ambassador decries nuclear energy restrictions
NEW YORK — Viet Nam’s
UN Ambassador Le Luong Minh has voiced concern over the increasing international
tendency to unduly restrict the export of materials, equipment and technology to
developing nations in order to build peaceful nuclear energy programmes.
Speaking in New York on
May 5 at a conference of signatory states reviewing the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Minh called for the removal of restrictions and
called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure more balance in its
allocation of resources for nuclear safeguards and for technical assistance.
Minh pointed to the fact
that non-nuclear weapons states have a legitimate right to seek guarantees of
security from nuclear weapons states as such guarantees are essential to
promoting the confidence of non-nuclear weapons states and to strengthening the
NPT. However, he added, conditions are being attached to such guarantees.
Minh stressed that, as a
non-nuclear weapons state, a party to the NPT, a member of the Southeast Asia
Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone, an original signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty, and a member of the Conference on Disarmament, Viet Nam will continue to
pursue peace and be guided by noble objectives.
"Pending the total
elimination of nuclear weapons, the early conclusion of a universal,
unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurance to
non-nuclear weapons states is an earnest demand, to which our Conference should
pay adequate attention," Minh said.
The NPT has played a vital
role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he added.
developments of the past few years, we find ourselves at a critical juncture
where we must decide whether to try to regain the relevance of the NPT or let
the confidence of signatory states continue to erode. We need a responsible,
balanced and fair approach to bring us out of the present situation. The NPT can
only remain firm if all its three pillars are strengthened," Minh noted.
"Total elimination of
nuclear weapons and a nuclear weapons-free world must be the objectives guiding
our actions in and out of this conference."
Conclusion of the NPT,
Minh said, was based on the balance of interests between states which have
nuclear weapons and those which do not and which commit not to acquire them. The
three pillars on which the NPT rests are non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament
and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
He noted that
implementation of the NPT has been uneven. While the non-proliferation regime
has been strictly observed by the overwhelming majority of more than 180
non-nuclear weapons states, disarmament has not enjoyed the unbalanced level of
emphasis which nuclear weapons states have placed on non-proliferation. As a
result, Minh said, the course of implementation of the NPT has witnessed as many
negative as positive developments.
"With the limited
progress we have seen in the reduction of the number of deployed nuclear weapons
by nuclear weapons states, the disarmament picture is bleak. Thousands of
nuclear weapons still exist, many on alert status, and this is in the context of
the increasing danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of
terrorists," Minh warned the conference.
"The Conference on
Disarmament remains idle. And, while the International Court of Justice has
ruled on the legality of threats to use nuclear weapons, we are alarmed by the
emergence of new security doctrines that give a broader role to nuclear weapons.
jeopardises the authority and relevance of the NPT. It is urgent for our
conference to arrive at measures to overcome the present deadlock. The
Conference on Disarmament must also be allowed to do its work, and we join the
call for an international conference on nuclear disarmament," Minh said.