Australian National Statement
to the 50th Session of the CTBT Preparatory Commission
2 July 2018
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Resident Representative to the CTBTO
Thank you, Chair.
Let me start by thanking you for your work as Chair of the Preparatory Commission.
I would also like to thank Executive Secretary Zerbo for his opening remarks, and the Preparatory Technical Secretariat for their hard work in support of this meeting and the CTBT.
The CTBT and its verification regime are crucial parts of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament architecture.
It is fitting that we should reflect on this point today.
Particularly given that yesterday marked 50 years since the cornerstone of that architecture – the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – opened for signature.
And fifty years on, we have no more salient a reminder of the importance of our non-proliferation efforts than the DPRK.
Australia welcomed the 12 June summit between the US and North Korean leaders as a potential major step towards denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.
But much more work needs to be done to agree and implement concrete and verifiable steps to deliver the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.
I stress concrete and verifiable steps because for Australia this remains the central and outstanding issue.
North Korea committed to ‘complete denuclearisation’ in the Panmunjom declaration of 27 April, and again in the US-North Korea leaders’ joint declaration of 12 June, but without concrete and verifiable progress, all we have are words.
We have seen North Korea renege on its promises before.
And North Korea’s claims to have rendered inoperable its nuclear test site at Punggye Ri have not been verified and could be reversible.
So in Australia’s view – and in this connection – we believe it vitally important that relevant test-related verification functions continue to be developed and maintained.
To this end – and more broadly – Australia reaffirms its commitment to the CTBT.
We call on all states yet to do so – particularly Annex 2 states – to ratify the Treaty without delay, and we call on North Korea to sign and ratify the Treaty as part of its commitment to denuclearise.
The importance and practical value to states of the International Monitoring System and International Data Centre have been proven, and the potential of the CTBTO’s on-site inspection mechanism has been demonstrated by Field Exercise and other means.
Indeed, it is an unfortunate fact that in recent years the world has all too frequently been reminded of the value of the CTBTO and the need for the CTBT’s entry into force.
And we have been reminded we must remain vigilant.
As part of maintaining vigilance we must complete establishment of the IMS, and we must ensure that all its stations are operational and that their data is available to all member states.
In this context, I am pleased to note that all but one of the twenty-one IMS stations Australia is designated to host are now operational and certified, and that we expect the last station to be certified soon.
As a Co-Chair of the Friends of the CTBT – alongside Japan – Australia joins with other members of the Friends Group:
- Canada, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands
- in looking forward to the biennial Friends of the CTBT Ministerial meeting.
This meeting will take place once again this year in New York during UNGA Leaders week, and remains an important opportunity to underline the importance of the CTBT, and to promote movement towards its entry into force.
The meeting is also an opportunity to highlight the role of the Treaty’s verification regime in the context of nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK in contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions.
We look forward to welcoming all UN member states and observers to the meeting
- not just those who are already signatories
- and in particular those Annex 2 states who have yet to sign or to ratify the Treaty
- come to the meeting and see why you must join the Treaty.
I want to congratulate the Provisional Technical Secretariat on the success of the 2nd CTBT Science Diplomacy Symposium held here from 21 May to 1 June this year.
The strong attendance, and high calibre of speakers, point to the event’s usefulness in raising awareness among the scientific, diplomatic and wider community of the CTBT’s contribution to peace and security.
We were very pleased Australia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York – Ms Gillian Bird – was able to participate as part of an eminent persons panel made up of people prominent in the negotiation of the CTBT.
We were also particularly happy to see representatives at the Symposium from countries in Australia’s region that have not yet ratified the CTBT, and that do not have permanent missions in Vienna, including Timor Leste, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
We hope their attendance means these countries are contemplating joining the Treaty soon.
Australia supports adoption by the PrepCom of the reports of Working Groups A and B, including the Program and Budget update.
Our thanks to you Chair, for temporarily filling the role of Working Group A Chair, and our thanks to the Chair of Working Group B, and to the Advisory Group, for all their hard work.
Finally, my delegation strongly supports the Advisory Group's recommendation that the PTS join the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund.
Thank you, Chair.