Please allow me to extend my warmest congratulations to you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Accomplishing the tasks before us will be crucial to the success of the Review Conference, and I wish to assure you of my delegation's full support and cooperation as you lead our work toward that end.
In view of the limited time that has been set aside for general statements, I would like to focus my comments today on the following points:
1) The significance of the Review Conference. in the year 2000; 2) What the Review Conference 2000 should produce in terms of its final documents; and 3) What this session of the PrepCom should be expected to achieve.
I would like to begin by sharing with you my government's thoughts on the particular significance of the Review Conference 2000. 1 say "particular" because it will face two serious challenges-one from within the NPT regime and the other from outside.
The Conference in 2000 will be the first Review Conference since agreement was reached on the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995.- At the time that agreement was reached, it was also decided to introduce a strengthened review process. The 2000 Conference will thus provide the first opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of that process in improving the implementation of the treaty. The results of that evaluation, and the Conference's response to it, will to a great degree determine the credibility and effectiveness of the NPT as a mechanism for achieving nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
The Conference will also be expected to respond to the challenge posed by the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan last year. Although adhered to by 187 countries, the NPT regime has never been able to claim total universality; the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan demonstrated its incompleteness in the starkest possible manner. It will be incumbent upon the 2000 Review Conference to address that challenge unequivocally. Unless it does so, the cohesion among the States Parties could be seriously weakened and the viability of the regime threatened.
The Review Conference 2000 will thus to a great extent determine the future of the NPT. We must therefore respond to the challenges before us with a sense of urgency and do all we can to ensure the success of the Conference.
This leads me to my second point, namely, what documents should we expect the Conference to produce?
The derision on "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty" states in paragraph 7 that "Review Conferences should look forward as well as back." I am pleased to note that a consensus seems to be emerging on producing two documents at the 2000 Conference that reflect these tasks. That is, a forward-looking document containing new principles and objectives, and a document reviewing the implementation of the NPT during the last five years.
As for the document containing new principles and objectives, at the First PrepCom, Japan submitted a working paper in which it stated its position that "a revision of the document on 'Principles and Objectives' would not be desirable, since it was the product of arduous negotiations pursued at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and it stands on its own. Rather, it is important to strive to agree on a new set of objectives."
Thus it is Japan's view that in the document on new principles and objectives the Conference should present fi7esh goals to be achieved in the subsequent five or more years. Some of the points that should be included are outlined in the working papers Japan submitted at the First and Second PrepComs, as well as in the resolution on nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons which it introduced to the General Assembly last year. I would like to come back to these points at a later stage.
Turning now to the review, I am obliged to note that the results of reviews conducted by previous Conferences have not been encouraging, due to the fact that a convergence of views on the evaluation of the NPT's implementation could not be achieved. In 1995, however, the review process was equipped with new tools--the yardsticks contained in the Principles and Objectives_ for measuring progress in the implementation of the Treaty. As a result it is expected that our work in 2000 will be conducted more smoothly and objectively than has been the case in past reviews. It would be preferable if the review document were adopted by consensus. However, if that proves impossible, I would like to suggest that, by way of compromise, the document also present existing divergent views. On the other hand, it is essential that the document on new Principles and Objectives be adopted by consensus.
The introduction in 1995 of a strengthened review process using the Principles and Objectives as yardsticks was truly a significant milestone. Although it was widely accepted at the First PrepCom that this new review process was qualitatively different from the previous one, the results of our efforts in the First and Second PrepComs did not meet our expectations. My delegation considers that we must bridge the differences of views on or interpretations of the strengthened review process, as expressed during the last two PrepCom meetings. Only then can we effectively promote the full implementation of the Treaty, that is, both nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. Hence it will be necessary at the 2000 Conference to produce a document on the review process that should be followed in the future. Let me, in this regard, draw the attention of the floor to paragraph 7 of the decision on strengthening the review process, which states that it is the task of the Review Conference "to address specifically what might be done to strengthen the implementation of the treaty."
In the view of my delegation, it is necessary that the 2000 Conference produce these three documents, that is, a new set of Principles and Objectives, a review of the implementation of the treaty over the past five years, and an agreement on the future review process. If other delegations consider that additional documents are necessary, my delegation is ready to study that possibility.
Let me now comment specifically on this PrepCom. During the first and second sessions of the PrepCom, we endeavored to produce agreed documents on substantive issues for submission to the 2000 Review Conference. My delegation has two observations to make in this regard. First, the results that we achieved were not commensurate with the time and energy we devoted to that endeavor. I think it must be acknowledged that as long as we try to come up with consensus language at the PrepComs, we will almost inevitably end up reproducing more or less the same language as in previous texts. Second, even if we succeed in achieving consensus language in this PrepCom, it may be necessary at the Review Conference to review it to ensure that it reflects any developments that may have taken place in the international situation in the meantime. Furthermore, a number of delegations, including my own, may wish to reconsider it from a broader political perspective. We therefore question the advisability of spending most of our time in this Committee trying to achieve a consensus text on substantive issues to be submitted to the Review Conference as recommendations. Other delegations might prefer to follow up the work done in the previous two PrepComs. In any event, Mr. Chairman, my delegation is prepared to respect your judgment as to how our recommendations will be prepared
As regards the proposals submitted by States Parties, the Second PrepCom rearranged all proposals under headings in paragraph 2 of the document NPT/CONF.2000/PC.w35. While it might be useful to further consolidate them by deleting any redundancies among them, in view of the limited time available to us, it may not be possible to do so in addition to preparing recommendations. Thus I would like to suggest that that compilation, together with the proposals made at this PrepCom, be sent to the Conference as a reference paper.
At the Second PrepCom, the delegation of Canada proposed that the PrepComs also be able to address urgent issues of high priority. My delegation supported that proposal, whose validity, I might add, was underscored by last year's nuclear tests.
Although many countries have had the opportunity to express their views in various international fora on the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan, this PrepCom provides the first opportunity for the community of States Parties to the NPT to address the issue. My delegation believes we must not remain silent on this issue; to do so would send the wrong signal to the international community in general and to India and Pakistan in particular.
Rather, it is important that we send a concise message in response to the challenges presented by the nuclear tests. In our view, the relevant points to be included in that message are contained in Security Council resolution 1172.
In addition to the nuclear tests that were conducted in South Asia, other issues which this PrepCom might address include:
Two weeks are a very short time for our deliberations. Still, I sincerely hope that under your able guidance, and with the flexible cooperation of each delegation, this PrepCom will successfully accomplish its tasks. We should all be determined to avoid a repetition of last year's experience and strive to complete preparations for the 2000 Review Conference.
Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.