Meeting in Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary of the indescribable horror of the world’s first use of nuclear weapons, APLN leaders from 14 Asia Pacific countries have urged policymakers to urgently re-energize the nuclear disarmament agenda, expressing grave concern over rising nuclear weapon numbers in the Asia-Pacific, stalled arms control efforts, continued reliance on nuclear weapons in national security policy and growing proliferation risks worldwide.
We, the undersigned members of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear NonProliferation and Disarmament (APLN),
Meeting in Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary of the indescribable horror of the world’s first use of atomic weapons, deeply moved by our experience here, believing that all the world’s political leaders and nuclear policymakers should share it, reinforced by that experience in our determination to ensure the elimination once and for all of the most indiscriminately inhumane weapons ever devised, and supporting the continuing initiatives of Hiroshima towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament,
Recalling the words of a former mayor of Hiroshima that “It is important to look at the stark reality of war in terms of both aggrieved and aggriever so as to develop a common understanding of history”,
Profoundly disappointed at the failure of the Ninth NPT Review Conference held in April–May this year in New York, despite the pledge by more than 100 Member States in the UN General Assembly last year to take effective action to “stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate” nuclear weapons,
Conscious that the world’s 16,000 remaining nuclear weapons are strongly concentrated in Asia Pacific powers, with the United States and Russia having over 90 per cent of the world’s stockpile; China, India, and Pakistan all having significant and growing arsenals; and the breakout state of North Korea continuing to build its weapons and delivery capability,
Gravely concerned that the number of nuclear weapons in the Asia Pacific is increasing, substantial modernization programs are occurring, and reliance on nuclear weapons in national security policies is nowhere diminishing and in some cases growing, raising the risk of further proliferation,
Noting that most of the projected world growth in civil nuclear energy – with all the attendant proliferation, safety and security risks requiring close and effective regulation – will be in the Asia Pacific,
Believing that the risks associated with the possession of nuclear weapons in today’s world far outweigh any deterrent utility they may have had in the past or continue to have,
Recalling and reaffirming our strong continuing commitment to a world and Asia Pacific region free of nuclear weapons, and expressing our strong continuing support for national, regional and global efforts to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and improve nuclear security and safety,
Reiterating our strong belief that a world free of nuclear weapons is achievable through a phased process of risk reduction, minimization and final elimination, pursued in tandem with efforts to improve regional and global security,
Emphasizing that regional organizations and mechanisms, including regional security dialogues aimed at building confidence and promoting cooperation, have a vital role to play in addressing both regional security generally and nuclear risks in particular,
Declare it unacceptable that the world should continue to live under the threat of complete nuclear destruction, and to that end, call upon policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region to reenergize the nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and security agendas, and to act accordingly as follows:
ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
Modifying Nuclear Doctrine
1. As a first major step towards nuclear disarmament all states, including nuclear-armed states and allies and partners relying on their protection, should support changes to nuclear doctrine and posture which dramatically reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security policy, in order to promote confidence-building, strengthen the norm of non-use of nuclear weapons, reduce the risks of accidental and unauthorized use, and counteract crisis instability.
2. All nuclear-armed states should, pending the elimination of nuclear weapons and accepting the principle of undiminished security for all, adopt the principle that their sole purpose is to deter nuclear war, embrace the principle of ‘No First Use’ in their respective nuclear doctrines, and reinforce this by: o taking nuclear weapons off high operational alert status, o avoiding forward deployment of nuclear weapons, and o separating warheads from land and air-based delivery vehicles and storing them physically apart in disassembled state.
3. All states should support the negotiation of a global Convention enshrining the principles of sole purpose and No First Use.
4. All states that have nuclear weapons should provide unconditional negative security assurances that they will not threaten to use, or use, such weapons against states that do not have them.
Minimizing Nuclear Weapons Numbers
5. Russia and the United States should continue to abide by and implement all existing bilateral and multilateral agreements, and negotiate a new agreement to reduce dramatically the number of all nuclear weapons in their stockpiles.
6. Pending the elimination of nuclear weapons, all nuclear-armed states should commit not to increase their nuclear weapon stockpiles, and to reducing them to the lowest levels consistent with maintaining minimum effective retaliatory capability.
7. To help create the conditions for reducing nuclear weapons numbers, those states pursuing advanced conventional capabilities, including missile defence and long-range precision strike, : 3 should make special efforts not to let these capabilities impede progress on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.
Eliminating Nuclear Weapons
8. All states should endorse the humanitarian impact initiative that draws sustenance from the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and declare that it is in the interests of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never again used, under any circumstances.
9. Recognizing that the NPT has failed to make progress towards nuclear disarmament, like-minded states should negotiate a simple, normatively powerful Use Ban Convention that prohibits any use of nuclear weapons by any state or non-state actor under any circumstances.
