.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said he deplored the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s announcement that it had conducted a nuclear test, which was a destabilizing development for the region. The six-party talks should have been used to address the country’s concerns. He hoped that all countries in the region would exercise restraint.
He said that the sheer number of nuclear weapons, their lethality and the lack of exact figures for the existing stocks of fissile material posed the most serious threat to peace and security. Improvement in nuclear weapon systems engendered new uncertainties and stimulated newer strategic competitions. In case of suspected or alleged non-compliance with the NPT, the best course was diplomacy, not war. Motivation to acquire weapons of mass destruction could best be lowered by addressing root causes.
The global security architecture was in flux, he said. The divergent security interests had led to what one might call a “strategic pause”, which was now turning into a “strategic vacuum”. The consensus underpinning disarmament and non-proliferation had eroded, and the disarmament machinery had atrophied, opening the door for unilateral and discriminatory approaches. Pakistan had proposed convening an international conference to develop a new consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation. “Our quest for a new consensus should be guided by the principle of equal security for all States and sustained by multilateralism, not by some self-selected, even if well-meaning, groups of countries,” he said. Discriminatory and asymmetric possession of weapons of mass destruction would not ensure non-proliferation or regional or global security, nor would technology constraints prove a durable answer, unless the motives for proliferation were addressed.
He said that the process of disarmament and non-proliferation needed to be revived, while a universally agreed basis for promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy was evolved. A fissile material cut-off treaty must be verifiable and should take into account existing stocks, in order to be effective. Similarly, one could only presume that such stocks would be transformed into nuclear weapons over time. A treaty that froze or accentuated asymmetries would accelerate, and not arrest, proliferation. It was important, therefore, that such a treaty provide a schedule for a progressive transfer of existing stockpiles to civilian use and that those stockpiles be placed under safeguards, so that the un-safeguarded stocks were equalized at the lowest possible level. That should be accompanied by a mandatory programme for the elimination of asymmetries in the possession of fissile material stockpiles by various States.
At the time of the adoption of the NPT, it was understood that non-nuclear-weapon States would seek negative security assurances, he recalled. That issue was on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament, which should start work early next year to draft a universal treaty to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons. No issue was riper for negotiation. Although Pakistan subscribed to the objectives of the NPT, it was a nuclear-weapon State. It was already fulfilling the Treaty’s non-proliferation norms and was prepared to continue to uphold the obligations undertaken by nuclear-weapon States under articles I, II and III of the Treaty. It could not be expected to adhere to the treaty, however, as a non-nuclear-weapon State.
Similarly, he said, while Pakistan was observing a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear tests, it could not agree to a moratorium on the production of fissile material, even as others were being aided in ways that would vastly expand their fissile material stocks.
It was important to evolve an agreed basis for the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy on a non-discriminatory basis and under appropriate international safeguards, he said. Pakistan had a legitimate requirement for nuclear power generation to meet the energy needs of its expanding economy. It would continue to develop nuclear power generation under strict IAEA safeguards.
He said that under its Strategic Restraint Regime, Pakistan was pursuing a negotiated settlement, with India, on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, nuclear and missile restraint and a balance in conventional forces. “ Pakistan does not want to enter into a strategic and conventional arms race, but we will do whatever is necessary to preserve the credibility of our minimum defensive deterrence level,” he said.
CARLO TREZZA ( Italy) said that several delegations had referred, during the general debate, to the so-called Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative and to its relevance as an instrument of arms control and disarmament. He wished to recall what that initiative was about and why it was relevant to the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear disarmament.
He said that the Cooperative Threat Reduction programme was one of the most significant developments in recent years in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. It referred to the process of international cooperation and assistance, through which a large number of nuclear warheads and carriers had been destroyed and deactivated, and weapons of mass destruction materials eliminated, or placed in safe storage. It also covered other weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical, biological and radiological. Such engagements were meaningless, however, unless the weapons involved were either physically destroyed or appropriately disposed of. In past years, the enormous technical and financial problems associated with such elimination had emerged. The Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative was a multilateral effort aimed at addressing those problems.
In June 2002, leaders of the G-8 Group announced a “Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction”, he noted. Participants pledged to raise up to $20 billion over the following 10 years to address those threats and to prevent terrorists, or those who harboured them, from acquiring such weapons and technologies. Since then, the Global Partnership had become a large-scale international initiative, which had enhanced international security and stability. Fourteen States had joined, and the initiative was open to further expansion to recipient and donor countries.
