ASIA PACIFIC LEADERS DEPLORE LOSS OF POLITICAL WILL ON DISARMAMENT
Read the complete statement by clicking the adjacent link to the left.
SINGAPORE 13 SEPTEMBER 2012. Twenty-five political, diplomatic, military and scientific leaders from fourteen Asia Pacific countries today expressed deep disappointment at the evaporation of political will evident in global and regional efforts toward nuclear disarmament over the last year, and called on governments to urgently apply new energy and focus to ridding the world of the most indiscriminately inhumane weapons ever built.
In a statement (attached) issued after a two-day meeting in Singapore hosted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the leaders said that the new spirit of optimism which had been very visible in 2009 and 2010 – particularly in U.S.-Russian cooperation in concluding the New START treaty, a largely successful NPT Review Conference and a productive Nuclear Security Summit – was no longer evident.
“Further negotiations on U.S.-Russia nuclear arms reduction are stalled. There is no sign of progress in bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. There has been zero progress on breaking the Geneva negotiating stalemate on a new treaty to ban production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and if anything an acceleration of nuclear weapons programs by nuclear-armed states in our own region.
“The nuclear-armed states – led by the U.S. and Russia, who between them possess 95 per cent of the world‟s nuclear weapons – must get serious about their disarmament commitments, recognize that disarmament and non-proliferation are inextricably connected, and take strong and persistent action in all relevant areas, including constraints on nuclear testing and fissile material production.”
The leaders made clear their belief that while it is critically necessary to address underlying sources of regional tension – especially in our own Asia Pacific region – if progress is to be made on nuclear disarmament, nuclear-armed states must not make their commitment to that unrealistically contingent on the prior settlement of outstanding regional conflicts and disputes. “To do so is just another way of saying nuclear disarmament won’t happen.”
The APLN, convened by former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, was founded in 2011 to bring together individuals who have held high executive or advisory positions around the Asia Pacific region, from South Asia and East Asia to Australasia; who share a common belief that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to all nations and peoples; and who have resolved to work together to promote policies in our region and beyond to effectively contain, diminish and eliminate them, and to create a security environment conducive to those goals (see www.a-pln.org).