Goff To Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Conference
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
12 November 2001 – 10:30am
Goff Statement To Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Conference
[Goff statement to the CONFERENCE ON FACILITATING THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY in New York. Delivered Sunday 11 November New York time]
At the end of World War Two three nuclear weapon states, the United Kingdom, the United States and France, decided to test their nuclear weapons far from their own countries in the Pacific, where we live.
The early tests of Maralinga and Montebello, the Marshall Islands and Christmas Islands were conducted in the atmosphere with little attention to their impact on the environment, the people displaced by them or indeed those who observed them.
Tests continued over a long period at Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls over the strong objections of the people of the Pacific.
New Zealand was at the forefront of those protests, taking cases to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and sending naval ships to the testing zones as a direct form of protest.
We worked with the region to put in place the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty which bans nuclear testing.
We created our own New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone and sustained it against enormous pressure to change from close allies. We condemned bitterly the bombing of the Greenpeace vessel, the Rainbow Warrior at Auckland in 1986, which was intended to stop it protesting nuclear testing.
The closure of the French nuclear testing sites at Mururoa and Fangataufa in 1995 was the welcome end to nuclear testing in the Pacific, we hope forever.
For us, the opening of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for signature in 1996 was a major advance, coming at the end of the Cold War.
Banning nuclear testing constrains the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons. It is an effective step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons altogether, as well as removing the threat testing poses to environmental integrity.
Along with our New Agenda partners, we were also delighted at the outcome of last year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. At that conference nuclear weapons states made an unequivocal undertaking to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
The Review Conference agreed 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament. These included the early entry into force of the CTBT.
It is now time for those states who have not signed and ratified that Treaty to do so.
It is essential that the Annex two states take this action so that the Treaty can come into force.
India, Pakistan and North Korea are yet to sign. Nuclear capabilities on the Indian subcontinent together with tensions in the region make it the most dangerous place in the world. It is in the interests of both states to sign the Treaty to reduce the risks.
Algeria, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, the USA and Viet Nam have signed but are yet to ratify. As permanent members of the Security Council pledged to making the world a safer place, China and the United States should demonstrate their leadership by moving to ratify the Treaty.
While we wait impatiently for this Treaty to come into force excellent work is meanwhile being done by the Treaty’s Provisional Technical Secretariat to set up the verification regime.
Work has started on over 260 stations as part of the International Monitoring system. A third of the stations are complete.
New Zealand has established six monitoring stations and has assisted in setting up several others in our Pacific neighbourhood.
National Data Centres have been established around the globe and the Provisional Technical Secretariat now has an International Data Centre in Vienna.
We are confident that when the Treaty enters into force, it will have a fully effective verification system able to detect nuclear explosive testing anywhere in the world.
Over the centuries, scientific and technical knowledge has advanced enormously and across the world we have developed civilisations to a level never previously seen.
People live longer, and better, are more sophisticated and the values of humanity are better protected.
Yet at the same time as a result of other scientific developments, we have for the first time in our history the physical capability to eliminate human existence.
As long as nuclear weapons persist, with a growing risk that they could ultimately fall into the hands of terrorists, we live with a sense of insecurity and under the shadow of nuclear devastation.
We cannot be complacent. This is not a game. The World Trade Centre was not a nightmare we can wake from. It happened and worse may be ahead of us.
This tragedy should spur all of us to unite with a determination to take decisive action to eliminate the risk of nuclear catastrophe. Ratifying and bringing into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an essential step towards achieving this.