He said that the Cooperative Threat Reduction programme had become one of the important instruments of the European strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Not only was it crucial to address the problem of negotiating and implementing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, it was also necessary to cope with the additional problem of actually destroying those weapons. In some cases, that required international cooperation, although the primary responsibility for destruction and safety, in that regard, should remain with countries concerned.
PABLO MACEDO ( Mexico) said that there were 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world, 25,000 of which were held by the United States or the Russian Federation. With large stockpiles of related material and the risk of it falling into the hands of non-State actors, no country could feel safe. He wondered how those arsenals could be justified after the end of the cold war. International security was based on multilateral and bilateral instruments, which guaranteed the stability sought by all. He expressed concern over threats, recently declared by one State, to use nuclear weapons in a terrorist attack. He wondered who would be attacked, and how many victims that would claim.
He said that, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation went hand-in-hand, and no strategic doctrine could justify the ongoing growth of such weapons. He condemned the vertical and horizontal proliferation taking place, both covertly and overtly. The existence of double standards was also of concern. That undermined the moral authority of the NPT and, in a tense climate such as today’s, the legitimate demands of non-nuclear-weapon States were increasingly relevant. Security assurances should be consolidated through a treaty or protocol, he added.
The tenth anniversary of the CTBT coincided with the unfortunate announcement of a nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said. His Government shared the concern of the Republic of Korea and Japan, adding that he condemned and deplored that test.
As a pioneer of nuclear-weapon-free zones, Mexico called for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The total prohibition of nuclear testing would contribute substantially to non-proliferation. This year was also the tenth anniversary of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons. This was a timely opportunity, one decade later, for certain States that had not met their international commitments, to do so. Mexico was convinced that there had never been a more critical need to free future generations from the immoral scourge of nuclear weapons.
REBECA HERNANDEZ TOLEDANO ( Cuba) said, her Government believed that the use of nuclear weapons was illegal and immoral, and could not be justified. She supported the total elimination of weapons of mass destruction and of nuclear weapons, in particular. Aligning her country with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, she said that nuclear disarmament was, and remained, a priority.
There were still over 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world, 12,000 of which were ready for immediate use, she noted. Those would have devastating consequences, and such a strike would imply a flagrant violation of international law. New and more sophisticated weapons continued to be developed. The belief that security could only be guaranteed through the possession of nuclear weapons was totally unfounded, and their continued possession carried certain responsibilities on the part of the States that possessed them.
She said that the lack of progress in achieving results in the field of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation was unacceptable. Commitments should be fully honoured, including the 13 practical steps. It had become evident that certain political Powers lacked the resolve to eliminate their nuclear weapons. The NPT was a step on the road towards disarmament, but that was not an end in itself. There was also built into that Treaty, evidence of double standards. She underlined the need for multilateral negotiations in dealing with the threat and elimination of nuclear weapons, while reaffirming her Government’s commitment to a world free of those deadly arms.
TATYANA FEDOROVICH ( Belarus) said that, strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty was the cornerstone of disarmament efforts, and the CTBT was also important.
On the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in Central Asia, she said her country’s Foreign Minister had offered a full statement, which was handed out to the Security Council as document “766”. It pointed out that the creation of such a zone had been an important contribution to regional security and part of the global campaign against nuclear terror. The signing of the Treaty would strengthen the NPT and give impetus to the work of the United Nations on all questions of nuclear non-proliferation.
WITJAKSONO ADJI ( Indonesia) said that he would work with the international community to abolish all nuclear weapons. Those were dangerous in anyone’s hands –- even those of nuclear-weapon States. Catastrophic dangers were possible, in view of accidents or miscalculations, with such weapons. He expressed support for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and stressed that nuclear stocks should be outlawed and eliminated.
He said that rhetoric alone would not solve the issue. States with the largest arsenals –- namely, the United States and the Russian Federation -– needed to show strong leadership and commitment by setting an example. He looked forward to the new cycle of the NPT’s review process. In response to the current impasse in the field of disarmament, there was an urgent need to strengthen that Treaty. State parties should demonstrate their political will and flexibility to reach consensus, while respecting existing Treaty obligations.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear test was unacceptable and had no justification, he said. It served only to increase new tension and threaten stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The security of States did not warrant possession and development of nuclear weapons. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resume the six-party talks immediately.
JAYANT PRASAD ( India) said his country had expressed deep concern about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and how it had violated its international commitments and jeopardized peace and security in the region. The final document of the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (1978) (SSOD I) had set the basic terms of any discussion on disarmament, of which nuclear disarmament was the highest goal. The increasing militarization of international relations -- a feature of the cold war -- no longer existed, but the world was quite far from eliminating nuclear weapons. A lack of trust among States was the problem. For any breakthrough, all States needed to engage in exchanges on approaches to nuclear disarmament and accommodate each other’s threat protection and security concerns.