10. Such a Convention, irrespective of whether it is joined by the nuclear-armed states, would be an important educational and advocacy vehicle for governments and civil society organizations, reinforcing understanding of the catastrophic humanitarian impact of any weapons use, and of the reality that the risks and costs associated with nuclear weapons far outweigh any possible benefit.
11. The final objective should be negotiation and adoption of a comprehensive and universal Nuclear Weapons Convention, backed by effective verification and enforcement mechanisms, absolutely prohibiting not only the use of nuclear weapons but their possession, manufacture or acquisition by any other means by state or non-state actors.
ON NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION
12. The relevant authorities in Tehran and Washington should fully support the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, which is to be warmly welcomed as a crucial step forward in minimizing the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and promoting the prospect of eventual denuclearization and elimination of all weapons of mass destruction of the region.
13. All relevant states should accede to the protocols of the relevant regional nuclear weapon-free zones (NWFZ) and, where outstanding issues prevent this, work with NWFZ parties to find solutions.
Initiatives for the negotiation of a new Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in North East Asia – comprising Japan, North and South Korea and Mongolia – should be warmly encouraged.
14. Recognizing that North Korea’s nuclear program poses a serious threat to regional and global non-proliferation efforts and to the peace and stability of this region, all countries concerned should explore all ways and means, to advance the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, including North Korea abandoning all its nuclear weapons and programs under the terms and conditions stipulated by the Joint Statement of September 2005, and complying with all relevant Security Council resolutions.
15. States whose signature and/or ratification is necessary to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force should so act as soon as possible, without awaiting such action by any other State Party, and in the meantime maintain a moratorium on all nuclear tests.
16. All states should support the urgent commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), preferably within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament.
Pending negotiation of an FMCT, all relevant states should announce and apply a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and declare their past production of fissile material, including current stockpiles.
17. All states should implement fully the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, to prohibit non-state actors developing, acquiring, or transferring weapons of mass destruction, including enacting and enforcing the required legislation and reporting to the UNSC 1540 Committee.
18. All states should ensure that peaceful nuclear energy programs do not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and do not endanger human and environmental health and safety.
ON NUCLEAR SECURITY AND SAFETY
19. All states should build and sustain strong nuclear security and safety cultures in relation to all fissile material, nuclear weapons and military and civil nuclear facilities, share best practices, and take steps to strengthen the international nuclear security architecture.
20. All states should minimize stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium, convert reactor fuel from HEU to low enriched uranium, and support efforts to use non-HEU technologies.
21. All states should promote intensive dialogue among and between nuclear industry and government bodies, including national regulators, with a view to improving nuclear security and safety regulations, and regulatory effectiveness and transparency.
22. To strengthen nuclear energy governance in the region across all three crucial areas of safeguards, security and safety, the East Asia Summit should explore the concept of an Asia Pacific Nuclear Energy Community.
23. All states should promote knowledge and awareness of nuclear issues through appropriate advocacy, educational and training activities.
Hiroshima resonates powerfully around the world as a symbol of the need for nuclear weapons never again to be used under any circumstances, and ultimately eliminated from the face of the earth.
We as members of the APLN will not rest until we realize that goal
Text Agreed Hiroshima, 8 August 2015
Gareth Evans (Australia), Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia (APLN Convenor);
Nobuyasu Abe (Japan), Former United Nations Under-Secretary General for Disarmament;
Hasmy Agam (Malaysia), Former Ambassador to the United Nations;
Chen Dongxiao (China), President, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies;
Chun Yungwoo (Republic of Korea), Former Senior Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs & National Security;
Cui Liru, Former President, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations;
Aiko Doden (Japan), Senior Commentator, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation);
Robert Hill (Australia), Former Defence Minister
Pervez Hoodbhoy (Pakistan); Professor of Nuclear Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University;
Kasit Piromya (Thailand), Former Foreign Minister;
Yoriko Kawaguchi (Japan), Former Foreign Minister;
Lalit Mansingh (India), Former Foreign Secretary;
Moon Chung-in (Republic of Korea), Editor in Chief, Global Asia;
Geoffrey Palmer (New Zealand), Former Prime Minister;
Pan Zhenqiang (China), Maj.-Gen. (ret.), Former Director, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defence University;
R. Rajaraman (India), Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi;
Sha Zukang (China), Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General;
Song Min-soon (Republic of Korea), Former Foreign Minister;
Rakesh Sood (India), Former Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, and Ambassador for Disarmament;
Carlos Sorreta (Philippines), Director-General, Foreign Service Institute;
Surin Pitsuwan (Thailand), Former Foreign Minister and Secretary-General of ASEAN;
Ton Nu Thi Ninh (Vietnam), Former Ambassador to the European Union
Nyamosor Tuya (Mongolia), Former Foreign Minister;
Shashi Tyagi (India), Air Chief Marshal (ret’d), Former Chief of the Indian Air Force;
Hidehiko Yuzaki (Japan), Governor, Hiroshima Prefectural Government.
Image: Flickr, Maarten Hieerlen.