I would like to begin by extending my warmest congratulations to you on your election as Chairman of the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2000 NPT Review Conference. I am confident that, under your able leadership, this session will bear fruitful results. To that end, I wish to assure you of my delegation's full support and cooperation.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) remains the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, vital to the maintenance of international peace and security. The Republic of Korea has consistently supported the cause of the NPT and remains firmly committed to its fall and effective implementation.
In the post-cold war years, the NPT regime has undergone positive progress as well as unfortunate setbacks. While we welcome its indefinite extension followed by expanded adherence to the NPT, bringing it closer to universality, we are seriously concerned about the grave challenges posed by the recent developments, which undermined the integrity and credibility of the NPT regime.
Against this backdrop, my delegation regards the current session of the PREPCOM as particularly important, because this session offers virtually the last opportunity to lay down all the necessary preparatory groundwork, substantive as well as procedural, for the 2000 Review Conference. Despite the divergence of views transpired so far, we feel strongly that there is indeed an urgent need to reach consensus on all remaining issues during this session. My delegation appeals to all delegations to display political will, flexibility and the spirit of compromise so as to enable this PREPCOM to complete its preparatory work time.
My delegation believes that the 2000 Review Conference should be an occasion to renew our collective commitment to the NPT and to its full implementation. In accordance with the 1995 Decision on "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty," it should evaluate the past results and identify areas where further progress could be made in the future, particularly to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty and to achieve its universality Accordingly, we share the view that the final product of the 2000 Review Conference should reflect both the assessment of the past and forward-looking elements. We also believe that a new set of "Principles and Objectives" relevant to changed circumstances and the updated expectations of the 2000 Review Conference should be incorporated as key elements of the final document.
At the same time, the qualitatively different mandate under the strengthened review process should enable the PREPCOM to pronounce itself on timely, high priority issues pertaining to the implementation of the Treaty. We, therefore, welcome balanced, focused and substantive discussions on these key issues so that their outcome may be reflected in the report of the PREPCOM or in its separate statements.
Let me now turn to some substantive priority issues to which my delegation attaches particular importance.
First and foremost, it has become imperative that proliferation of nuclear weapons be prevented through more determined efforts by the international community on the basis of renewed collective political will to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.
In our view, the urgent task of overriding importance today is how to address effectively such grave challenges posed by the series of nuclear tests in South Asia, as well as by the continuing non-compliance of some State parties to the NPT, such as the DPRK. If left unchecked, these challenges will definitely undermine the vitality and credibility of the NPT regime.
We earnestly hope that the States concerned will fully implement the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution 1172. We also hope that the DPRK, as a party to the NPT, will faithfully honor its obligations under the NPT by cooperating fully with the IAEA, thus coming into full compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement.
Furthermore, we wish to underline the special responsibilities and obligations of the five nuclear-weapon States, all permanent members of the Security Council, under Article I of the NPT. They have undertaken a legal obligation and thereby moral and political responsibilities "not in any way to assist encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons."
Any laxity in dealing with serious challenges to the integrity and credibility of the NPT regime, particularly on the part of the nuclear-weapon states, might send wrong signals to the potential nuclear aspirants, thereby encouraging or inducing them to follow the wrong path against the NPT regime.
Furthermore, we are concerned about the recent trend towards the erosion of the authority and credibility of the Security Council in its role to preserve the integrity of the global non-proliferation regime.
We believe that this PREPCOM and the 2000 Review Conference should also address this issue properly by seeking the ways and means to keep an effective enforcement mechanism in place and further strengthened in order to assure and promote the full implementation of the provisions of the Treaty.
Nuclear disarmament is one of the three pillars that constitutes triangular bargaining on the basis of which the provisions of the NPT are to be negotiated. The efforts to vigorously pursue progress in the field of nuclear disarmament are, therefore, no less important than those to promote nuclear non-proliferation or peaceful uses of nuclear energy. These three pillars of the NPT must remain mutually complimentary and reinforcing.
We note with appreciation the progress made so far for the reduction of nuclear weapons. We, however, believe that much more should be done by nuclear-weapon states. The nuclear-weapon states should demonstrate renewed determination in their pursuit of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons, as required by Article VI of the NPT as well as by the 1995 "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament'. In particular, we hope that the START process could be revitalized and its outcome fully implemented through the earliest possible entry into force of the START II and the conclusion of the START III negotiations.
In this connection, we of course recognize that the issue of nuclear disarmament is by definition linked closely to the international security environment and to the progress made in other areas of disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. We, therefore, believe that, given the current circumstances, a result-oriented, gradual and step-by-step approach would be more realistic than an over-ambitiously idealistic quantum leap approach such as a time-bound total elimination of nuclear weapons or a nuclear weapons convention. Nevertheless, we share the view that it is about time to explore multilateral discussion on the ways and means to facilitate nuclear disarmament in the context of the CD in tandem with bilateral negotiations.
The CTBT is expected to significantly contribute to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We all agree that it should come into force as soon as possible and be adhered to universally. In this regard, we would like to urge the three states on the list of the 44 Sates, which have not yet signed the treaty and whose ratification is required to ensure the entry into force of the treaty, to join the CTBT without further delay. Taking this opportunity, I am pleased to announce that the Republic of Korea, as an original signatory to the CTBT, will be able to deposit its instrument of ratification shortly, upon its approval by the National Assembly.
In the meantime, we consider it necessary for the forthcoming Article 14 Conference to devise a solution for facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT. We also believe that all states should be encouraged to contribute to the work of the CTBT Preparatory Commission, particularly to its efforts to establish the Treaty's verification regime to ensure the effectiveness of the CTBT.
It is truly disappointing that the CD has not been able to start yet its negotiation on the fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT). Given the far-reaching significance of the FMCT in terms of global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the negotiation for FMCT as called for 'in the 1995 decision of "Principles and Objectives", should commence at the earliest possible date and be concluded as soon as possible.
While pursuing a non-discriminatory, effectively verifiable and universally applicable FMCT, we deem it also necessary to enhance transparency on the existing stockpiles of fissile material. Moreover, we believe that, pending the completion of the FMCT negotiation, a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons should be put in place.
The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zone in the various regions has also significantly contributed to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. We consider it desirable that such a zone be further expanded to regions of tension, as appropriate, which will enhance the non-proliferation and disarmament cause and promote global and regional peace and security. In this regard we are pleased to note it as a welcome development that a guideline and principle document on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free-zones has been adopted by consensus at the
1999 UN Disarmament Commission session last month.
In this connection, we wish to reiterate that the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula of 1992 by the two Koreas should be fully implemented as soon as possible. We firmly believe that its early and full implementation will contribute to strengthening the global and regional nonproliferation regime and to establishing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of the crucial role of the IAEA and its safeguards system as a vital component to the NPT and global nonproliferation regime. We wish to reiterate our strong support for the strengthening of the effectiveness and efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system.
In this regard, we welcome the adoption of the Model Protocol enabling an increased capability to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities. We also wish to see that all states conclude and implement Additional Protocols with the IAEA. For our part, we are currently taking the steps required to sign the Protocol in the course of this year.
On the threshold of the twenty first century, the international community is now faced with more daunting challenges than ever. Among them, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament remain one of the most important and urgent priority agendas to be addressed by the international community. My Government joins all the other States parties in reaffirming its commitment to the N'PT regime and its willingness to continue to make contributions to this common endeavour into the next century.