Opening Statement of the Regional Disarmament Meeting
In Asia and the Pacific
"SECURITY CONCEPTS IN THE CHANGING WORLD"
by Mr. Evgeniy  Gorkovskiy Director and Deputy to the
Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs,

 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 3 August 1999
 

1.     On behalf of the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, I welcome all of you to a United Nations regional disarmament meeting entitled "Security concepts in the changing world." This is the first UN regional disarmament meeting ever held in Mongolia. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to distinguished Foreign Minister Her Excellency Mrs. Nyam-0sor Tuya, Head of Government Chancellery, Mr. Batbayar, for the kind invitation and support in the organization of this important meeting. I also thank Amb. Jargaisaikany Enkhsaikan, Mongolia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations for his leadership and extraordinary help, which were essential for us to materialize this meeting.

2.    When the United Nations was established in 1945, founding fathers knew that people all over the world were looking to them to make sure that such a nightmare, a war with over 50 million victims would never be repeated. In reflecting this desire of people, the United Nations Charter expressed determination "to save succeeding generation from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought about untold sorrow."

3.    Unfortunately, today, people in different corners of the world have been experiencing "scourge of war.' To name just a few, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia- Eritrea, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Liberia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan. For example, in Africa as a whole, there are some 4 million refugees and at least 10 million internally displaced persons. Thus, at the end of this century, the scourge of wars has returned with a vengeance. International community should do everything possible to prevent future conflicts seeking for political solutions based upon the rule of law, justice and safety for all countries, big or small, for all the people of the world. Therefore it is timely to discuss security issues in Asia and the Pacific, its concepts and definition, Better understanding of its complexity will be contributing to the prevention of conflicts and wars.

4.    It is quite a challenge to try to define security concept today. According to the 1985 UN study on security concept, "in principle, security is a condition in which states consider that there is no danger of military attack, political pressure or economic coercion, so that they are able to pursue freely their own development and progress. International security is thus the result and the sum of the security of each and every State member of the international community; accordingly international security cannot be reached without full international co-operation." This definition of the concept of international security may not be enough today in a completely different international environment.

5.    Professor Scalapino said in his paper that "security in the contemporary world is a vastly more complex issue than at any time in the past, both in terms of the conflicting trends now underway at the range of issues encompassed in that term." Dr. Djiwandono who was not able to arrive at the Conference added in his prepared paper that "the national security of a nation, however defined, is closely or even immediately linked to that of its neighbours, irrespective of the nature of their relations." Amb. Abe defined concept of security "a condition under which a sovereign state, a group of people or an individual to live free from threats to his life or existence, economic wealth and the right to choose its way of living or existence." These diverse interpretations underline the difficulty of the elaboration of a common security concept today.

6.    If we want to develop a workable security concept, it is obvious, that we have to look at all aspects of bilateral, multilateral relationship among regional actors, their interactions in the global security picture. As it was recently mentioned at Kyoto Conference , collective security could be only based on the rule of international law and it will not be possible to achieve it without co-operation of different countries, international and non-governmental organizations, active involvement of civil society.

7.    Let us look at security situation in Asia and the Pacific. First, as a useful regional institution, we have Asian Regional Forum in this region. Initiated and directed by ASEAN (ARF) involves all the region's main powers and has addressed both global disarmament and wide-ranging regional security concerns in both Northeast and Southeast Asia. ARF is not designed to create a collective security mechanism in Asia or to replace existing security arrangements, but to build confidence and understanding through official dialogue on issues of mutual concern. Recently, reference to disarmament issues have become more and more prominent in its work.

8.    Economic cooperation has been considered by many states and institutions as essential part of regional or global security. Increased economic interdependence has promoted security, reducing incentives for excessive arms procurement and arms build-up thereby contributing to disarmament, Economic interdependence, while not necessarily an absolute guarantee against conflicts, seems to foster greater trust and confidence and builds a sense of partnership in Asia and the Pacific. Helping to eliminate poverty and economic disparities in Asia and the Pacific is one of the key factors contributing to stability, Widespread poverty in societies generates insecurity within a State that could lead in its turn to international insecurity.

