United States, Russia, China, France, UK refusing to sign ASEAN Weapons Free Zone treaty
Nuclear states shun ASEAN treaty Supalak Ganjanakhundee, The Nation, Phnom Penh July 9, 2012 Powers won’t sign weapon-free accord this week Nuclear weapons states will not sign the protocol of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone treaty (SEANWFZ) at this week’s Asean meeting as many of them still have reservations, Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday.
Nuclear powers including the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom were supposed to sign the protocol when their representatives attended the Asean ministerial meeting in Cambodia this week. However, many of them voiced reservations to the group at
short notice over their rights and sovereignties in zones defined as ”nuclearweapons free”.
China, an immediate neighbour of Asean, voiced a specific concern that
the nuclearfree zone might affect its sovereignty over territory,
exclusive economic zone and continental shelves. Russia had
reservations on the right of foreign ships and aircraft to pass into
the nuclearfree zone, while France and the UK had reservations on the
definition of the zone itself.
Asean officials tried to make clarifications and adjustments to
accommodate all of the nuclear states, but many reservations affected
the main body of the treaty, which could not be modified.
To maintain the cooperation of the group and the nuclearweapons
holders, Asean would issue a joint statement to show its intent to
develop the protocol. It would have a separate memorandum of
understanding with China to clarify concerns over sovereignty,
Members of Asean signed the SEANWFZ in 1995 declaring not to develop,
manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear
weapons; station nuclear weapons; or test or use nuclear weapons
anywhere inside or outside the treaty zone. The treaty zone covers the
territories, continental shelves, and exclusive economic zones of the
state parties. Asean has negotiated with nuclear states for a long
time to have them sign the protocol of the treaty.
Besides the nuclear issue, the dispute in the South China Sea between
China and members of Asean was also a hot topic of discussion at the
Asean meeting, Surapong said…..
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