He said that a revalidation of the unequivocal commitment of all nuclear-weapon States to complete disarmament would be the right way to proceed. It was essential to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons, as well as to renew commitments to non-first use, and to not use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States. India maintained a credible minimum deterrent, but that represented no dilution to its commitment to disarmament. Its doctrine was based on non-first use and on no use, or threat of use, against non-nuclear weapon States. India was willing to join negotiations to reduce and eliminate such weapons. It had maintained a moratorium on nuclear tests and was ready to participate in negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty banning fissile material.
The international community’s ability to take concrete steps, as outlined in his country’s working paper handed out during the Committee’s general debate, must be strengthened, he stressed. That the present time was one of challenge was not in doubt. That challenge could be met only through a commitment to non-discriminatory disarmament and by devising a road map to a nuclear-weapon-free world.
MR. LUACES ( United States) said that, while his country was still working to confirm the technical details regarding an atomic test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, that action was an urgent threat to peace and stability in the region, and a matter of grave concern to the entire international community. “The implications of this action by North Korea on international efforts to combat proliferation, international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction could not be more profound or troubling,” he stressed, adding that it clearly demonstrated a reckless disregard for peace and security.
He said that the United States was consulting urgently with its partners and within the Security Council regarding appropriate responses to North Korea’s grave provocation. That country’s continuing development of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, and increasing provocations necessitated “swift, stern measures” by the international community. The North Korean regime was one of the world’s leading proliferators of missile technology, including to Iran and Syria. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to States or non-State entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, which would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such actions.
In that connection, the United States remained committed to diplomacy and continued to protect itself and its interests, he said. It was critical that the international community work together to address North Korea’s growing threats to its neighbours and the world. North Korea must be made to understand, in no uncertain terms, that the United States was “serious in its resolve” to deal with its “dangerous and destabilizing” behaviour. The international community must send a clear signal to North Korea that if it chose to continue its programmes of weapons of mass destruction and to develop delivery vehicles, its endeavours would only increase its political and economic isolation. Misbehaviour only undermined the security and welfare of the already suffering North Korean people. He urged the international community to immediately denounce North Korea’s action, and he called on all governments to take concrete measures, including by freezing assets and transactions involving North Korea’s proliferation activities.
JOHANNES LANDMAN ( Netherlands) said that this week had shown again how nuclear weapons in irresponsible hands were the single greatest threat to humanity. There was no justification for a nuclear weapon test in today’s circumstances, and it was a huge, deliberate provocation, rightly being condemned by all sides. Quoting the Secretary-General, he said that “without mutual recognition of threats, there can be no collective security. Self-help will rule, mistrust will predominate and cooperation for long-term mutual gain will elude us.” A couple of days ago, the world witnessed one of the worst examples of self-help. And that was not unique -– analysts had pointed to what was sometimes called the danger of a “cascade of proliferation”.
He said that upholding the NPT remained vital. All elements of the Treaty were equally crucial. That included recognition that proliferation in any form was unacceptable, that cooperation on the peaceful transfer of technology remained a confidence-building measure, and that nuclear-weapon States would have to disarm. Secondly, it was imperative that the CTBT enter into force, as it offered an essential safeguard against proliferation. Thirdly, it was necessary to have a breakthrough in the Conference on Disarmament and acknowledge that several issues on its agenda should be further prioritized.
CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE ( Brazil) condemned the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. That decision went against the text of the Security Council resolution adopted on 6 October. He called upon that country to return, without any conditions, to the NPT, and also to become party to the CTBT. Pending the test-ban treaty’s entry into force, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to observe the test moratorium and to return to the six-party talks. That country also needed to take into account the security concerns of the region. He reiterated that significant and urgent steps must be taken to eliminate atomic arsenals.
Introduction of Drafts
HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) introduced a draft resolution entitled “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons”. The advisory opinion of 8 July 1996 remained a historic and resolute decision in the disarmament field, as well as a legal call to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Yet, the global disarmament and non-proliferation framework remained in flux. If several fundamental challenges were left unchecked, that could destabilize international peace and security, while increasing the risk of new instances of unilateral or pre-emptive uses of force.
He said that the unanimous decision of the International Court of Justice, while being consistent with the solemn obligation of States parties under Article IV of the NPT, did not confine itself only to State parties to the NPT, but rather significantly, served as a universal declaration. The Court’s decision must be followed up by concrete action by all member States. The draft resolution he was tabling also contained the necessary modifications for technical updating.
