The President had described the steps that the United States would take on the road to that goal. They included reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the national security strategy of the United States, negotiating a new strategic arms reduction treaty with the Russian Federation this year and pursuing immediate and aggressive ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Recalling that Mr. The President had also stressed the need to ensure that terrorists never acquired nuclear weapons, and outlined the steps that the United Stats would take in that regard, such as securing all vulnerable nuclear material worldwide within four years.
He said those conditions included ensuring that the security of countries possessing nuclear weapons and their allies would not be impaired as they reduced the role of nuclear weapons. Surely, verification was even more essential in the context of very low levels of nuclear weapons, or none at all. The Commission might also wish to consider compliance mechanisms, he said, recalling that the President had also said that a structure should be in place to ensure that any nation breaking the rules would face consequences.
Considering the shape of such a structure, without which verification measures would be of little value, was another task for the Commission. It was doubtful that the Commission would arrive at definitive answers during the present session, or even in three years, but it might make a start. As for the elements of a draft declaration for a disarmament decade, he said it should contain a small number of key disarmament and non-proliferation principles, and consider issues related to nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as conventional arms.
To replace the non-proliferation regime, it would be necessary to ensure that, as States sought to remove their nuclear stockpiles, there would be no arrival of new nuclear-weapon States. Delegations should seek a common understanding and not try to insert concepts that they knew would not enjoy consensus. The United States strongly regretted the lack of consensus to take up a conventional weapons item, because confidence-building measures in that field were of the greatest immediate interest to the majority of Member States.
While there had been signs of improvement, more work was needed. At the same time, he urged avoiding discriminatory application of non-proliferation norms and the resort to military and coercive means to counter proliferation. While regional approaches to security questions could strengthen global efforts, such initiatives could be hamstrung by procedural difficulties. He urged delegations to remember that the solution to global security concerns lay in strengthening the United Nations disarmament machinery.
Now was the most propitious time for all nations to strive to achieve through disarmament the grand goal of global peace and even the survival of humankind. They were key building blocks to ridding the world of those fearsome weapons. He said the Disarmament Commission remained a vital mechanism, and he reaffirmed its continuing relevance. He was concerned with the slow progress in the field of nuclear disarmament, and submitted that multilateral, regional and bilateral discussions should be continually pursued as the tools to success in that area.
He called on States to pursue multilateral negotiations, as agreed in the final document of the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. The Philippines was also a staunch supporter of the Test-Ban Treaty and was host to three monitoring stations essential to its operation. However, he said, complete and total destruction of nuclear weapons was the best way to prevent their spread. The human family would not be satisfied by their mere reduction or non-proliferation. Moreover, all countries, especially those that possessed nuclear arms, must do all they could to prevent non-State actors from acquiring such weapons.
The Philippines supported the establishment of a universal, legally binding instrument on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States, he said, adding that it was also convinced of the need for nuclear-weapon-free zones. In that connection, he welcomed the creation of the Central Asian zone and looked forward to the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.
An international conference would set the parameters for the elimination of nuclear weapons and prohibit their production, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and provide for their destruction. On confidence-building measures in the conventional weapons sphere, those established the climate of trust necessary to reduce tensions and eliminate hostilities, thereby leading to more disarmament progress.
The world was also threatened by nuclear terrorism and the risks of covert nuclear weapons development under the guise of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The development and spread of ballistic missiles was a matter of concern and Japan, as the only country to have suffered nuclear bombings, believed that a first step towards their total elimination was for all nations to embrace the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
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To achieve that goal, a practical and incremental approach was needed. For the early start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty at the Conference on Disarmament, Japan called for cooperation among all Member States to that end. Pending the entry into force of such a treaty, it urged all nuclear-weapon States and non-NPT signatories to declare a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Regarding regional non-proliferation and the development of weapons of mass destruction, he said the early realization of the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through the Six-Party Talks was critical for peace and stability in North-East Asia.
It also placed great importance on disarmament and non-proliferation in the fields of biological and chemical weapons and conventional weapons. Regarding the entry into force of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Japan called on non-signatories to reconsider the importance of the mine ban, and hoped the Convention on Cluster Munitions would also quickly enter into force. Japan attached great importance to negotiations on the creation of a new protocol within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. On small arms and light weapons, Japan was promoting the implementation of the relevant Programme of Action through its annual submission of a draft resolution to the General Assembly.
In closing, Japan hoped that the elements of a draft declaration on a fourth disarmament decade would outline the broad areas of disarmament in a well-balanced manner. While the world was forced to seek a new approach to the solution of existing financial problems to normalize the situation, so too must it search for new approaches in the disarmament field, he said.
The deadlock could be overcome by stepping up multilateral diplomacy, strengthening active disarmament mechanisms, and establishing new ones as appropriate. Russia had always supported a strengthened central role for the United Nations, especially the Security Council, and the triad of disarmament in maintaining peace and strategic stability. To set up such an equitable system, consistent and proactive steps in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation were required. Russia was ready, in cooperation with its partners, to look for universally acceptable approaches.
