Speakers in First Committee Question Rationale for Nuclear Weapons Retention, Say Thwarting Conventional Arms Flows ‘Weakest Link’ in Control Efforts

GA/DIS/3500
10 October 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 5th Meeting (AM)

Speakers in First Committee Question Rationale for Nuclear Weapons Retention, Say Thwarting Conventional Arms Flows ‘Weakest Link’ in Control Efforts

The difficult and complex conventional arms control challenge, which delegates hoped would be mitigated with the coming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, dominated debate in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today.

As discussion continued, Guatemala’s representative said reigning in the defensive power and provocative trigger of conventional weapons flows was the ‘weakest link’ in arms control efforts.  No country could take on that challenge by itself, let alone a small developing country.  She expressed hope that the Arms Trade Treaty would help thwart those weapons’ diversion into the illicit market.  

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania urged the international community to not just “pay lip service” to staunching the recurring problem of illicit flows of small arms and light weapons, to which his country was a victim.  Botswana’s representative said the country had acquired marking machines, and, to date, had marked all weapons in the Government’s arsenal, except those held by the military.  The process of marking weapons in civilian possession, he added, would begin in the near future.

Representatives from the African continent were no less concerned about nuclear weapons.  Zambia, said its speaker, joined other “peace custodians” in calling on nuclear-armed States to scale back their investment in those weapons, and discouraged others from joining the arms race.  There were “no winners in nuclear warfare,” he stated.

Nuclear weapons “should be abolished before they abolish the world’s community,” said the representative of the Philippines.  While “skewed security perceptions and reliance on the comfort of deterrence” slowed progress in nuclear disarmament, he believed the legal, humanitarian, and moral frameworks for total disarmament would remain the international community’s compass towards that goal.

Similarly, the representative of the Maldives said some countries considered those weapons to be a symbol of pride.  No nation on Earth had the ability to deal with their repercussions.  Their use — which, in worst case scenarios, could annihilate entire countries — could not only cause the gravest humanitarian emergency, but would also have catastrophic global ramifications on the environment, climate, health, social order, and human development.

As this year marked the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan’s representative said it was crucial for all States to urgently fulfil their disarmament commitments, and work to ensure that nuclear weapons were not used or proliferated.

Also speaking were the representatives of the Netherlands, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Benin, Uruguay, Syria, Ukraine, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

The representatives of Turkey, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Japan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 13 October to continue its general debate.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3497.

Statements

HENK COR VAN DER KWAST (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said that his country was fully committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  In that context, it would continue to promote the full implementation of the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Action Plan, a common road map towards the 2015 Review Conference.  He further expressed concern that the implementation of the actions under the Treaty’s nuclear disarmament pillar were lagging behind.  He rejected the notion that the “international strategic situation” was a reason to thwart nuclear disarmament efforts, as claimed by some in the international community.

He said that the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons detonation, tabled for the Vienna Conference in December this year, underpinned all efforts to advance nuclear disarmament.  The international community, however, could not ignore the security dimension of that discussion.  In that regard, the Netherlands hoped that the Vienna Conference would contribute to a successful outcome of the NPT Review Conference.  As a fissile material cut-off treaty remained a top priority for the country, it welcomed the two positive meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts on the matter; it hoped its work would contribute to the early start of negotiations on the fissile material ban.

The Nuclear Security Summit, hosted by the Netherlands in March, he said, had produced “substantial results” in reducing the amount of civil nuclear material globally, which improved its security and enhanced international cooperation.  Nevertheless, the task remained of further strengthening the security of all civil and military nuclear material, while creating a robust nuclear security architecture for years to come.  On the subject of small arms and light weapons, he said that, while the Fifth Biennial Meetings of States on the 2001 Programme of Action had been a success, sight should not be lost of the continued importance of the Programme’s implementation.  Much more work was needed, however, in tracing and tracking.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), associating himself with the New Agenda Coalition and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the implementation of the NPT suffered from a fundamental imbalance.  While the international community had fared well with regard to its non-proliferation objectives, the same could not be said about disarmament commitments.  The “compliance deficit” by the nuclear-weapon States harmed the integrity of the NPT regime, and jeopardized the success achieved in non-proliferation.  In order to have a successful 2015 Review Conference, unequivocal and concrete commitments by the nuclear-armed States to advance nuclear disarmament were needed.

