Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Conference on Nuclear Disarmament

  • Speech, check against delivery
20 September 2017

Excellencies and distinguished delegates.

I thank the co-Presidents, Japan and Kazakhstan, for their role in this important conference. My thanks also to Belgium and Iraq for taking on the mantle of co-Presidents.

Australia strongly supports the important declaration adopted today by this conference. We remain committed to doing our utmost towards the entry into force of this landmark treaty.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty enjoys overwhelming international support. It has been signed by 183 states and ratified by 166 states.

We welcome ratifications by Myanmar and Swaziland since the last Article XIV conference.

We call upon all states which have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty, especially the eight remaining states whose ratification is required for entry into force.

The CTBT enjoys considerable normative weight despite the fact it is not yet in force.

This century has seen all states but one observe a moratorium on nuclear testing.

This is clear evidence of the Treaty's value.

This value comes from agreement among Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty parties, the NPT, that the CTBT is an effective non-proliferation and disarmament measure. NPT parties agree on the vital importance of the Treaty's entry into force.

The Treaty's influence rests also on the proven effectiveness of the Treaty's verification mechanism.

Information about North Korea's testing activities is being gathered by the CTBT's International Monitoring System.

The IMS confirms that North Korea is the only state that is testing nuclear weapons.

The IMS is provisionally operational, with 90 per cent of its stations already functioning.

It also provides civil and scientific benefits, with data on earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear accidents.

Australia hosts the third-largest number of IMS stations - with 21 facilities in total.

North Korea's nuclear tests, its numerous ballistic missile tests and other activities in violation of UNSC resolutions, have caused grave instability on the Korean Peninsula and present a global security risk.

North Korea's long-term interests are best served by ceasing its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, complying with its international obligations, engaging constructively with the international community and directing its resources and efforts to the well-being of its long suffering people.

Australia welcomes the UN Security Council's unanimous condemnation of North Korea's provocative actions. We call on all states to fully implement the latest UN sanctions - full political, diplomatic and economic pressure must be applied to compel North Korea to change course.

Its actions, against the tide of history, highlight the importance of achieving the CTBT's entry into force and universal application.

As Co-Chair with Japan of the Friends of the CTBT, Australia works tirelessly towards this goal.

The 2016 Joint Ministerial Statement demonstrated that the international community remains resolutely opposed to nuclear testing.

Australia also remains committed to the important goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

The way forward was agreed in the consensus 2010 NPT Action Plan.

Implementing that plan needs commitment and hard work, including:

  • bringing the CTBT into force;
  • progress towards a treaty to end the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons;
  • more transparency about nuclear arsenals; and
  • solving complex problems concerning how to verify steps toward nuclear disarmament.

In these and other areas, Australia will continue its efforts.

We are active and constructive in promoting the practical, effective steps needed for progress on nuclear disarmament.

Foremost among these is this Treaty's entry into force.

We look forward to continuing to work to this end with all countries represented here today.

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