9.    In Northeast Asia, initiatives of the establishment of official dialogue mechanism dealing exclusively with Northeast Asia have so far proven elusive with the exception of Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) which was established specifically to implement the Agreed framework agreement between the US and DPRK. At semi-official level, the "Kanazawa Symposiur W" being promoted by United Nations Association of Japan since 1995. It has made some progress in the introduction of dialogue process, now called the "Kanazawa process,' Last month, as the result of the fifth Kanazawa Symposium, the participants adopted a guideline for their future actions consisting of eight major pillars. Those are: Political issues; the Korean peninsula; Disarmament; Multi-faceted co-operation; Interaction between and among institutions; Establishment of regional Organization in Northeast Asia and Human security. Non governmental efforts exemplified by those of Council of Security Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific (CSCAP) also complement official efforts and allow discussion of more sensitive issues.

10.    In South Asia, regional co-operation is being promoted through South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) now having two nuclearized states. In the new security environment in the region one of the priorities now is to avoid an accidental nuclear war. Dialogue channels should be maintained and CBMS, particularly those developed at the summit meeting in Lahore, should be implemented.

11.    Both sub-regional and region-wide multilateral dialogue mechanisms are useu in promoting trust in Asia and the Pacific. In this context, I wish to draw your attention to the work of the UN Asia-Pacific Regional Centre and its "Kathmandu process". The Centre greatly helped regional dialogue on disarmament and security matters in this region for more than 10 years.

12.    Article I of the UN Charter calls for effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace. Preventing potential conflicts from crossing the threshold of violence requires early warning of the situations and an integrated preventive strategy. Regrettably, in some cases effective prevention was actually impeded by the traditional focus on external threats to a state's security. Today, we recognize that many other threats to human security, such as ethnic tensions and religious intolerance, human rights violations, and others may also be sources of conflict. Latest tragic events in some parts of the region just confirm this. The intimate relationship between social justice, material well being and peace must also be taken into account if action is to be pursued far enough to prevent local conflicts from escalating and spilling over into the international arena.

13.    Since the causes of conflict are usually regional or local, it is important that international regional organizations are well suited to play an important role in early warning and preventive diplomacy. Therefore the UN is seeking to create a real partnership, with a more rational and cost-effective division of labour, between those organizations and the UN.

14.    The other major agenda item of this conference is Mongolia's initiative on nuclear- weapon-free status. Facing fundamentally new geopolitical situation Mongolia adopted its new comprehensive security concept in June 1994. It defined Mongolia's vital national interests as coexistence of the Mongolian people and their civilization, the country's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of the State frontiers, relative economic independence, sustainable ecological development and national unity.

15.    As a way of promoting and consolidating this national security concept, last year Mongolia presented a draft resolution on its nuclear weapon-free status at the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly. The draft resolution was adopted without a vote and became GA resolution 53/ 77D. The resolution

        1. Welcomed the declaration by Mongolia of its nuclear-weapon-free- status;

        2. Endorsed and supported Mongolia's good-neighborly and balanced relationship with its neighbours as an important element of strengthening regional peace, security and stability,

        3. Invited Member States, including the five nuclear-weapon States, to cooperate with Mongolia in taking the necessary measures to consolidate and strengthen Mongolia's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of its frontiers, its economic security, ecological balance and its nuclear-weapon-free status as well as its independent foreign policy;

        4. Appealed to the Member States of the Asia-Pacific region to support Mongolia's efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.

16.    As for nuclear-weapon-free zones, we have many positive examples and, currently, the Department for Disarmament Affairs of the United Nations through its Asia-Pacific Regional Centre is assisting the five Central Asian states to conclude a treaty on the Central Asia nuclear- weapon-free zone. Giving a nuclear-weapon-free status to a single state is entirely a new attempt. In light of Mongolia's genial efforts, the five nuclear- weapon-states have expressed their support for Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status. GA resolution 53/ 77D, also requested United Nations to provide the necessary assistance to Mongolia to take the necessary measures in paragraph 3 of this resolution, mentioned above. Taking up this agenda at the Ulaanbaatar meeting is a way to assist Mongolia. I am confident that this meeting will provide the participants with a good opportunity to familiarize with Mongolia's initiative by learning more about background of the resolution and its aims. At the same time, it will be useful for Mongolia to receive reaction of international experts to its initiative on nuclear-weapon-free status. This meeting could be helpful in defining our future course of action.

17.    Wishing you success at this meeting, I declare UN regional disarmament meeting in Mongolia on "Security concepts in the changing world" open.