Beyond the fears instilled by the possibility of a detonation, the mere existence of nuclear weapons affected people’s lives, he said.  The severe financial resources diverted to the maintenance and modernization of nuclear arsenals could, if invested elsewhere, provide significant betterment of living conditions worldwide.  Even amid the global financial crisis, it was estimated that the nuclear-weapon States spent around $100 billion a year to maintain their arsenals. The NPT Review Conference next year would be an opportunity to consider the components of a concrete road map to nuclear disarmament and its timeframe for implementation.  Nuclear disarmament must remain a global priority, reflected in decisive steps and the urgent launch of negotiations.

BARLYBAI SADYKOV (Kazakhstan) affirmed that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were the main priorities of his country’s foreign policy agenda.  Having closed down one the largest nuclear-test sites in the world, his country was taking practical measures to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.  As such, he expressed concerned that, while non-nuclear-weapon States were fulfilling their NPT commitments, nuclear-weapon States were not.  Kazakhstan fully supported the proposal to start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on drafting a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention.  To further that goal, Kazakhstan proposed the adoption of a United Nations declaration on the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons, and would continue consultations on a draft resolution.

This year, he noted, Kazakhstan had hosted the twenty-first World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.  It had also launched the “ATOM” (Abolish Testing Our Mission) project to inform the world community about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons tests.  As a country that had experienced the “disastrous consequences” of nuclear explosions, it fully supported multilateral discussions on this issue, and hoped they would lead to a total ban on testing and the elimination of those weapons.

He described the signing of the Protocol to the Semipalatinsk Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia as the most important event in the area of non-proliferation this year.  The zone’s establishment, which was the result of the collective efforts of all five Central Asian States, would contribute to the implementation of the NPT and strengthen both regional and global security.  In its capacity as “Chair of the Treaty”, Kazakhstan would table a draft resolution for consideration by the First Committee.   He encouraged its adoption by consensus.

NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that arms and armed conflicts remained the largest obstacle to global peace and security, while also hindering economic and social development.  He welcomed the positive momentum created by the international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and hoped such conferences would result in a serious discussion leading to concrete outcomes.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones were concrete confidence-building measures, and making progress towards such a zone in the Middle East would help preserve the credibility of the NPT.

He said that last month, Thailand had joined Cuba and Mexico in co-hosting a Bangkok event to observe the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.  There, a youth participant noted that a world without nuclear weapons was like a neighbourhood where fear did not thrive or control people’s actions.  Thailand was mindful of the enormous benefits of nuclear energy and technology; however, the use of nuclear energy needed to be accompanied by adequate technical know-how and safeguards.  Troubled by the continued proliferation of small arms and light weapons, he noted the imminent entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, and hoped Thailand would become a State party to that treaty very soon. Inter-agency consultations had been convened to review and assess its existing framework and regulations.

JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, said that this First Committee session gave Member States the opportunity to reflect on the ways and means to achieve a world free of the threat of nuclear and conventional weapons. Benin reiterated calls for the total destruction of nuclear weapons and the reduction of small arms and light weapons, which, he said, had ultimately become weapons of mass destruction. He called for the nuclear Powers to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and urged the international community to remain vigilant in not returning to the doctrine of the cold war. At the same time, he praised the bilateral discussions between the United States and the Russian Federation on limiting their stockpiles. The “zero option” should be supported by greater efforts at the multilateral level to conceptually define the principles that would bind all, he said.

He called on the international community to reinvigorate the disarmament machinery to help control weapons and military spending, highlighting the important role of the Conference of Disarmament. At the same time, Benin was troubled by the difficulties facing the United Nations Disarmament Commission, which had not made sufficient progress on its agenda items in years. He hoped the upcoming session would make tangible progress. He urged the international community to not fall victim to the “self-imposed rule of consensus”.

He acknowledged the mobilisation of non-governmental organizations and civilians who had been in the “vanguard on the struggle of nuclear disarmament”.

