Speakers Voice Concern Over Situation in South Asia, Korean Peninsula
The persistent non-compliance by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea constituted a serious challenge to the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the basic framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the representative of the Republic of Korea told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its debate on the Agency's annual report.
He said the Democratic People's Republic of Korea argued that its nuclear issue should be resolved through the Agreed Framework between itself and the United States -- that was not a substitute for its Safeguards Agreement with the Agency, nor was it intended to exonerate that country from its treaty obligations, which were binding and in force. He called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to resolve the long-standing nuclear issue and cooperate faithfully with the Agency to implement the Safeguards Agreement. The international community also needed to demonstrate its firm stance against any attempt by that State to undermine the basic regime of international nuclear non-proliferation.
Speaking in exercise of right of reply, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said the nuclear issue was one for his country and the United States. The Agreed Framework between the two countries was supported by the Security Council and the Agency. Only when that was fully implemented would his country comply with the IAEA Safeguards Agreement. "Urging us to fully comply is not motivation to solve the issue in an impartial way", he said. If there was genuine interest in an impartial result, then the United States should also be urged to properly fulfill its obligations under the Agreed Framework. Urging one side without mentioning the other was a case of pressure being applied against his country. Impartiality and not pressure would solve the issue.
Speaking during the debate, Pakistan's representative said his country's efforts to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia collapsed in the face of Indian nuclear tests, conducted in May of last year. The resultant threat to Pakistan's security left it with no
option but to conduct nuclear tests to restore the strategic balance. Even in the post-nuclear test phase, his country had acted with restraint and a sense of responsibility. It had announced a universal moratorium on further testing and emphasized the need to prevent a nuclear arms race. To achieve those objectives, it had proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime to India.
"We are nevertheless, deeply concerned over the draft nuclear doctrine introduced by India which envisages the operational deployment of nuclear weapons based on a triad of the delivery systems", he said. Any steps in that direction might well trigger a nuclear arms race in South Asia and further imperil the already volatile security situation in the region. "We believe that it is the responsibility of the international community to dissuade India from pursuing the dangerous path of raising the nuclear stakes in South Asia", he said.
Also addressing the debate, the representative of New Zealand expressed concerned that not all the signatories to the NPT had concluded safeguards agreements with the IAEA, and that only a small number of additional protocols were in force in Member States. The Agency was one of the pillars of the international security architecture and had made a vital contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament through its safeguards and verification role. She also expressed disappointment at the continuing non-compliance of the Democratic Republic of Korea with the IAEA's Safeguards Agreement, and urged that country to cooperate fully with the Agency in its implementation.
Statements were also made this afternoon by the representatives of Uruguay, Australia, Armenia and Belarus. The representatives of the Republic of Korea and Japan also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Assembly will meet again on Monday to begin consideration of the reports of the International Criminal Tribunals of The Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For background details, see Press Release GA/9650 of 4 November.
BAN KI-MOON (Republic of Korea) said the Agency's role in enhancing nuclear safety should be further strengthened through the development of an extensive nuclear safety regime and comprehensive safety standards. Future review meetings of the Convention on Nuclear Safety might learn a lot more from the First Review Meeting, held last April. He hoped all Contracting Parties would continue to make efforts to fulfill the objectives of the Convention so that a high level of nuclear safety could be achieved and maintained globally through international cooperation. The IAEA needed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its activities in the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and in strengthening its safeguards system by introducing high-tech surveillance and monitoring systems on the one hand, and by actively utilizing national or regional safeguards systems on the other. Since 1993, the Agency had adopted resolutions on the continued non- compliance of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with safeguards agreements.
