Sunday, May 2, 2010

Phililppines’s role in the nuclear debate

THE Philippines chairs, starting today, an important global meeting on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation in New York City.

The 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) follows last month’s United Nations (UN) General Assembly thematic Debate on Disarmament and World Security, which examined challenges to the international community and the role of the UN in the elimination of nuclear weapons for a safer world.

Great challenges to world peace and regional security have confronted man since the first atom bomb was tested in New Mexico, the United States, and dropped on Hiroshima, killing thousands in an instant.

A number of countries have since created their nuclear weapons while others surreptitiously produced or imported materials for their arsenal. This arms race must stop and ambitious nations denied their nuclear agenda. Efforts must focus on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Philippines has consistently supported nuclear disarmament since the creation of the United Nations 65 year ago, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo told the UN General Assembly on April 21. Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, who signed the UN Charter for the Philippines, has committed the country to the cause of nuclear disarmament since the founding, Secretary Romulo told the assembly.

This week, the Philippines will advance the nuclear disarmament agenda by chairing the Review Conference of the State-Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York. Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will preside over the conference. Mr. Romulo heads the Philippine delegation.

The conference presents the international community with “new and unprecedented opportunity” to make genuine progress on the issue of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, the foreign minister said. He cited the recent signing by the US and Russia of their new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), the Nuclear Security Summit hosted mid-April by President Barack Obama and recent policy changes adopted by the White House in its Nuclear Posture Review.

The trust placed on the Philippines to chair the review conference requires leadership and responsibility we are confident the foreign service could provide. Manila’s acceptance of the challenge breaks new ground for the DFA in an area traditionally addressed by the big powers and the members of the nuclear club.

Developed and developing nations must stand together to address a growing threat in many parts of the world—nuclear buildup in North Korea, nuclear ambitions in Iran and the unpredictable response of countries threatened by these militaries. The review conference provides a gathering to build a strong consensus. Manila Times

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