He expressed support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Middle East, and urged that a conference be held to help make that goal a reality. Recalling Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), he reaffirmed Benin’s commitment to preventing the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists. Efforts must be specifically stepped up when dealing with the scourge of those weapons in the hands of religious groups. To that end, he commended the Arms Trade Treaty as a major achievement by the United Nations towards “the greater good of humanity”. The ease with which groups could acquire those weapons to launch “asymmetric wars” against States required the Treaty’s steady implementation, he warned.

GONZALO KONCKE (Uruguay), associating with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States , expressed his county’s strong commitment to fighting the trafficking of small arms and light weapons, which were truly weapons of mass destruction in the.  Such weapons threatened civilians, particularly women and children, he said, describing the Arms Trade Treaty as an important step towards global regulation and more responsible trade in those weapons, their parts, and munitions.  Regulating that trade would have key consequences for armed conflicts, especially as that would help protect civilian victims.  The key objective of the Arms Trade Treaty was to save lives, and, to do that, the international community must join forces and protect attacks against civilians.

At the national level, he said, Uruguay was updating its legislation to bring it in line with the Arms Trade Treaty, which was an international benchmark for combatting illicit weapons trafficking.  As a non-nuclear-weapon State, Uruguay was committed to strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  The humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons should spur their prohibition, and he also urged the prompt entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  Pending that, he urged all States to maintain their moratoriums on nuclear testing; also, the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, as well as to take steps to create a zone free of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons in the Middle East.  One way to improve the work of the Conference on Disarmament would be to expand its membership to States that had expressed an interest, such as Uruguay.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) expressed support for a world free from the use of force and in line with the United Nations Charter, based on peace between peoples.  Syria was ready to contribute to all genuine international efforts to achieve those goals.  Four decades after the conclusion of the NPT, it was necessary for the nuclear-weapon States to comply with its article VI, and put an end to Israel’s non-accession.  He stressed the inalienable right of NPT States parties to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Also important was for the Conference on Disarmament to adopt a comprehensive and balanced programme of work, which would include subsidiary organs on the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and the granting of negative security assurances for non-nuclear-armed States.

He said that the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons destabilized States and contributed to terrorism.  The instability in Syria would not have occurred without the training and supplies given to those groups, both from the Arab region and elsewhere in the world.  One of Syria’s major concerns about the Arms Trade Treaty was the opposition to the inclusion of a clear call to categorically prohibit the export of weapons to non-State actors and terrorists, he said, adding that current events in Syria and elsewhere substantiated those concerns.  Such weapons were reaching terrorist groups, which eroded stability and regional security, as had been seen in the separation zone of the Syrian Golan.  He firmly condemned the use of nuclear weapons as an ”odious crime”, and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.  The use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, was reprehensible and immoral, he added.

Countries that supported terrorism in Syria continued to level unfounded accusations against the Syrian Government, he said.  Turkey and Saudi Arabia had been directly involved with supplying terrorist groups with chemical weapons and other “weapons of death” in Syria.  Turkey trained criminal elements in its own territory before sending them to Syria.  It would have been better to offer aid to Syria; instead, Turkey drew its religious ideology from terrorist groups and had transformed into the main support base for them. He called on States to rid the Middle East region of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. That, however, could not be done until Israel subjected its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.  All double standards should be banished, he urged.

IRENE SUSAN BARREIRO NATIVIDAD (Philippines), associating with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the continued existence of nuclear weapons remained a global issue of concern.  Against a landscape of major conflicts, insecurity and mistrust, the danger posed by those weapons was alarming.  Slow progress in reducing and — ultimately — eliminating them, stemmed from “skewed security perceptions and reliance on the comfort of deterrence”.  For its part, the Philippines had always pushed for dialogue as the only way to wean States away from that trend.

She lent her country’s strong support to the ongoing humanitarian discourse on the “catastrophic effects” of nuclear weapons.  Discussions in that area were productive, not only in providing facts about the devastation of those weapons to humanity and the environment, but in helping establishing a legal framework towards their complete elimination.  The legal, humanitarian, and moral frameworks for total disarmament would remain the international community’s “compass” towards a nuclear-weapon free world.

