by Mr. Hoang Chi Trung
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United Nations
at the 2007 Session of the UN Disarmament Commission
New York, 9 April 2007
On behalf of the delegation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, I wish to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your elections to the important posts of the Bureau of the 2007 Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC). My delegation is convinced that your diplomatic experience and skills will guide the Session towards a successful outcome.
First and foremost, my Delegation wishes to fully associate itself with the statement made by the Distinguished Representative of the Republic of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Vietnamese delegation wishes to underline the importance and the relevance of the UNDC as the sole specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allows for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to concrete recommendations. My delegation therefore fully supports the work of the UNDC and calls upon the Member States to display the necessary political will and flexibility in order to achieve agreement on recommendations based on its two agenda items during the current cycle.
On the first agenda item, my delegation shares the view that nuclear weapons today continue to pose as the most serious threat to international peace and security. In light of the serious danger of terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons material, the threat of nuclear weapons looms even larger for the whole humankind. Because of this, my delegation urges that the Commission work harder on this agenda item. For many years, Vietnam has consistently supported the objective of total elimination of the nuclear arsenal. In this connection, we once again underscore the importance of the 1996 Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice which clearly stated that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
It is universally recognized that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) constitutes the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We reaffirm the need for nuclear weapon States to fully comply with all their obligations and commitments under Article VI, including the 13 practical steps, to which they have agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference with a view to accomplishing the total elimination of nuclear weapons. In the context of the very limited progress achieved in the field of nuclear disarmament in recent years, it has become even more pertinent and justifiable to urge that the Nuclear Weapon States stop the improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and as interim measures, to de-alert and de-activate their nuclear weapons.
Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, efforts for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear weapons States should be pursued as a matter of priority. At the same time, my delegation wishes to emphasize that the respect for the legitimate right of all states parties to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination in conformity with Article IV of the Treaty and IAEA safeguards system is a fundamental pillar to consolidate and enhance the compliance and verification system for non-proliferation regime.
Based on our country's consistent policy of striving for peace, opposing the arms race and preventing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, on 15 November 2006, the Vietnamese President decided that Vietnam would sign the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This decision shows our commitments and tremendous efforts in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and thus making precious contributions to the consolidating of world peace and security.
My delegation supports the convening of the Fourth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-IV) and we are concerned over the lack of consensus on objectives and agenda of SSOD-IV. We are hopeful that reconvening the open-ended working group on SSOD-IV will enable us to agree on the objectives and agenda of SSOD-IV, the possibility of establishing its preparatory committee in particular.
One of the significant achievements the international community has recorded in the process of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament is the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. Attaching great importance to the CTBT, Vietnam has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty. It is very frustrating that the Treaty is still not in force after more than a decade of tremendous efforts made by many countries. We urge those nations that have not signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so rapidly so that the Treaty will enter into force as soon as possible.
On the second agenda item on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, we hope such measures will be further developed and serve as a way to strengthen international peace and security. At the same time, we believe that such measures cannot substitute disarmament measures. We stress the importance of the reduction of military expenditures, in accordance with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments. We also support unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures adopted with a view to reducing military spending, thereby contributing to the strengthening of regional and international peace and security.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, my delegation is looking forward to work actively with you and all other members of the Commission to bring the 2007 UNDC session to a satisfactory outcome.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.