The persistent non-compliance by that country constituted a serious challenge to the IAEA's safeguards system and the basic framework of the NPT, he continued. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea argued that its nuclear issue should be resolved through an agreed framework between itself and the United States. While that framework was a useful mechanism, it was not a substitute for the IAEA- Democratic People's Republic of Korea Safeguard Agreement, nor was it intended to exonerate that country from its treaty obligations, which were binding and in force. A few weeks ago, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea officially announced that it would suspend the test-firing of new, long-range missiles. He called on that country, in the same spirit, to resolve the long-standing nuclear issue and cooperate faithfully with the Agency to implement the Safeguards Agreement. On the other hand, the international community needed to demonstrate its firm stance against any attempt by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that would undermine the basic regime of international nuclear non-proliferation.
ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that despite negative perceptions and apprehensions about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, nuclear energy remained a viable and attractive energy option for many countries. In the years ahead, expansion of the energy sector was going to be one of the major challenges for developing countries. The growth of nuclear power, both in industrialized and developing countries, had slowed down during the last two decades. The Agency must thus play a proactive role in creating greater awareness of the benefits of nuclear energy, as well as in strengthening the technical infrastructure of Member States interested in nuclear power. Pakistan, as a developing country which was deficient in fossil fuels, was committed to utilizing nuclear energy for economic development. The Agency's activities in the field of technical cooperation needed to be further strengthened. Any curtailment or roll-back of cooperation would be retrogressive. It was important that the agency did not lose sight of its technical character. "We are concerned at a perceptible shift in emphasis towards the verification role." That trend needed to be corrected.
He said safeguards constituted a basic function of the Agency, and Pakistan supported the cost-effective implementation of safeguards in accordance with treaties or agreements voluntary entered into by States. However, the Agency's verification and safeguards activities should not be at the price of its promotional role. Pakistan's efforts to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia had collapsed in the face of Indian nuclear tests conducted in May of last year. The resultant threat to Pakistan's security left it with no option but to conduct nuclear tests to restore the strategic balance. Even in the post-nuclear test phase, his country had acted with restraint and a sense of responsibility. It had announced a universal moratorium on further testing and emphasized the need to prevent a nuclear arms race. To achieve those objectives, it had proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime to India. Pakistan was also committed to the non-export and non-transfer of nuclear or other sensitive technologies to any other country.
"We are, nevertheless, deeply concerned over the draft nuclear doctrine introduced by India which envisages the operational deployment of nuclear weapons based on a triad of the delivery systems", he said. Any steps in that direction might well trigger a nuclear arms race in South Asia and further imperil the already volatile security situation in the region. "We believe that it is the responsibility of the international community to dissuade India from pursuing the dangerous path of raising the nuclear stakes in South Asia", he said.
WEN CHIN POWLES (New Zealand) said her country was concerned that not all the signatories to the NPT had met their commitments by concluding safeguards agreements with the IAEA, and that only a small number of Additional Protocols were in force in Member States. The IAEA was one of the pillars of the international security architecture, and had made a vital contribution to nuclear non- proliferation and disarmament through its safeguards and verification role.
She expressed disappointment at the continuing non-compliance of the Democratic Republic of Korea with its safeguards agreement, and urged that country to cooperate fully with the Agency in its implementation. She commended the patient persistence of the Agency’s Director General and staff in working towards the implementation of the agreement and for its efforts in implementing the relevant Security Council resolutions on Iraq.
The issue of nuclear safety, she continued, was a priority area as far as New Zealand was concerned, and New Zealand fully subscribed to the need for a global culture of nuclear safety. There was deep concern in the country over the transportation of radioactive materials. She was pleased that the Agency’s General Conference had adopted a resolution which provided for the expansion of its Board membership.
JULIO BENITEZ SAENZ (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the countries of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) and the associated States of Bolivia and Chile, expressed satisfaction over the report of the IAEA. He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the international safeguards system, as well as to the promotion of the peaceful use of science and nuclear energy. The enlargement of the Board of Governors was welcome, but he would have liked to see his own region more equitably represented.