In the area of conventional weapons, she said that reconciliation in the Southern Philippines would not have been possible, had it not been for the commitment of both the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to engage in “normalization” activities, with a programme for decommissioning weapons.  For too long, the presence of tens of thousands of firearms had posed a serious challenge to the peace process in her country.  As a result, the Philippines was supportive of the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his delegation remained deeply concerned over the illicit transfer, manufacture, and circulation of small arms and light weapons.  Their accumulation and uncontrolled spread in all regions of the world was a cause for serious concern; those arms remained the weapons of choice in most conflict situations, with lasting consequences on the innocent.  It was against that background that Botswana remained committed to the fight against trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and the United Nations Programme of Action.  To implement that plan, tracing and record-keeping were indispensable.

In line with the provisions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol, the above Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument, Botswana, he said, had acquired marking machines with the assistance of the American State Department on Politics and Military Affairs.  To date, his country had marked all arms in the Government’s possession, except for those held by the military, and an exercise to mark those in civilian possession would commence in the near future.

YURIY SERGEYEV (Ukraine) said that the use of nuclear weapons was the most serious threat facing humankind today.  It was essential to strengthen international cooperation in order to reinforce the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  Pursuing that goal, Ukraine had abandoned its nuclear-weapon capability, and acceded to the NPT in November 1994.  It had also taken concrete steps in eliminating the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes, by removing existing stocks from the national territory in March 2012.

Ukraine’s decision to renounce nuclear weapons, he went on, had taken place against the background of the Russian Federation’s aggression, occupation, and annexation of his country’s territory in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and destabilization in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine.  He was especially cynical of those actions by the Russian Federation because that country was a State-guarantor of Ukraine accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State, signed in Budapest in December 1994.  Additionally, under article V of the 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet, the Russian Federation was obliged to not have nuclear weapons stationed in Ukraine’s territory.  That country’s unilateral action to denounce that agreement this year was disturbing.

Stressing the importance of the CTBT, negative security assurances, and commencement of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said that Ukraine had signed the Arms Trade Treaty on 23 September and welcomed its upcoming entry into force in December.

MÓNICA BOLAÑOS PÉREZ (Guatemala), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, while her country had no first-hand experience with nuclear weapons, it has been greatly affected by small arms and light weapons; those had contributed to armed violence and insecurity, and exacerbated gender-based crime.  Their trafficking remained one of Guatemala’s top priorities, as that stunted its development capacity.  No country could take on that enormous challenge, let alone a small, developing country.  As a cross-cutting matter that affected all, a multilateral framework was required to help States protect their civilians from those dangerous weapons.  To that end, Guatemala welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, the first legally binding instrument of its kind, at the global level.  That initiative would help address the “weakest link” in the weapons chain, and help thwart their diversion into the illicit market.  Guatemala had signed the Treaty, and was beginning the process of ratification.

She went on to note that her country was part of a region that had shown leadership in that area, and she welcomed Mexico for hosting the First Conference of State Parties.  She encouraged implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action and its follow-up mechanism.  At the same time, she noted the lack of progress made at the Fifth Meeting of States to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adding that any global discussion on weapons was incomplete without addressing that growing problem.  Her country was proud that Latin America and the Caribbean region had established the world’s first cluster-munition-free zone.

On the NPT, she said it was not designed to be a “standing regime”.  Non-nuclear-armed states had “fulfilled their part of the bargain”; now it was up to the nuclear-weapon States to do the same, she said, adding that the international community must actively work together to ensure nuclear disarmament.  Guatemala believed that the establishment of nuclear-weapon–free zones was essential and hoped that the zone in the Latin American and Caribbean region served as a model for others.  Her country also supported efforts to bring the Middle East closer to that goal.  Guatemala called for universal ratification by all States of the CTBT, and, pending the Treaty’s entry into force, urged a moratorium on nuclear testing.

MWABA PATRICIA KASESE-BOTA (Zambia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, expressed concern about the “catastrophic” humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, noting that the testing and manufacturing of those weapons had created unacceptable outcomes, and undermined progress in global development.  “Refined approaches” were needed in this session to seize the opportunity for a common, global treaty that banned those weapons.  Their production, deployment, and stockpiling, should be rejected by all Member States for the betterment of future generations.  In that regard, Zambia had joined other global “peace custodians” in calling upon nuclear-States to scale back their investment in nuclear weapons, and discouraged others from joining the nuclear arms race.