It considered the Disarmament Commission to be an integral part of the United Nations multilateral disarmament mechanism, and agreement on the agenda would allow for a detailed discussion of the most pressing problems. In accordance with the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, Russia and the United States had totally eliminated two classes of such ground-based weapons. Additionally, he said the possibility of deploying strategic offensive weapons beyond national territory should also be excluded.
That could both damage strategic stability and upset the system of checks and balances globally. Russia was offering a constructive alternative to unilateral plans in that area, namely the unification of efforts by all States, in order to prevent potential missile threats. Anti-ballistic missile issues required a well-balanced approach, as anti-ballistic missile defence might have a stabilizing, as well as destabilizing, impact on the strategic situation. While constructive steps capable of extricating the disarmament process from the prolonged process were welcome, it was essential to create an international atmosphere favourable to complete renunciation of nuclear weapons, with strengthened strategic stability and universal security, he said.
At the same time, intensification of disarmament efforts was crucial for States outside the NPT. He was convinced that early entry into force of the CTBT was of crucial importance for strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear arms limitation regime. He also supported development of a global agreement on security safeguards for the non-nuclear-weapon States, on the understanding that such an agreement should take into account cases when nuclear weapons could be applied in accordance with national military doctrines.
And, Russia advocated the development of a fissile material cut-off treaty within the framework of a balanced work programme in the Conference on Disarmament. Another priority of Russian policy in enhancing strategic stability and international security was preventing the placement of weapons in outer space. As such, India called for a redoubling of efforts to give a positive impulse to global, non-discriminatory disarmament.
It was also important to strengthen international cooperation to address the threat of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and technologies related to their manufacture. Various countries had launched initiatives that had added new life to the global disarmament agenda. Such trends must be strengthened with efforts to achieve the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, rather than ad hoc steps in non-proliferation.
The Commission must achieve consensus on the way forward. While preventing an arms race in outer space was pertinent, there were other issues, such as implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action to Combat the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. The United Nations should also disseminate information aimed at changing basic attitudes about peace and security and disarmament. India welcomed a second round of discussion on the two topics that had remained inconclusive in the last cycle as they were critical to the disarmament agenda. During the fresh cycle, the Commission would be able to adopt guidelines and recommendations that would serve the disarmament agenda well.
Some of the five nuclear-weapon States still refused to commit to implementing the most important provisions of the NPT, and he called for a review process to be conducted in light of the resolutions and decisions already taken in previous preparatory conferences, and for all States to take practical and sincere steps. The final disposal of nuclear weapons could not be waived, but until then, a binding international instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of those weapons must be concluded urgently.
Qatar was eager to strengthen the NPT and activate its pillars, namely, non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He emphasized the inviolability of the inalienable right of States parties to access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes; no obstacles should be put in the way of non-nuclear States parties in their quest to develop nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. Qatar also supported the early operation of the CTBT. He stressed the urgent need to activate the resolution on establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, which had been adopted in in exchange for the indefinite extension of the NPT and the accession of all Arab States to the Treaty.
That resolution was reiterated in a decision of the Review Conference in , and re-emphasized by the Doha Declaration of the twenty-first Arab Summit. The responsibility for the failure to review the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in a professional manner lay with the exporting countries, which lacked adequate oversight and restrictions. Another deep concern was the proliferation of landmines and cluster munitions, such as those planted by Israel in southern Lebanon. Dealing with the conventional weapons issue should not target specific countries to expose their defence capabilities at a time when other States were developing their own arms capabilities.
That development only perpetuated the arms race and wasted resources. KANG YONG China said the world today was engaged in great changes and adjustments, and while it was indeed becoming more polarized, there was also a trend to seek development, peace and cooperation.
Such interdependence among countries was growing, particularly in the area of security, and only by maintaining mutual trust could nations address the variety of challenges and strengthen security. International arms control and efforts to prevent proliferation represented that common aspiration.
However, there was a lack of progress in international arms control and diplomatic efforts had encountered twists and turns, he said. China attached great importance to the Commission as the sole deliberative mechanism for promoting disarmament and arms control. As the current session represented the start of a new cycle, it was to be hoped that it would register positive progress and contribute to arms control and disarmament.
Recognizing the s as a fourth disarmament decade was necessary and its proclamation would charter the road to progress for future multilateral arms control, he said. The proposed decade should draw upon past experience by summarizing the results of the three previous decades and taking stock of problems. At the same time, China called for an analysis of new challenges for international security and for the proposed declaration to insist on the principles of the United Nations Charter.
In keeping with the characteristics of the new security situation, it should bring multilateralism to the fore and emphasize stability as a principle of undiminished security.
