I wish to congratulate you. It has been a long, rocky road, but here we are.
Our commitment to this Treaty emanates from my people’s aspiration to achieve freedom from the threat of nuclear weapons and forge a path to sustainable development that includes harnessing the potential of nuclear energy. These aspirations are enshrined in our Constitution, affirmed in our legislation, and inspired us to accede to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
In recent years, we have seen the emergence of serious obstacles to these aspirations. Widening geopolitical polarities and sharpening strategic competitions have put enormous strains on the rules-based international order, of which our Treaty is an important component. In our region, we see challenges to nuclear non-proliferation, modernization of nuclear arsenals, lack of functional strategic dialogue mechanisms, and refusal to heed the call of the international community for greater transparency in fulfilling nuclear disarmament commitments.
We reject the notion that nuclear weapons contribute to stability and security. These weapons pose catastrophic humanitarian risks, and their continued existence imperils us all. They are repugnant to global public conscience, and have since been outlawed by the TPNW.
We further reject the notion that nuclear disarmament obligations and commitments are contingent upon any subjective assessment of the international security environment. The credibility and strength of the rules-based international order rests on predictability and stability, which leaves no room for such subjectivity. All States Parties must uphold their commitments under the 13 Practical Steps and the 64-Point Action Plan.
The onus to rid the world of nuclear weapons remains on the shoulders of Nuclear Weapon States. They must make meaningful progress to reduce and eliminate all types of nuclear weapons in a transparent manner, and to further diminish the role of such weapons in their military and security concepts, doctrines, or policies.
We support efforts towards nuclear risk reduction as an as an intervening measure while we work towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Nuclear risk reduction is not a means to legitimize nuclear weapons’ continued existence or as a substitute to nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear safeguards are an essential component of the non-proliferation regime. We continue to cooperate with the IAEA as regards our comprehensive safeguards agreement and its additional protocol. We also champion responsible strategic trade management, which benefits multilateral export control regimes.
Our adherence to the highest standards of non-proliferation should be matched by the same level of commitment by Nuclear Weapon States to fulfilling their end of the Grand Bargain. They must, without delay, undertake effective, universal, unconditional, non-discriminatory, irrevocable, and legally-binding negative security assurances to Non-Nuclear Weapon States.
The regrettable decision of some Nuclear Weapon States to upgrade the role of nuclear forces in their security doctrines, the lack of transparency and functioning dialogue mechanisms among them, and continued risks of instability in the geopolitical environment — including in the Asia-Pacific region — demands that Nuclear Weapon States issue such assurances, without conditions. This matter requires most urgent discussions in this conference.
We further urge Nuclear Weapon States to accede to all Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, including the Bangkok Treaty and its protocols, without delay.
The global situation compels us to situate our work in a broader context beyond international security. We have just emerged from a pandemic that has caused an unprecedented economic and debt crisis and reversed fragile development gains. The devastating effects of climate change now pose a serious and urgent threat to humanity’s future, its very existence. The peaceful uses of nuclear energy offer feasible solutions for addressing these challenges and to keep us on track to achieving 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Along with other Non-Nuclear Weapon States, the Philippines asserts our inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This right cannot be downgraded to a privilege. We recognize and commit to our responsibilities and legal obligations in the exercise of this right, but these should not be considered restrictions or conditions.
States Parties are bound together by the mandate to make this Conference meaningful. We call on all parties to engage constructively and sincerely in this regard. The Philippines has contributed in no small way to advancing the salience and strength of this Treaty in the past and in this current review cycle.
My delegation intends to be actively engaged throughout this Conference to see that we achieve our common purpose with a successful outcome for it has truly been a long road, rocky at times, but one we must take for our 50-year old Treaty to remain relevant, the bedrock upon which the global disarmament, non-proliferation and security regime is built and stands today. Thank you.