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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
The Philippines congratulates you and the other members of the bureau on your well-deserved election to this crucial session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC). The Philippines is confident that under your able and dynamic leadership and guidance this session will yield concrete positive results. The Philippines also expresses its gratitude to the Member States for electing it to the UNDC bureau for this session. It likewise commends the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Amb. Sergio Duarte, for his statement.
Before proceeding any further, the Philippines wishes to inform that it associates itself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) delivered by the representative of Indonesia.
The Philippines is specially cognizant of the favorable environment enveloping the field of disarmament in the last few months, and is hopeful that the more constructive approach and flexibility demonstrated by delegations would continue to prevail throughout this session of the UNDC and beyond. Such openness and conduct would allow delegations to unceasingly pursue and strive to achieve through disarmament, our sublime goal of global peace. We are fully aware that the challenges to global peace which surround us can be partly dealt with by UNDC.
The Philippines remains convinced that the UNDC is a vital mechanism in the field of disarmament to deal with such challenges. It fully subscribes to its principles and objectives and reaffirms UNDC’s importance and continuing relevance, in light of its universal membership and its power, if not duty, to submit substantial recommendations to the General Assembly on urgent disarmament issues and concerns.
The Philippines believes that the most deadly weapons in existence are the nuclear weapons. In this regard, I find it apropos to quote a pertinent portion of the synopsis of the latest report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament entitled Eliminating Nuclear Threats – A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers:
Nuclear weapons are the most inhumane weapons ever conceived, inherently indiscriminate in those they kill and maim, and with an impact deadly for decades. They are the only weapons ever invented that have the capacity to wholly destroy life on this planet, and the arsenals we now possess are able to do so many times over. The problem of nuclear weapons is at least equal to that of climate change in terms of gravity – and much more immediate in its potential impact.
Thus, it is incumbent upon all nations to see to it that these weapons do not spread and are eliminated in an irreversible and verifiable manner. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are essential to promoting international peace and security. They are the cornerstones from which nations can build a society that is secure and free from the grave threat of a nuclear holocaust. The Philippines respectfully submits that the best way to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons is through their complete and total elimination. The continued existence of these weapons will eventually lead to their proliferation, and the Philippines views this likely possibility as a grave threat to the international community. Again, on this point, let me quote once more the synopsis I earlier mentioned:
So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, it defies credibility that they will not one day be used, by accident, miscalculation or design. And any such use would be catastrophic. It is sheer luck that the world has escaped such catastrophe until now.
This firm belief of the Philippines in the need to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the urgency to eliminate and dismantle these arms so that they would never threaten mankind is what led the Philippines to seriously consider and to assume the responsibility of the Presidency of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT. It takes this role very seriously, but understands that success and progress can only be achieved via a collective effort from all sides and through balanced forward movement on all three pillars of the NPT, namely, nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Accordingly, the Philippines will not rest, nor tire nor weaken in seeking the support of Member States in ensuring a positive outcome in this upcoming Review Conference.
The Philippines commends the Russian Federation and the United States of America for their efforts in negotiating a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and calls on all States possessing nuclear weapons to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the earliest possible time.
The Philippines is a staunch supporter of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It is host to three of the monitoring stations essential to the CTBT’s operations. Hence, the Philippines does not hesitate to call on all States to ban all forms of nuclear testing and urges States whose signatures and ratifications are necessary for the CTBT to enter into force, to sign and ratify it, as the case may be, as soon as possible.
The Philippines gives due importance to the establishment of a universal, legally binding instrument on negative security assurances to Non-Nuclear Weapon States. Furthermore, it is convinced in the usefulness and necessity of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and welcomes the establishment of more of such zones, and calls on the Nuclear Weapon States to respect such zones. The Bangkok Treaty is a significant contribution of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to this important effort. The Philippines welcomes the entry into force of the treaties establishing Nuclear Weapon Free Zones in Africa and Central Asia. It looks forward to the early establishment of a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East.
The Philippines supports calls for an international conference that will set the parameters for the elimination of nuclear weapons and prohibit their production, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and provide for the destruction of such weapons. It gives much importance to having a specified time frame for the destruction of such weapons and the negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
The Philippines, as one of the countries that submitted pleadings to the International Court of Justice, recognizes and unequivocally supports the Court’s unanimous conclusion that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.
The Philippines submits that multilateral, regional, and bilateral discussions should be continually undertaken as the tools to achieve success in this area. It calls on States to pursue multilateral negotiations, as agreed in the Final Document on SSOD-1.
We are now entering the Fourth Disarmament Decade (2010-2020). The work of our predecessors must be continued and the success that was achieved from the first to the third disarmament decades has to be consolidated and built upon aggressively and progressively. The Philippines would, therefore, like to see that the elements of a declaration for a Fourth Disarmament Decade include relevant issues in the field of disarmament so that it would address the concerns of all.
On Practical Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the field of conventional arms, the Philippines recognizes that CBMs are essential in the achievement of international peace and security. Conventional weapons, though not as destructive as nuclear weapons, have actually killed and maimed more people, due to their proliferation and widespread use and their mass production. CBMs establish the climate of trust necessary for the reduction of tensions and the elimination of hostile situations. This in turn leads to more progress in terms of disarmament.
Lastly, the Philippines views multilateral cooperation as a key factor in disarmament. Through this approach, nations can make progress in the important field of disarmament.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, the Philippine delegation would like to assure you and the fellow members of the bureau of its readiness to participate in the most constructive and cooperative manner possible in this year’s substantive session of the UNDC.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
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