Statement by Ambassador J. Enkhsaikhan,
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the
United Nations in the general debate of the
First Committee of the 51st UNGA
/New York, 6 November 1996/
In the past year the international community has witnessed historic achievements in its disarmament agenda: the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has been opened for signature; the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC), one ratification away from entering into force is to become operational soon; additional restrictions have been placed on the use of certain weapons; and blinding laser weapons have been totally banned.
The conclusion of the Bangkok and Pelindaba Treaties has substantially expanded the area declared to be a nuclear-weapon-free zone. This area includes 114 States and a population of 1,7 billion. Together with Antarctica, it represents more than 50 per cent of the earth's land mass. Moreover the International Court of Justice has ruled on the question of the illegality of the use of nuclear weapons and on the obligation to eliminate them. All of these achievements have been made possible by the overall warming of the international climate and the determination of States and peoples to make the world a safer and better place to live.
Mongolia welcomes these positive developments in the field of disarmament and the strengthening of global security. However, systematic and bolder efforts are needed on the part of the international community to drastically reduce the arsenals of warfare and to further ensure security. To this end, the international community should, in our view, define the priorities and programme for further disarmament. As a member of the Group of 21 in the Conference on Disarmament, Mongolia believes that following the extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the conclusion of the CTBT and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, the international community should address in earnest the question of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The three-phase draft programme of the Group of 21 to eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020 and the report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons could form the basis for such an approach and for negotiations.
The conclusion of the CTBT is an important step towards preventing the qualitative improvement and proliferation of nuclear weapons and, ultimately, towards furthering the goal of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zones. It is to be hoped that, with the forty-fifth nuclear explosion at Lop Nor on 29 July 1996, mankind has witnessed the last of such ominous explosions. This hope is strengthened by the fact that nuclear-weapon States went beyond their unilateral moratoriums on nuclear explosions when they signed the CTBT, since under international law, a State , by signing an international treaty or convention, assumes an obligation to refrain from any acts that would defeat that treaty's or convention's object and purposes. Politically, even on more test, however small, could cause irreparable damage to the prevailing favourable and constructive international atmosphere and compel others to resume, or embark upon, such testing. The CTBT has special significance for Mongolia, since it is one of the countries most affected by nuclear-test explosions, both in the atmosphere and underground. Almost on fourth of the registered tests were conducted in its vicinity, and the environmental, health and geophysical consequences have yet to be assessed.
It is for these reasons that Mongolia, a member of the Conference on Disarmament, took an active part in the CTBT negotiations. Mongolia sincerely hopes the that Lop Nor test will be the last one on Earth.
The CTBT was a compromise, reached a result of intense negotiations. It is not perfect. It does not ban the further improvement of nuclear weapons through Laboratory-scale nuclear tests, nor does it adequately address the question of nuclear disarmament. The Treaty's final provisions make its entry into force quite cumbersome. Despite this and some other flaws, Mongolia, like some 130 countries, has signed the Treaty. It will ratify it in due time and will take an active part in the work of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
It is to be hoped that the vague declarations made on signing the Treaty to the effect that the existence in the world of huge nuclear arsenals and the adherence of others to nuclear deterrence policies demand that the supreme national interests be taken into account to ensure the safety, reliability and effectiveness of nuclear weapons, are not meant to alter the Treaty obligations.
The credibility of the CTBT, like that of other international Treaties in the field of disarmament, will depend on the effectiveness of its verification regime. We therefore believe that the verification system under the CTBT should be efficient and cost-effective and should ensure equal access by all States parties. Mongolia, which is determined to contribute to the implementation of the CTBT, will actively participate in the International Monitoring System for the detection of nuclear explosions. It has therefore offered to have a number of seismic, radionuclide and infrasound stations on its territory. As a result, Mongolia's commitment to the International Monitoring System will be broader than that of many other States parties. This fact, as well as the country's economic and financial situation, compel it to share with others the financial and other costs that will eventually be connected with operating those stations. In this connection, Mongolia is pleased to note Japan's offer to expand cooperation with developing countries on seismic technologies.
When Belarus removes the last of its strategic nuclear missiles this year, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine will together have removed 3,400 nuclear weapons from their territories, dismantled their nuclear infrastructures and thereby become non-nuclear-weapon States, both e jure and de facto. Like others, Mongolia commends these States for the concrete steps they have taken in accordance with their international obligations.