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In the area of international arms control, it should also develop provisions that would attract universal support. Eliminating nuclear weapons represented a common aspiration, he said, welcoming the re-launching of talks between the Russian Federation and the United States to reduce strategic weapons. Rather, it should proceed on the basis of maintaining global stability and make incremental and practical measures.
As a nuclear country, China had never shed its international responsibilities under the NPT, but had instead maintained a restrained attitude and would not engage in any nuclear arms race. The Government had implemented the CTBT, consistently supported its ratification and would work to ensure its entry into force. Tackling nuclear non-proliferation should involve reliance on the United Nations Charter to foster an international environment conducive to peace and stability, he stressed. Efforts should ensure fair non-proliferation efforts; insist on dialogue and negotiated solutions; and promote international discussion to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
China had been engaged in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and had helped address the Iranian nuclear question, which was currently at a stalemate, a situation requiring patience. China supported confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons, as conventional weapons had a bearing on major security concerns.
In that context, it was necessary to take into account the circumstances of different countries into account. It was ready to work with all parties to ensure that the Commission achieved progress. A detailed position would be clarified later today. What had been heard was the presidential statement of the Security Council, which had been adopted unanimously on the basis of agreement by each and every Council member. The potential for clandestine military nuclear activities was of particular concern, as was the proliferation of ballistic missiles of increasing range, he said.
A multilateral approach to non-proliferation was the best way to counter the threat to international peace and security resulting from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. It was thus of the utmost importance to ensure that all existing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements were effectively resourced, implemented and fulfilled. In view of the current proliferation risks, the NPT was more important than ever.
Its authority and integrity must be preserved and strengthened. The NPT was as essential to nuclear disarmament as it was to non-proliferation. Also welcome had been the joint declaration on further nuclear weapons reductions by the United States and the Russian Federation. Since European security was linked to that of Middle East security, the European Union placed particular importance on non-proliferation and disarmament issues in that region, he stressed.
The establishment of a mutually agreed and verifiable zone in the Middle East, free of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, would enhance regional security and stability. With respect to conventional weapons, the European Union strongly supported the United Nations process towards a comprehensive, legally binding arms trade treaty to establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.
The stalemate in multilateral disarmament forums had led to an absence of significant progress. Indeed, progress had been held hostage by a confrontation-based approach and, as a result, non-proliferation had gone unaddressed. Relations were under pressure, which in some cases had re-triggered the arms race. With the new session, positive signs had appeared, with a possible thaw in disarmament agenda. The joint statement by the Russian and American presidents in London reflected a new approach to disarmament issues, fuelling hope that new perspectives were possible, particularly for nuclear disarmament, he said.
Algeria called on all Member States to use that favourable context to achieve progress, and reiterated its position that the ultimate objective of nuclear disarmament was the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he said sustained involvement in that effort, particularly by nuclear-weapon States, was indispensable. Welcoming the entry into force of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, he noted that the establishment of a similar one in the Middle East had not yet come about, despite the decision of the Review Conference. Regarding the draft declaration of a fourth disarmament decade, Algeria would provide its full contribution to the relevant draft recommendations.
It was necessary to build on experiences from the last three decades, and the Commission should adopt a declaration with ambitious objectives.
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Nuclear disarmament was the highest priority of Member States and multilateralism the best approach by which to address it. Despite renewed efforts to resolve the impasse over nuclear arms, there appeared to be little or no progress on the issue. Nigeria, therefore, called on both nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States to support current efforts to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects.
The commitment made to non-nuclear-weapon States regarding negative security assurances should be unconditional, legally binding and unequivocal. However, even voting patterns on the relevant resolution had been marked by a high number of abstentions on the part of the nuclear-weapon States, which must reverse that trend in order not to revive the nuclear arms race. He said his country welcomed the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones pending the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
However, Nigeria was concerned about the proliferation of conventional weapons, as well as their illicit manufacture and transfer, and excessive accumulation. They fostered the culture of violence and had been a destabilizing factor in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries, where conflicts that hitherto would have been resolved internally had been externalized.
The cumulative effects had hampered efforts to improve socio-economic aspirations, with calamitous humanitarian consequences. For those reasons, Nigeria actively supported the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and favoured the establishment of an arms trade treaty. Those who would trigger such a horrific scenario pose a unique threat to the security of peace-loving nations. The first is to highlight the positive trajectories of nations that have voluntarily relinquished nuclear weapons. The second is to emphasize the moral burden of possessing nuclear weapons, and the enormous responsibility that accompanies stewardship of such devastating weapons, as well as the technologies and nuclear materials that go into them.
