Friday, July 6, 2012

Southeast Asia to be declared nuclear weapon-free zone

Friday, 06 July 2012 13:29 Mizzima News

asean-logo-mayAfter 12 years of negotiations, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (P5) have agreed to sign the protocol to the treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) on Thursday in Cambodia, senior officials said on Thursday.

The P5 include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia. They will sign the protocol on July 12 during the foreign ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for Cambodia's ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, according to Xinhua news agency.

“As the chair of 2012 Asean, Cambodia is pleased to see all the five recognized nuclear-weapon states to sign the protocol,” he said.

The protocol requires the P5 not to contribute to any violation of the treaty and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons within the SEANWFZ. In addition, the P5 would commit to stopping nuclear weapon proliferation and testing in the Southeast Asia.

Asean leaders signed the SEANWFZ Treaty in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec. 15, 1995, and it took effect two years later. Negotiations between Asean and the five recognized nuclear-weapon states on the protocol have been held since May 2001.

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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