It is also gratifying to note that four of the nuclear Powers are reducing or contemplating reducing their arsenals. Russia and the United States are reducing their strategic arsenals under the START I Treaty, well ahead of the scheduled date of December 1999. It is expected that within two years the United Kingdom will have reduced its nuclear arsenal to one nuclear-weapon system, while France has declared its intention to abolish its land -based nuclear missiles altogether. However, the existence of stockpiles of nuclear weapons that are equivalent to 750,000 of the nuclear weapons used on Hiroshima shows that we are still a long way from making the world a safer place.
We hope that once the Russian Federation ratifies START II, and both Russia and the United States thereby proceed to cut their strategic nuclear weapons to 3,000 and 3,500, respectively, negotiations on START III- preferably involving all the other nuclear-weapon States-will get under way.
The closing down and dismantling of nuclear-weapon-system infrastructures should, in our view, be another concrete step towards nuclear disarmament. The closing down and dismantling of the Semipalatinsk testing facility and of infrastructures in Ukraine and Belarus should now be followed by similar steps by the nuclear-weapon States. We welcome the French Government's commitment to close down its testing site on the Mururoa atoll in the Pacific. Like other countries of the region, Mongolia would particularly welcome the closure and eventual dismantling of the existing testing facility in our region. Its dismantling would underline the commitment to nuclear disarmament. Likewise, specialized scientific research laboratories and other nuclear-weapon-related infrastructures within the nuclear-weapon States should either be closed down or converted so as to put an end to the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons.
The successful conclusion of the CTBT raises the question of what to do next. Mongolia, like the overwhelming majority of States, believes that the international community should vigorously pursue nuclear disarmament. It is not only a political imperative but the legal obligation of States, as reflected n the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, issued on 8 July 1996. The Court unanimously recognized that "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control" (A/51/4, p.39).
Moreover, as the report of the Canberra Commission convincingly demonstrates, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence is redundant and dangerous, and diminishes the security of all States, including that of the nuclear-weapon States themselves.
We believe that the establishment of more nuclear-weapon-free zones n different regions of the world on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the States of the regions concerned constitutes an important disarmament measure and thereby enhances regional and global peace and security. Mongolia therefore warmly welcomes the conclusion of the Treaties of Bangkok and Pelindaba, which establish nuclear-weapon-free zones in vast new areas, and the signing by France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America of the Protocols to the Rarotonga Treaty. The nuclear-weapon-free zones established by the two Treaties to which I referred demonstrate the will of the peoples of those areas to be free from nuclear threat, and gives a powerful impetus to the process of disarmament.
In 1992 Mongolia declared its territory to be a nuclear-weapon-free zone. This step was taken when former Soviet troops withdrew from our country in the wake of the end of the cold war and the normalization of Russian-Chinese and Mongolian-Chinese relations. Our policy can be better understood if we bear in mind that in 1960s and 1970s, at the height of Sino-Soviet tension, there was a risk that Mongolia would, accidentally or otherwise, be turned into a battleground, not excluding the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. The withdrawal of the troops of one nuclear Power from Mongolia rendered meaningless its being targeted by other nuclear Powers, as had been the case in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mongolia's initiative was welcomed by both nuclear and non-nuclear States alike. The former reiterated their negative and positive security assurances with respect to Mongolia. The initiative enjoys the full support of the Non-Aligned Movement as a whole. Although its nature is unique, our initiative is an expression of a policy designed by a State to protect itself from being drawn into the nuclear calculations or plans of others by precluding the deployment of nuclear weapons or parts thereof on its territory, thereby contributing to nuclear security and confidence-building. It is a subregional measure that is in line with the national interests of Mongolia itself, a well as with the interests of its two neighbours, both of which happen to be nuclear Powers.
As a country situated at the heart of the Asian continent, Mongolia believes that the Central Asian region, with its almost limitless opportunities, and ,yet, enormous challenges, could be turned into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The vulnerable, landlocked countries of the Central Asian region have vast territories, rapidly growing populations and rich natural resources. Most of the countries of the region are in transition. They are in the process of State-building, identifying their national interests and priorities and restructuring their economies. Mindful of the situation in some southern parts of Asia, and of the growing outside interest in their untapped energy and mineral resources, as well as their non-utilized human resources, it is needless to say that the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in this sub region would have a positive impact on maintaining and strengthening the overall balance and stability in the sub region and its strategically important adjacent areas.
Like Mongolia, most of the countries of this sub region have, on a number of occasions, expressed their interest international negotiations declaring the Central Asian region a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Mongolia therefore believes that the General Assembly could consider the question of turning this vast Asian heartland into a nuclear-weapon-free zone, especially since both nuclear-weapon States negotiations the region have consistently supported the initiatives of non-nuclear-weapon States to establish such zones. Indeed, on 12 April 1996, the President of the Security Council, speaking on behalf of members of the Council, encouraged the establishment of such zones when referring to the signing of the Treaty of Pelindaba.
