In 1996, during the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations, some states insisted on a complex formula for entry into force. Article XIV of the treaty requires that forty-four specific states with nuclear reactors on their soil, listed in Annex II of the treaty, must ratify to trigger full implementation.
In response, other states insisted on a provision that allows for a conference of state parties every two years to exhort holdout states to sign, ratify, and develop a diplomatic strategy to accelerate entry into force.
On September 29, the 9th Article XIV Conference on Facilitating Entry Into Force was held at the United Nations in New York. The UN Secretary General and representatives from key states parties met and spoke in support of the treaty and its entry into force. Eight states listed in Annex II must still ratify, or sign and ratify, for entry into force: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida began the conference with strong statements discussing their goals to take a more aggressive approach over the next two years of their co-presidencies in efforts to bring the CTBT into force. Idrissov warned delegates he would be aggressive or even “undiplomatic,” in his attempts to push for a legally binding nuclear test ban, noting that as states that have suffered from nuclear detonations, “Japan and Kazakhstan have the moral right to be aggressive.”
Today, August 29, is the UN’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests, a day meant to encourage governments, academic institutions, and the general public to advocate for the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests.
Ahead of this important remembrance day, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) hosted the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) in Hiroshima on August 24 and 25, where the members of GEM adopted the Hiroshima Declaration.
GEM members, a group of former and current high level government officials and internationally recognized experts and academics, were brought together by CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in 2013 to promote the CTBT’s entry into force. Members of GEM had previously met in Stockholm in April 2014, and in Seoul in June 2015.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) reported that the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) met in Seoul on June 25 and 26 to “rally support for the for the Treaty’s entry into force and to highlight the threat posed by nuclear weapons testing.”
The Group of Eminent Persons was established on September 26, 2013, and its members include current and former foreign ministers, prime ministers, defense ministers, and diplomatic leaders from all over the world. As previously reported by the Project for the CTBT, the GEM met in Stockholm on April 10-11, 2014.
The South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se opened the meeting by discussing how “it is crucial to prioritize the entry into force of the CTBT.” Byung-se also indicated that South Korea would host a “special high-level meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the CTBT in 2016,” to promote entry into force of the CTBT.
According to a June 3 joint statement by U.S. and Pakistan at the seventh round of the U.S.-Pakistan Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP) Working Group, Pakistan reaffirmed it’s support for Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) related resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly, and confirmed the stance that Pakistan will not be the first nation in the region to conduct a nuclear test.
To date, Pakistan has conducted two nuclear tests, on May 28 and May 30, 1998. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later affirmed that the tests had been carried out in reaction to India’s nuclear tests earlier that month.