Kuala Lumpur, Sept 29 — Notwithstanding some positive developments in recent years, Malaysia remains concerned over the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said despite the uncertain security environment and the various challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the world must remain persistent in the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
“The status quo of a world with nuclear weapons is simply unacceptable and unsustainable,” he said.
Saifuddin was speaking at the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, via a pre-recorded video, early on Wednesday.
He said it is hoped that the commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons will continue to generate global wave and public awareness of the urgency to materialize the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Saifuddin said during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in 1996, Malaysia had expressed concern that the indefinite extension would not serve as an incentive towards universality of the treaty, but would be a carte blanche to the nuclear-weapon States to retain nuclear weapons indefinitely.
“These concerns remain true until today. For countries in possession of nuclear weapons, they continue to uphold the potential utility of such weapons. In extension, nuclear umbrella states also continue to promote the existence of such weapons,” he said.
Saifuddin pointed out that attaining a nuclear-weapon-free world has been a longstanding desire of the international community since the inaugural of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.
He said this brought about the NPT which remains until today the cornerstone of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
“While we come closer to the 10th NPT Review Conference, the existential threat facing humanity posed by the existence and modernization of nuclear weapons remains,” he said.
Saifuddin said, even more, the nuclear disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation architecture are being strained and pulled apart.
As such, he said it is imperative and has become more critical than ever, that the world act on nuclear disarmament.
“The only and absolute guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination,” he said.
Saifuddin said Malaysia hopes that State Parties will reaffirm their obligations and past commitments towards the Treaty at the upcoming 10th NPT Review Conference, and progress effectively towards their implementation.
He stated that Malaysia also welcomes the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on Jan 22, 2021, which further strengthens the global norms that nuclear weapons are unacceptable.
“It should not be used; should not be threatened to be used, and should be discarded and destroyed as soon as possible. The outlawing of nuclear weapons contributes towards international peace and security,” he said.
Saifuddin said Malaysia further believes that the TPNW complements, and not undermines, other international legal instruments relating to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, particularly the NPT, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty, and the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.
Thus, he said Malaysia looks forward to continuing its constructive engagement in the lead-up to the First Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW in March 2022.