He urged the IAEA to give highest priority to achieving full integration of safeguards system. It was also important to attain high levels of nuclear safety. It was therefore necessary to give close consideration to other aspects of security, including the transportation of nuclear materials and the issue of radiation sources.
The IAEA’s role remained highly relevant in the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the Agency was a key player in the international regime for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
LES LUCK (Australia), expressing his country’s strong commitment to the IAEA, noted that the Agency played a central role in the contribution of nuclear technology to global peace, health and prosperity. It was also one of the central pillars of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, of which the NPT was the cornerstone. Australia placed high priority on its continuing strength.
There was a need to remain vigilant in looking for clandestine nuclear weapons programmes and in maintaining pressure on non-compliant States, he continued. His country added its voice to those who had expressed concern that, for almost a year, the Agency had been unable to carry out its inspections in Iraq in accordance with its mandate from the Security Council. It also welcomed the commitment of the IAEA to resume verification in Iraq as soon as it was possible.
Regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Agency had a responsibility resulting from its safeguards agreement with that country and a role pursuant to the Agreed Framework between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States. Australia was concerned at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s continuing non-compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and expected that that country would preserve all information the Agency needed to verify its initial inventory.
The IAEA safeguards system was a key component of the nuclear non- proliferation regime, as was its technical cooperation programme. In recognition of the importance of the latter, Australia would be increasing its voluntary contribution this year, and would continue its traditional technical support to the Agency and various neighbouring countries in aspects of peaceful nuclear technology. He noted that nuclear testing in South Asia during the past year had underlined the need to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treat (CTBT) into force, and urged those who had not done so to sign the treaty forthwith.
ANOUSCHKA IZMIRLIAN (Armenia) said that according to certain predictions, more than 20 countries would be in possession of nuclear weapons by the end of the millennium. But within the last few years, the international community had taken decisive steps to avert a predictable nightmare. Many countries had endorsed the NPT, and Armenia was committed to the principles of that treaty and supported IAEA activities in reinforcing the safeguards system. Her country attached great importance to the legal framework which created a solid basis for strict observance of safety standards and of upgrading. This year, the President of Armenia had signed the Country’s Main Nuclear Law. Armenia was also a contracting party to the first legal instrument that directly addressed the safety of nuclear power plants worldwide -– the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
Armenia considered the IAEA a key partner in developing its programme of peaceful nuclear energy, and was observant in the area of technical cooperation, she stated. Bilaterally, her country had continued close cooperation with the Russian Federation, Argentina, France, the United States and the United Kingdom, among other countries. That cooperation included implementation of joint projects on nuclear safety, improvement of operational safety standards and nuclear power plant radiation, and seismic safety.
She believed that stronger efforts were needed to strengthen international cooperation in radiation and waste management, as well as to combat illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and other radioactive sources, and to guarantee their secure disposal and storage. She stressed that the challenge of ensuring non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy must also be met by harder work on the part of the international community.
VALERY ZHDANOVICH (Belarus) noted with satisfaction the united effort of member States and the IAEA to ensure the safe use of nuclear technology. He supported the use of nuclear technology for peaceful means and had therefore signed a safeguards agreement with the Agency and was working on signing the Additional Protocol.
Belarus had also established a non-nuclear area in Eastern Europe and shown its dedication to non-proliferation by consulting with other States in the region. There had also been several successful inspections by the Agency in Belarus and the country had provided information on nuclear activities and was conducting a review of inventory and control of nuclear materials. With the help of Japan, it was also establishing a regional scientific center and called on other Member states to lend their support to this venture.
With regard to pursuing a consistent policy in nuclear and radiation safety, Belarus adhered to the Nuclear Safety Convention and took part in the first review meeting. The bitter experience of dealing with the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophe had given nuclear safety a new meaning for Belarus. Safety must remain a priority for the IAEA. The problem of overcoming the Chernobyl disaster continued to remain a timely one.