The third is to make clear acquiring nuclear weapons capability does not provide security, prestige, or other benefits — but instead represents a path to isolation and intense security scrutiny from the global community, as those responsible nuclear powers will check such uncertain, unpredictable threats. And lastly, all nations, but most particularly the current nuclear powers, must recommit to sound nuclear security practices and robust and effective non-proliferation efforts in order to keep nuclear weapons and associated materials and technology out of the hands of irresponsible nations, terrorists, and non-state actors.
There are historical precedents of nations abandoning their nuclear weapons programs and arsenals out of self-interest. Belarus, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Ukraine all weighed the risk and responsibility of nuclear weapons and made the decision to eliminate their nuclear programs or give up their nuclear weapons. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine willingly gave up the nuclear weaponry that the Soviet collapse bequeathed to their territories. And, over the years, several other countries were willing to abandon clandestine nuclear weapons development efforts when reassured by the United States and others that their relationships with us and the global community enabled them to meet their national security needs without such tools.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is a particularly illustrative example of the wisdom of relinquishing nuclear weapons. Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, Kazakhstan opted to remove from its territory former Soviet weapons and related nuclear technologies, and joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-weapons state. This courageous decision by the leaders of Kazakhstan greatly reduced the prospect of nuclear weapons, components of nuclear weapons, or nuclear materials and dual-use technologies from falling into the wrong hands.
Nuclear weapons introduced complexity into relations with other countries, and they introduced the risk of miscalculation, accident, or escalation. As a result of letting go of nuclear weapons, the world does not look on Kazakhstan as a potential nuclear aggressor or a rogue state.
It did not make enemies of its nuclear neighbors, Russia or China. Today Kazakhstan has overwhelmingly been at peace with its neighbors, and its trade relations are robust. This year, it hosted World Expo , an event in Astana, which showcased the sources of future energy and investment opportunities in Kazakhstan to attendees from around the world. This is a modern nation making a substantial contribution to regional and international peace and prosperity. Kazakhstan has only benefitted from its early decision.
In my previous career, I met President Nazarbayev on many occasions and had the opportunity to ask him about this decision. He is more at peace with his choice than ever. Ukraine made a similar courageous choice. Their friends and allies quickly came to their aid in response to this violation of their sovereignty with a strong, unified set of sanctions on Russia and are steadfastly committed to ending this conflict through full implementation of the Minsk accords.
By rejecting the power of nuclear weapons, both of these two proud nations are in a better place than they would have been otherwise. They reduced the danger of nuclear conflict and helped reduce the chances of such capabilities falling into the hands of irresponsible third parties.
As the only nation on Earth to have used nuclear weapons in warfare, the United States bears a heavy responsibility to exercise proper stewardship of nuclear weapons and to lead in working with other nations to reduce global nuclear dangers. It is a blessing, and perhaps in many ways a miracle, that nuclear weapons have never been used again. All the peoples of the world pray that they will never be. Experience is a hard but wise teacher and has taught everyone the grim moral responsibility that accompanies nuclear weapons.
The United States is reliant upon nuclear deterrence today not only for the purposes of safeguarding our own security interest but also those of our allies who otherwise might feel the need to acquire such weapons themselves.
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Such deterrence and such relationships have contributed to the absence of war between the great powers since and indeed to the fact that nuclear weapons themselves have never been used again. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, when they stood on the brink of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War, came to a common understanding of the fearful and awesome power of nuclear weapons. As potential human extinction loomed over the Cuban Missile Crisis, the dominant emotion was fear. Nuclear weapons brought the most powerful men in the world no comfort, but it did make clear the need to minimize the risk of ever repeating this near-miss of a catastrophe by permitting nuclear capabilities to spread further.
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Just this week, the world learned of the passing of a little-known but important figure in the history of the Cold War. I felt like I was sitting on a frying pan. Instead of notifying his commanders to prepare an immediate nuclear counterattack, he instead called army headquarters and reported a system malfunction. This episode illustrates just how high the risk factor is with nuclear weapons, especially when decisions to use them are entrusted or could be entrusted to sometimes unreliable technologies or fallible human judgment. Countries who want nuclear weapons must ask themselves: Am I prepared to deal with this type of scenario in my own country?
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The history of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Soviet early warning malfunction illustrate how challenging it can be even for the most experienced and most sophisticated nuclear possessors to control nuclear dangers. Rogue regimes fail to appreciate the responsibilities inherent to nuclear weapons. They wish to develop or expand their holdings of nuclear weapons in what they claim to be a search for security, but in fact they desire to use such tools to intimidate and coerce their neighbors and destabilize their regions.
Such acquisitions risk creating an escalating spiral of regional or global instability and conflict, not just as a direct result of their own proliferation, but by prompting other nations to undertake their own nuclear weapons programs in response. In such circumstances, nuclear weapons are not instruments of mutual deterrence and strategic stability, but instead are tools of destabilization. Rogue regimes may have persuaded themselves that they pursue nuclear weapons to establish and enhance their security and prestige, but, in fact, nuclear weapons are more likely to undermine both.