By signing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the non -nuclear-weapon States have forsworn the acquisition of such weapons, and we therefore expect the nuclear-weapon States to commit themselves not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them. To date only China has made a unilateral commitment, which it reiterated in April 1995, that at no time and no circumstances would it be first to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or the countries international negotiations nuclear-weapon-free zones. Mongolia commends Security Council resolution 984 (1995) on unilateral security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States as an important step towards the speedy conclusion of a substantive international treaty.
Mongolia believes that the question of banning the production of fissile materials for use international negotiations nuclear weapons should be promptly addressed by the international community. The Conference on Disarmament should, international negotiations our view, redouble its efforts to have the cut-off treaty ready for signature in the near future, especially since that is one of the understandings arrived at during the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Before leaving the nuclear issue, international should like briefly to touch upon nuclear-waste issues. The question of nuclear-waste disposal is acquiring increasing importance as a result of both international prohibition on dumping radioactive waste international negotiations the oceans, imposed by the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, and the rapid increase international negotiations the quantity of nuclear waste. The increasing use of nuclear power stations international negotiations the world and the practical measures of nuclear disarmament require that States tackle these issues urgently bearing international negotiations mind, inter alia, the interests of neighbouring States and of the international community as a whole.
Until radioactive waste is safely disposed of, States will always be exposed to this silent, invisible threat, since the radiation produced by the decay of radioactive materials, as defined international negotiations the draft convention on the prohibition of radiological weapons, could bring about death, suffering, environmental disaster and destruction. It is for this reason that the General Assembly, international negotiations its resolutions on the prohibition of the dumping of radioactive waste, has referred specifically to the potential hazards underlying any disposal of nuclear waste that could, by implication, have the same effects as a radiological weapon. International negotiations this context, Mongolia welcomes the decision of the Moscow Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security to support and expedite the conclusion of the convention on the safety of radioactive waste management.
I should now like to turn to some non-nuclear issues. It is gratifying to note that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction is soon to become operational, as 64 countries, including Mongolia, have already ratified it. Ratification of the Convention by all the signatory States, and especially by the two States with the largest arsenals of chemical weapons, would constitute an important step towards eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. Despite the progress registered since the third Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, we feel that there is a need to further reinforce the Convention by providing it with some teeth in the form of a legally binding and effective verification regime. International negotiations this respect all the necessary political support should be given to the Ad Hoc Working Group.
Disarmament in the field of weapons of mass destruction should go hand in hand with conventional disarmament. Efforts should be made to ensure transparency with regard to armaments, so as to enhance control over illicit arms trafficking and further prohibit and restrict weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. In this connection, the preoccupation of the international community with landmines is truly justified. There are almost 110 million active landmines, and each year they kill or maim some 20,000 people, especially civilians. Mongolia fully shares the growing concern of the international community. It is considering acceding to amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious of to Have Indiscriminate Effects. In doing so Mongolia would bear in mind, on the one hand, international efforts to ban certain categories of landmines for humanitarian reasons and, on the other, its national security interests. The length of Mongolia's land border, as well as the size of its population, make it imperative that landmines are used to ensure the inviolability of its frontiers-an important element of State sovereignty and national security-until a viable and more effective alternative to them is conceived and introduced.
Regional approaches to confidence-building and disarmament are of paramount importance international negotiations ensuring international peace and security. That is why Mongolia fully supported the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum-the newly emerging intergovernmental multilateral security dialogue arrangement in the Asia-Pacific region, which can play an important role in regional confidence-building, arms control and, perhaps, the settlement of regional political and military issues. Mongolia is interested international negotiations, and working towards, joining the forum soon. It strongly supports the joint efforts of Asian States to constitute a regional conventional arms register which should be more specific and detailed than the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, as well as the publication of defense White Papers by the States of the region.
Mongolia welcomes the signing of the Shanghai agreement between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on strengthening confidence in the military field in border areas as a major event that is of paramount importance for increasing confidence international negotiations our Asian heartland. Turning to United Nations-related regional activity, my delegation would like to commend the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific for its work in organizing regional conference and seminars on various disarmament-and security-related issues. Mongolia, like others, will continue to support the Kathmandu process.
In conclusion , International should like specifically to underline the very useful and valuable role played by non-governmental organizations in our common search for the optimal ways and means of achieving the noble goals of arms control and disarmament under conditions of greater security. I should also like to express my personal appreciation to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for its tireless and dedicated work, for the indispensable yearbooks and for the research reports on specific pressing disarmament and international security issues.