Conference on Disarmament
Statement by Australia
25 June 2019
Thank you Mr President
Australia supports you and your team, as you preside over the Conference on Disarmament. We will work closely with you under your stewardship to progress our work.
We commend your initiative to invite His Excellency Dato Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN Secretary-General to address the CD.
Your Excellency, as ASEAN’s first dialogue partner Australia has a deep, enduring partnership with ASEAN founded on shared interests. Australia strongly supports ASEAN centrality and values ASEAN’s cooperation in pursuit of a secure, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. We are delighted to welcome you here to the CD.
We also thank Mr Michael Møller, for his dedicated service as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and as Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva. We welcome in particular the initiatives you took in organising civil society forums on emerging issues, and also the regular briefings you organised with senior visitors. This helps break down silos across works streams, as called for in the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda and this is helpful. We wish you all the best for the future.
In an increasingly complex geostrategic environment, it is important to bring perspectives from our region to this body.
Australia works closely with ASEAN in regional and international forums to support and protect a rules-based order, including through the East Asia Summit.
Australia was proud to host ASEAN leaders in Sydney last year for an historic ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which advanced shared interests, with several new initiatives including strengthening regional cooperation on cyber, and on women, peace and security.
The ASEAN 2025 Vision commits to realising a rules-based community as well as principles of international law governing the peaceful conduct of relations among states.
Indeed, ASEAN’s success has helped support regional security and prosperity for more than 50 years.
Australia believes there is significant value in connecting regional and global efforts on international security, non-proliferation and disarmament.
Regional efforts, such as the productive work of the East Asia Summit on non-proliferation, nuclear security, and the transport of nuclear materials, reinforce work in multilateral fora like the CD and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Forums such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM Plus) and the ASEAN Regional Forum, are also doing useful work which deserve higher profile in the CD.
Issues on the CD’s agenda are directly relevant to ASEAN’s work to maintain peace and stability in South-East Asia. How to navigate a practical, sustainable path forward on nuclear disarmament; how to cap the availability of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons; how to encourage responsible behaviour in outer space; and how to best provide assurances to non-nuclear weapons states.
As a consensus-based organisation, there are perhaps also lessons that the CD can learn from ASEAN about how to build consensus on difficult issues over time.
In 2020, the NPT will commemorate 50 years.
ASEAN’s support for the benefits of this landmark treaty are well known. We look forward to active engagement by ASEAN as we work to strengthen all elements of the NPT, including through the able steerage by ASEAN partner Malaysia which chaired the recent PrepCom and will chair Main Committee 1 at the RevCon.
We were delighted to welcome the current ASEAN Chair, Thailand, to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in 2018. We welcome also ASEAN’s leadership on Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and support P5 efforts to renew engagement with ASEAN on the Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty. As a State party to the Treaty of Rarotonga, which established the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in 1985, Australia is a strong supporter of nuclear-weapon-free zones, freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned.
Next year Australia will take its turn as one of the CD Presidents for 2020. We look forward to building on Vietnam’s work to bring our region’s perspectives more fully into the CD.