Despite conferences on nuclear disarmament held in Oslo and Mexico, little progress had been made, she said. However, the First Committee session offered a “new window” of concerted efforts towards the third nuclear disarmament conference to be held in Vienna later this year.  There were “no winners in nuclear warfare”, she said, adding that Member States must work together towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Concerning other weapons of mass destruction, Zambia echoed the condemnation by the African Group on the recent use of chemical weapons, which had led to the loss of life of innocent women and children.  It encouraged States that had not yet ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention to do so.

Praising the upcoming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, she said that instrument brought hope of drastically reducing and controlling the proliferation of illegal firearms. The Committee’s deliberations this session must synchronize with the renewed international commitment to enforce the treaty. 

 

RY TUY (Cambodia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that the presence of landmines and explosive remnants of war still posed constant threats to human security, and national development.  The Mine Ban Treaty addressed the human tragedy and suffering of victims in Cambodia and other similar regions, such as Mozambique, Angola, Afghanistan, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the commitment to put an end to those inhumane and deadly weapons had been born.

Joining the international community in its concerns over the continued loss of human life from armed conflicts, Cambodia, he noted, had signed the Arms Trade Treaty.  It aimed to regulate the trade of conventional weapons, and provide the impetus for effective monitoring and stabilizing of their flows, particularly in conflict-prone regions.  One could not overlook the fact that small arms and light weapons still claimed civilian and military lives, and posed a threat to human security — especially in warring and post-war countries.  While the world was still challenged by armed conflicts and a fear of weapons proliferation by illegal means, it was more important than ever to make collective efforts to address the issues through further commitments by, and cooperation among all States.

EDWARD VICTOR MASALLA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, warned that the consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation would be catastrophic; it had the potential to spread across borders and bring irreparable harm to the natural ecosystem, destroying it for generations to come.  A legal instrument prohibiting such usage would strengthen the NPT, by fulfilling its disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.  His country was a party to several legally binding disarmament and arms control instruments, including the NPT; CTBT; Arms Trade Treaty; Convention on Cluster Munitions; and the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty). It also supported the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.  As a signatory of the Pelindaba Treaty since 1996, the United Republic of Tanzania supported the establishment of such zones worldwide, as those were an “invaluable contribution” to the maintenance of international peace and security.  The country had also lent its support for the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.  In the same vein, it called on all nuclear-armed States to ratify international treaties and protocols related to those zones.

Turning to weapons of mass destruction, he said his country supported their complete elimination, in all their forms.  His country believed in protecting the “sanctity of human life, wherever people live and in whatever conditions they are in”.  While his country and subregion did not produce nuclear weapons, it was a recurring victim of illicit arms and light weapons.  He urged the international community to not continue to “pay lip service to that anathema,” and to do away with those weapons.  For all, he said, the common purpose was to pursue global development, peace, and security.  But that was only possible in a world free from the fear and terror that came with the possibility of nuclear detonations.  With that in mind, he warned that nuclear weapons “should be abolished before they abolish the world’s community”.

AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said his country did not produce any weapons or armaments of any kind, and had no ambitions to do so.  While the Maldives might not have the resources to contribute towards strengthening and enforcing the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, it was still aware of the threat to all countries posed by weapons of mass destruction.  No nation on earth had the ability to deal with the repercussions of nuclear weapons, even though some countries considered those weapons to be a symbol of pride.

The use of nuclear weapons not only caused the gravest humanitarian emergencies, he said, but also had catastrophic, global ramifications on the environment, climate, health, social order, and human development.  In worst-case scenarios, the use of those weapons could lead to the annihilation of an entire country.  He welcomed the increased attention paid to the humanitarian consequences of those weapons, as well as the International Day for their total elimination.  He further welcomed the coming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, and said the Maldives was in the process of acceding to it.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, when talking about nuclear disarmament, “the first word that comes to mind is disappointment”, adding that, perhaps no other goal of the United Nations remained so painfully underachieved.  The rhetoric on nuclear disarmament had not matched up to a concrete and tangible achievement; mankind was still confronted with an “unprecedented threat of self-extinction”, arising from the accumulation of nuclear weapons.  As a result, many were now worried about the safety and security of nuclear arsenals.

