Joint Statement on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Joint media release:

  • Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara

23 November 2010

  • Meeting today in Canberra, we, the Foreign Ministers of Australia and Japan, Kevin Rudd and Seiji Maehara, recognise the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and renew our commitment to work together determinedly to realise a peaceful and safe world without nuclear weapons. In this effort, we are encouraged by the positive developments which have emerged since our two governments issued the Joint Statement, ”Toward a World without Nuclear Weapons”, in February this year.
  • Our two nations have a strong record of promoting global engagement in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Beginning in 2008, with the establishment of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament – which produced specific and timely recommendations for addressing many challenges on the path to a world without nuclear weapons – our two nations have forged a partnership dedicated to achieving a world without nuclear weapons. The two governments worked closely to promote global efforts for a successful outcome to the May 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation on Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Our initiatives included the submission to the Review Conference of a joint package of practical disarmament and non-proliferation measures, and leading an urgent call for unity among the Parties to the treaty.
  • To build on the worldwide momentum generated by the successful conclusion to the Review Conference, our two governments convened in September a meeting of foreign ministers from states similarly dedicated to finding concrete ways to advance nuclear disarmament and strengthen non-proliferation agenda. The key priority which emerged from the meeting, co-chaired by Australia and Japan, and attended by Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, was the need to promote steady implementation of the sixty-four Actions adopted by consensus at the Review Conference to advance nuclear disarmament and strengthen non-proliferation.
  • We hope that this group - diverse in membership but united in its determination to support and advance the objectives of the NPT – will find common ground and develop creative and practical proposals to overcome the blockages to progress on the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. We firmly believe that all countries have a responsibility to co-operate in this endeavour.
  • In view of the above, our two governments will propose that the group’s initial work should focus on confidence building measures such as promoting increased transparency in nuclear disarmament through, inter alia, the development of a standardised method for nuclear-weapon states to report progress towards disarmament commitments. This mechanism could cover elements such as numbers of nuclear warheads, deployed and non-deployed as well as strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons. The reporting mechanism could also contain information in a standard form on the role of nuclear weapons in national security policies.
  • We also stress the particular importance of a swift commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons (known as a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty or FMCT); early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); strengthened IAEA safeguards against proliferation by universal adoption of the IAEA Additional Protocol; support for nuclear weapon-free zones and strengthened co-operation among them; and promotion of strict compliance with all non-proliferation obligations by all states. We reaffirm our readiness, in collaboration with other supportive countries, including members of the group, to seek recourse to alternative arrangements to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) for multilateral negotiations on an FMCT if the deadlock in the CD on this issue is not broken within the next year. Consistent with this approach, our two governments will propose that the group could undertake an analysis for the development of a framework to surmount the technical challenges for a verifiable FMCT. This could include consideration of options for verifying prohibitions under an FMCT, as well as the policy issues surrounding stockpiles of fissile material already accumulated by those states possessing nuclear weapons.
  • Our two governments also pledge to cooperate to propose concrete and practical steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. These proposed steps could extend to deepening discussion about such ideas as making negative security assurances more effective and establishing conditions under which a universal policy that deterring nuclear attack is the “sole purpose” of nuclear weapons could safely be adopted.
  • We take this opportunity to express our grave concern over the nuclear activities by North Korea. We are exceedingly alarmed by the report of North Korea’s construction of a light water reactor and of the existence of a uranium enrichment facility. We strongly urge North Korea to fulfil its commitments including the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and its obligations stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions. We will further continue our policy coordination on this issue.
  • Finally, we once again reiterate our firm resolution to co-operate and collaborate in all our undertakings in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, making the most of the growing momentum to encourage members of the international community to move towards a world without nuclear weapons.

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