Never at the expense of freedom and sovereignty

I delivered this statement at the 2018 Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on April 3, 2018 at United Nations Headquarters, New York.

“Madam President[1],

“The Philippines assures you of full cooperation to achieve a successful conference. It is pleased with the consensus outcome document of last year’s UNDC on conventional weapons. We share the hope of replicating this success in a more challenging environment.

“The global community must agree on concrete recommendations on the two items in our agenda — nuclear disarmament and outer space. On the NPT, these recommendations should contribute to the success of the 2020 Review Conference. A successful RevCon should strengthen the non-proliferation architecture. The agreements will help avert miscalculations in tense situations as in the case of the Korean Peninsula or when weapons of mass destruction get in the hands of terrorists and it is near impossible to determine whether they or a nuclear weapon state had used them. Collective response must keep pace with the speed of nuclear weapons developments.

“The Philippines remains strongly committed to maintaining international and regional peace and stability though never at the expense of freedom and sovereignty; promoting a nuclear weapon-free world and the safety of Filipinos abroad from the use of weapons of mass destruction.

“We remain hopeful of preserving the gains of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which was chaired by the Philippines, by pursuing the goals of the 2010 outcome document and the 64-Point Action Plan as the international community prepares for the 2020 RevCon.

“To achieve the objectives of the NPT, we should work hard for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

“The Philippines adheres to and continues to advocate for principles of irreversibility, verifiability, and transparency in implementing the NPT. Without transparency and verifiability it is impossible to foster the trust that alone ensures the attainment of NPT goals.

“The Philippines has taken action in line with international commitments on non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Philippine Congress passed the Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA) to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by closely managing the trade in strategic goods.

“Universalization is key in complying with the treaties and agreements on non-proliferation and disarmament of conventional weapons of mass destruction or the nuclear threat will elude monitoring by being passed around the jurisdictions involved or complicit.

Ban Treaty

“The Philippines welcomes the positive outcome of the First Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2020 NPT Review Conference (RevCon). The PrepCom carried some issues forward and revealed new opportunities for advancing the agenda throughout the new review cycle.

“The Philippines emphasizes that the single major development between the first and second NPT Prepcoms for the 2020 RevCon is the negotiation of the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons (Ban Treaty). Being the first multilateral legally binding instrument for nuclear disarmament, we see the Ban Treaty as complementary to the NPT and essential to achieving its goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. The NPT continues to provide the foundation and the way forward to erecting the arch of a nuclear weapon-free world. But we view the Nuclear Ban Treaty as the capstone and added inspiration to the NPT endeavor that will hold it firmly in place when progress is finally achieved.

“Under the Ban Treaty, the Philippines has advocated the urgency of highlighting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

“The Ban Treaty cannot be ignored which was the initial reaction of nuclear weapon states to the United Nations vote adopting it. Rather than resisting the universal aspiration the Ban Treaty eloquently articulates of a nuclear weapon-free world, the NPT process should seek and find language that will give the Ban Treaty its appropriate place in the outcome document of 2020.

Denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula

“The Philippines reiterates its support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and expresses its readiness to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. The Philippines has been supportive of the creation of conditions that support and encourage the resumption of dialogue among the concerned parties and is encouraged by the readiness of the United States and North Korea to discuss terms of a peaceful resolution.

Outer space

“On the issue of outer space, the Philippines aligns itself with the Asean Statement.

“Philippine policy is that taking the arms race into outer space undoes all efforts to stop their spread and the threat of their use on the ground. The Philippines voted in favor of resolutions on “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” and “No first placement of weapons in outer space” at the First Committee and at the General Assembly Plenary on December 4, 2017.

“The task of threshing out the critical issues in the next three weeks of the UN Conference only appears Herculean. It is not. The difficulty will be easily overcome by the sincerity of the collective endeavor. It depends entirely on the participants. There are no external obstacles to success.

“I thank you, Madam President.”

 

[1] The President of the 2018 UNDC is Her Excellency Gillian Bird, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations.

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Turning Points 2018