THE Philippines has called on UN member-states that possess nuclear weapons to join 121 nations in supporting an agreement that prohibits the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Its Foreign Affairs secretary, Alan Peter Cayateno, issued the call after recently signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a legally binding agreement which was adopted by 121 member-states in July.
“We call on member-states that possess the world’s largest nuclear arsenals to sign on to the treaty,” Cayetano said in a statement after signing the instrument at the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The Philippines, according to him, is ready to contribute to the effort to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction.
“Our signing of the treaty today affirms our unequivocal commitment to put nuclear weapons firmly on the path of extinction, a cause of the highest priority embodied in our country’s Constitution,” he said.
The Philippines was among 121 UN member-states that adopted the treaty, the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the goal of total elimination of such weapons.
The treaty will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have signed, ratified and accepted it.
The signing started on September 20.
The United States, the United Kingdom and France had refused to take part in the negotiation of the treaty and said they have no intention to sign it.
“We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it. Therefore, there will be no change in the legal obligations on our countries with respect to nuclear weapons,” the three countries said in a joint statement.
Under the agreement, each state party under any circumstances should not develop, test, produce, transfer, receive and stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
States that already have nuclear weapons are required to cooperate with competent international authorities for the irreversible elimination of their nuclear-weapons program.
“This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment,” said the US, the UK and France in their joint statement.
According to them, the treaty will be creating even more divisions “at a time when the world needs to remain united in the face of growing threats, including those from the DPRK’s [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea] ongoing proliferation efforts.”
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Bayani Mercado of the Office of UN and Other International Organizations said the adoption of the treaty not only recognized the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons on humanity and the environment but also reaffirmed the universal aspiration of a world free from such weapons.
The Philippines has been consistent in its nuclear disarmament advocacy.
It contributed to the effort when it presided over the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.