On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malaysia deplored the nuclear test and believed it was a serious setback to efforts aimed at keeping the region and the world free from nuclear weapons, he said. It could also trigger an arms race, and Malaysia urged all countries in the region to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from actions that could further heighten tension in the region. Malaysia strongly believed that the continued existence of nuclear weapons presented a grave threat to humanity, and he, therefore, reiterated the importance of achieving the universal goal of complete and general disarmament.
MR. DA ROCHA PARANHOS ( Brazil) presented two draft resolutions. The first related to the 2010 Review Conference of States parties to the NPT. He indicated that informal debate had taken place in July and September. There was still the issue of a choice of venue for the Conference. The draft, itself, was of a procedural nature, he noted.
The second draft resolution dealt with the subject of nuclear-weapon-free-zones, particularly the Southern Hemisphere. He recalled that a similar resolution had been adopted by an overwhelming majority in the General Assembly 11 years earlier. He also indicated that the 2006 version of the text included a reference to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in Central Asia. His objective was to have the General Assembly recognize the birth of the Southern Hemisphere as a nuclear-weapon-free-zone.
Introducing a draft on the CTBT, MS. MILLAR ( Australia) said that the text was mostly an update from previous years, but operative paragraph five would condemn the weapons test of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The draft would formally be issued tomorrow, and she invited delegations wishing to co-sponsor the resolution to contact her delegation.
She next introduced a draft on the implementation of the Ottawa Convention, on the ban on the stockpiling, manufacture, transfer, and destruction of anti-personnel mines, saying that the text was a technical update of previous resolutions, and would be issued tomorrow.
Introducing a draft on a “convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons”, MR. PRASAD ( India) said that the text underlined that the use of those weapons was one of the most serious threats to mankind’s survival. The text reflected the belief of the co-sponsors that a binding instrument on the use or threat of use of such weapons would mitigate the nuclear threat as an important interim measure until agreement on a step-by-step process was agreed to eliminate nuclear weapons, altogether. Such a convention would reduce the saliency of those weapons in maintaining international security and contribute to a change in attitudes in favour of a nuclear-weapon-free world. The operative part of the draft called on the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations to reach agreement on such a convention.
Then, tabling a draft on “reducing nuclear danger”, he said that all United Nations constituents had agreed in 1978 that nuclear weapons posed the greatest danger to mankind and that effective disarmament was the highest priority. Measures for reducing nuclear danger were necessary to safeguard interests and offered modest, pragmatic proposals for the safety of mankind, pending complete disarmament. Strategic experts had identified one or more of those measures as achievable, including the de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons. The hair-trigger posture of nuclear forces contained the unacceptable threat of those weapons’ actual use, which could have catastrophic consequences. The risk of such weapons falling into the hands of non-State actors had further aggravated existing dangers. The aim of the text was to reach an international understanding on reducing nuclear danger or accidental nuclear war, he explained.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he categorically rejected that some countries, including the United States and Japan, made a fuss about his country’s nuclear test and urged it to abandon its nuclear programme. He wished to reiterate parts of the statement of his Foreign Ministry for the better understanding of the delegations in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).
He said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea officially announced that it had manufactured up-to-date nuclear weapons, after going through a legitimate, transparent process to deal with the United States’ escalation of the threat of nuclear war and of sanctions and pressure. The extreme threat of nuclear war from the United States had compelled his country to conduct the test, which was an essential step for nuclear deterrence and a measure for defence. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would never use nuclear weapons first and strictly prohibited any threat of their use or of their transfer.
It was clear that peoples without a reliable war deterrent were bound to meet a tragic death and have their sovereignty wantonly infringed upon, he said. That was a bitter lesson taught from the “law of the jungle” in different parts of the world. His country’s nuclear weapons would serve as a reliable war deterrent, protecting the supreme interests of his State and its security from threats by the United States, while averting a new war and ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would always sincerely implement its international commitment to non-proliferation, as a responsible nuclear-weapon-State. It would do its utmost to denuclearize the Peninsula and give impetus to world disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.
He said that since his country had been exposed to the United States’ nuclear threat and blackmail for more than half a century, it had proposed a denuclearization of the Peninsula before anybody else and had made the utmost efforts to achieve that goal. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s ultimate goal was not denuclearization followed by bilateral disarmament, but resolution of the hostility between the two countries and the removal of all sources of nuclear threat from the Peninsula and its vicinity. His country would make positive efforts to denuclearize the Peninsula its own way, and not fail, despite the challenges and difficulties.
* *** *For information media • not an official record