On a positive note, he said, nuclear technology had ensured delivery of radiation control for cancer patients, rehabilitated areas which had been affected by the Chernobyl disaster, and improved radiation safety and disposal of radioactive waste. It had also managed to produce rapeseed oil in the areas which had been affected by Chernobyl.
Belarus continued to work towards regional cooperation and had organized seminars and traineeships for students in this regard. It had put in place a two- year programme and hoped this would achieve practical results. He looked forward to closer cooperation with the IAEA.
Rights of reply
CHOE MYONG NAM (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said false remarks had been made about the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The issue was one for his country and the United States. The Agreed Framework between the two countries was supported by the Security Council and the Agency. Only when that was fully implemented would his country comply with the IAEA Safeguards Agreement. "Urging us to fully comply is not motivation to solve the issue in an impartial way", he said. If there was a genuine interest in an impartial result, then the United States should also be urged to properly fulfill its obligations under the Agreed Framework. Urging one side without mentioning the other was a case of pressure being applied against his country. Impartiality and not pressure would solve the issue.
He said he also rejected allegations made by the United States this morning. That country was well aware that the Agreed Framework and the Safeguards Agreement were related. Only when the former was implemented could the latter become effective. The United States had not properly fulfilled its obligations, and that was why the nuclear issue could not be resolved. In addition, the allegation made by Japan this morning was nothing more than deceptive rhetoric designed to pursue its own interests in support of big powers. Japan therefore had no alternative but to remain silent about the United States non-implementation of the Agreed Framework. Japan was also camouflaging its own nuclear arms potential, since it was a well known-fact it was very capable of producing nuclear products. He urged the international community to remain duly focused on that country.
Rejecting allegations made by "South Korea", he said they had no right to speak since they were a group of puppets and were the traitors who had introduced nuclear weapons into the Korean Peninsula. Their accusations were nothing more than cowardly actions which when coupled with United States assistance were aimed at stifling his country. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea would not deal directly with "South Korea" since they had no right to speak on the issue.
LEE KIE-CHEON (Republic of Korea) said that over the years several Assembly resolutions had stated that the IAEA Safeguards Agreement was binding and in force. "North Korea" therefore had an obligation to abide by it. His Government had faithfully implemented the Agreement. Despite "North Korea's" allegations, the Government of the Republic of Korea had pursued a policy of engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based on peaceful coexistence and emphasizing reconciliation and cooperation. His country had also provided humanitarian assistance to "North Korea". In concert with allies such as the United States, Japan and the European Union, the Republic of Korea had endeavoured to make "North Korea" an integrated member of the international community. He hoped that they would understand that gesture. He also hoped that "North Korea" would change its tactics in the future by engaging in more harmonious dialogue.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said that the delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had made different allegations on Japan’s positions regarding both its nuclear policy and the IAEA. Japan’s nuclear policy forbade it from producing nuclear weapons and allowing their introduction into the country. Moreover, Japan was bound by the international treaty to limit use of nuclear energy to peaceful purposes.
It was important for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the IAEA. He hoped that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would agree to do so. The IAEA had the responsibility of ensuring nuclear non- proliferation. Full cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the IAEA was also a wish of the international community as a whole. He hoped that that country would respond to the collective will of the international community in a constructive manner. He reaffirmed his own country’s commitment to the principles of international peace and security.
CHOE MYONG NAM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that "South Korea" deserved condemnation based on the reality of what his country knew. The country was bent on establishing nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and then calling the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to account. That was like a thief calling his victims thieves.
"South Korea" was trying to put its nose into the nuclear activities of another country -- an ambition that should be laughed at and denounced. He said he was perplexed by Japan’s comments. They were camouflaging their ill-minded nuclear intentions by praising the non- proliferation principle. If they did not support nuclear proliferation, perhaps they should explain to the General Assembly why Japanese officials were talking about nuclear rearmament. He reiterated that the international community should be vigilant over Japan’s intention to rearm itself with nuclear weapons and invade other countries.
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