Testing loses nuclear deterrent value

(Statement on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by Ambassador Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York, on Sept. 6, 2018 at the International Day Against Nuclear Tests.)

Mr. President, I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

We welcome Thailand’s upcoming ratification to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) later this month. All of Asean Member States’ ratification of the CTBT solidifies our strong commitment to the international norm against nuclear testing, as well as our steadfast support to the CTBT.

Asean denounces the conduct of nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, which are contrary to and go against international efforts and norms against nuclear testing, non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

We reiterate our recognition of the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

Bearing in mind the significance of the CTBT, we join others in urging the Annex 2 States to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible to realize its entry into force.

We reiterate our commitment to preserve our region as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction as enshrined in the Asean Charter and the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty). Under the Bangkok Treaty, as specified under Article 3, each State Party undertakes not to test or use nuclear weapons anywhere. They also undertake not to allow, anywhere inside their territory, the testing or use of “nuclear weapons.”

Along with the SEANWFZ Treaty, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides that each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Asean welcomes the Inter-Korean Summits as well as the summit between the US and the DPRK in Singapore. We also welcome the Panmunjom Declaration, as well as the Joint Statement signed between the US and the DPRK. We urge all concerned parties to continue working towards the realization of lasting peace and stability on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

We also welcome the DPRK’s stated commitment to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests during this period. We reiterate our support for all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which will contribute to peace and stability in the region.

Allow me to read the Philippine statement.

Mr. President, The Philippines joins the international community in celebrating the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. We recognize the leadership of Kazahkstan in pursuing the purposes celebrated today. We are reminded of the importance of a concerted effort against nuclear tests, the last of which was conducted only in 2017[1].

Recognizing the destructive effect on the environment of nuclear testing, and the horrendous effect of the use of nuclear weapons—deliberately or inadvertently, in cold calculation or panic—the Philippines signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 and deposited its instrument of ratification in 2001. The Philippines continues to support the treaty and its earliest ratification. If nuclear weapons still hold some attraction; its lethal efficacy is already proven; what need then to test. Further testing can only mean its progressive refinement in yield, destructiveness, dependability of delivery, and accuracy of targeting. But every step forward in these respects is a step backward in nuclear weaponry’s deterrent effect; which was never so great as when nuclear weapons stockpiles were so enormous in yield and limitless destruction that none could contemplate their use for any purpose; thereby producing the Long Peace of the balance of nuclear terror. This morally gross benefit stands to be lost by continued testing. The better these weapons get by increasing their capacity for discriminating use, the greater the temptation and the more compelling the argument for their use.

The 2010 NPT Review Conference, which was chaired by the Philippines, reaffirmed the essential role of the CTBT. The Outcome Document noted that the cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions, by constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, the Treaty combats both horizontal and vertical proliferation and as I argue weaken their deterrent virtue.

In addition, the 64-Point Action Plan of the 2010 NPT Review Conference highlighted the importance of refraining from nuclear-weapon test explosions and supporting the CTBT, as specified in Actions 10-14.

The Philippines, as a member of Asean, notes the provision in the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ)—which states that each State Party shall undertake not to allow the existence of nuclear weapons in its territory—says in effect that there shall be no testing or use of nuclear weapons in the zone.

We take sanguine note of the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of a moratorium on missile tests and nuclear tests, and its dismantling of a nuclear test and satellite-launching site. It is critical to peace that the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue their dialogue in seeking resolution to outstanding issues between all the parties concerned. Thank you, Mr. President.

[1] On September 2, 2017, North Korea successfully detonated its first weapon self-designated as a hydrogen bomb. Initial yield estimates place it at 100 kt. Reports indicate that the test blast caused a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, and possibly resulted in a cave-in at the test site.



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