Global Disarmament

Article excerpt

One year ago, the obstacle-strewn road to nuclear disarmament became tractable when the new president of the United States of America pledged in Prague to pursue the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Sadly, the task of ridding the world of nuclear weapons is not a spectator sport event to watch but a task that requires all of us to contribute to its fruition.

In that spirit, the Philippines accepted the election to the presidency of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) 2010 Review Conference, which is held every five years. Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan of the Philippines is president-elect of the Conference, which will open in New York in May this year and we count on the support, counsel, and cooperation of all the States Parties to the NPT to make it a success.

The NPT faces many challenges, but it should not be overlooked that among its successes has been to firmly establish non-proliferation and disarmament as the global standard.

Now, it needs the complementary force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), not the least because of the fault line between states with nuclear weapons and those without them over the weapons states' obligation to disarm as spelled out in Article VI of the NPT.

Increasingly, since the NPT entered into force in 1970 and those of us without weapons have lived by its principles, the pace at which the nuclear weapons states have been reducing their nuclear arsenals has left us increasingly frustrated.

More than 20,000 nuclear weapons remain in their stockpiles.

But the CTBT is a leveling force because it makes no distinction between states with nuclear weapons or those without them by placing the same obligation on all of them not to conduct nuclear explosions. With the Treaty in force, a country with nuclear ambitions will be constrained in its ability to develop them; while countries with arsenals will be constrained from improving them.

In 2000, the NPT Review Conference agreed that the first practical step for implementation of the disarmament commitments in Article VI would be early entry into force of the CTBT to close the door once and for all on testing and make legally binding the de-facto testing moratorium that has been in effect since the Treaty opened for signature in 1996. …