Jakarta, Infopublik - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn said on Wednesday, 19 July, the regional organization continued to urge the five nuclear-weapon states to agree on the Treaty of Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (SEANWFZ).
"In my view, they have heard and are fully aware that ASEAN wants all five nuclear-weapon states to sign this treaty," Kao said.
The five states are Russia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.
Four out of the five nuclear-weapon states that are also ASEAN partners, namely Russia, China, the US, and the UK, had deeply understood the ASEAN leaders’ decision to make the Southeast Asian region free from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
China had even "moved forward" by declaring its readiness to accede to the SEANWFZ Treaty.
"I think there is already a consensus among ASEAN member states. There is a clear political commitment to move forward on this particular issue and cooperation with the five nuclear-weapon states to resolve this issue," Kao said, referring to France, another nuclear weapons state.
He believed that under Indonesia's chairmanship, ASEAN has a lot of opportunities to communicate and discuss with the five nuclear-weapon states so that they will accede to the SEANWFZ protocol.
”We also urge Timor-Leste to sign the SEANWFZ Treaty because it is located in Southeast Asia and now has the status of observer state (in ASEAN)," said Kao.
The Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Bangkok Treaty of 1995, was signed by all ASEAN members.
The treaty stipulates that signatories to the treaty may not "develop, manufacture, or acquire, possess, or have control of nuclear weapons," "place or transport nuclear weapons in any manner", or "test or use nuclear weapons."
However, 28 years after the signing of the SEANWFZ Treaty by the 10 ASEAN members, none of the nuclear-weapon states have adopted the treaty.
Previously, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi encouraged ASEAN to become a nuclear-weapon-free region and promote human rights in her speech at the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) chairing the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Commission (SEANWFZ) meeting in Jakarta, Tuesday, 11 July.
"There is no weapon more powerful and destructive than a nuclear weapon. And with nuclear weapons, we are only one miscalculation away from the apocalypse and global catastrophe," Retno said.
According to Minister Retno, SEANWFZ had given contribution to the efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region through the disarmament and global nonproliferation regime.
However, she regretted that years after the signing of the SEANWFZ Treaty, none of the nuclear-weapon states had signed it. (Writer: Eko Budiono, Editor: Untung S, Translator: Filmon Warouw)
Photo: Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi poses for a photo group at the center after the 56th meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ (AMM) the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Commission meeting in Jakarta, Tuesday, 11 July 2023. InfoPublik/Agus Siswanto.