Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Photo: VOV)
Seventy five years ago, the world saw the end of the Second World War, but not before witnessing the devastations caused by atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In efforts to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and the threat to the survival of mankind, to foster friendly relations and peaceful coexistence between all states, and to save the finite resources for social and economic development, the First Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Disarmament placed the highest priority on nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war.
Since then, the world has made significant strides. A system of multilateral and bilateral frameworks for nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control, has been built. The global nuclear stockpiles have been reduced by three quarters since the peak of the Cold War. A moratorium on nuclear tests have been implemented by most nuclear weapons states. 5 nuclear weapon-free zones covering over 100 states have been created, including the South East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone established by ASEAN in 1995.
Yet, the prospect of total elimination of nuclear weapons remains elusive. The current nuclear stockpile possesses enough power to end the world today, while the risks of spreading nuclear weapons to irresponsible non-state actors remain. Growing tensions among nuclear weapons states is putting the global machinery under extreme pressure.
Viet Nam supports all efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and has become member to all international treaties to this endeavour, including the NPT, the CTBT and most recently, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We call upon the nuclear weapons states to step up in their commitment to the obligation to general disarmament under Article VI of the NPT. Trust in the multilateral disarmament architecture must be re-established. Regional architectures need to play a more expansive role in establishing and implementing nuclear weapon-free zones in all areas.
As the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Viet Nam remains committed to preserving the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, and will continue to engage with all parties to intensify efforts to resolve outstanding issues in the implementation of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. Meanwhile, the rights of states to use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must be respected.
On this International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we must all reaffirm the legal and moral duty to achieve the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. Let us unite in realising this promise for a future of peace, security and prosperity.
I thank you.