Bangladesh’s position had been “consistent, straight-forward, and unambiguous” on this issue, he said.  Convinced that nuclear weapons could not guarantee security or peace, his country had unequivocally reaffirmed its commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear technology’s only purpose was in its peaceful use, under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.  In that regard, the country had been working with the Agency on civil and peaceful use of nuclear technology, particularly in the agriculture and energy sectors.

On the other hand, some continued to possess those weapons to guarantee their security, he said.  Valuable resources that could provide decent lives to the deprived, were, instead, being used to create more sophisticated weapons.  Addressing the nuclear-armed States, he asked them to think about the more than $105 billion spent annually on building new nuclear arsenals, and the $50 billion per annum it would take to halve poverty for the 5 billion people of the world.

TOSHIO SANO (Japan) stressed the importance of realistic and practical steps towards nuclear disarmament, in order to avoid “political instability and military imbalance”.  Together with other members of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, Japan had actively worked to strengthen the NPT regime. It had proposed to work towards “three reductions” — in the number of nuclear weapons, the role they played, and the incentive to possess them.  It had also proposed “three preventions” — the emergence of new nuclear-weapon States, the proliferation of nuclear-weapons-related material, and nuclear terrorism.  Japan sought to move towards a world without nuclear weapons with that concept in mind.

As this year marked the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was crucial for all States to urgently fulfil their disarmament commitments; also, to work to ensure that nuclear weapons were not used or proliferated.  Their elimination was possible through substantive and constructive engagement with States that possessed them.  In that respect, Japan would once again submit a resolution on “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”.

He went on to condemn the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile development programmes — including its work in uranium enrichment — describing it as a “serious threat to the peace and stability of the region and the entire international community”.  In particular, Japan was strongly concerned over that country’s repeated ballistic missile launches, which were in violation of several Security Council resolutions, and urged it to refrain from any further “provocative action”.  A nuclear test by that country was unacceptable, as it seriously undermined the international non-proliferation regime, and risked reversing efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Rights of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Turkey said his delegation categorically denied the baseless allegations made by another delegation in the room.  The Committee had, once again, observed attempts to divert attention from the human suffering caused by the Syrian regime.  Turkey had not only been a safe refuge for over 1 million civilians fleeing Syria, but had also ensured that humanitarian assistance reached people on the Syrian side of the border.  Turkey would never regret the humanitarian assistance it had provided to desperate Syrians.

Also speaking in exercise of the right to reply, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the Japanese delegation had made a fuss about his country’s nuclear deterrence.  However, he wished to issue a reminder that it was the Japanese Government that had allotted $250 million from its 2014 defence budget for the latest intercept missiles, and had purchased stealth fighters, patrol planes, and helicopters.  Assertions made about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were a crafty attempt to justify Japan’s own re-invasion scheme.  Japan had increased military spending by 2.8 per cent since last year, in order to stage overseas aggressions.  Most of that expenditure was allocated for advanced missiles that were essential for pre-emptive attacks on other countries.  Japan intended to hold command of the sea and air around the Korean peninsula, in case of an emergency.

The current Japanese Government was an extreme rightist one, he said.  Japan was getting further militarized, and was bolstering its navy forces to contain neighbouring countries in the region.  That re-invasion scheme brought the dark clouds of war over Southeast Asia.  Such moves could never be allowed, he said.

Responding to that intervention, the representative of Japan said he did not wish to “play catch ball” with his “young and promising colleague” from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as an annual event, as that was not productive.  However, with regard to armaments in Japan, he said his country maintained a defence-oriented policy, and did not pose a threat to other countries; it was a peace-loving nation, he added.

Speaking in exercise of a second right of reply, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he did not feel the need to reply to the “old fashion” arguments made against his country.  Such remarks were provocative, and all were aware that Japan was rebuilding its military power in the Northeast Asia region.  He did not know for what purpose, but that rebuilding was visible to the entire world.  The theories put forth by Japan against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were old-fashioned, and he did not feel the need to reply, except to say that it was a “nonsense” argument and he rejected it.

Also taking the floor for a second time in exercise of the right of reply was the representative from Japan, who said he would not repeat his position.  He asked the delegate from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refer to the homepage of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

For information media. Not an official record.