Statement to the June 8-9, 2009 meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission (PrepCom)
Ambassador Gregory L Schulte
U.S. Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna
My delegation is pleased to take the floor under yourleadership of the Preparatory Commission (PrepCom).President Obama in Prague committed to pursue U.S.ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-BanTreaty (CTBT). We assure you of our full cooperation andsupport as this body moves forward with renewed ambitionto prepare for effective implementation of the CTBT.
It has been six decades since the first nuclearexplosion took place. Over the past five decades,negotiations of one type or another have taken placeaimed at ending such explosions. Twelve years ago the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which bans theconduct of nuclear explosions in all environments, was opened for signature. The United States believes that the entry into force of the CTBT is a key element of the international nonproliferation and arms control regime.
At the 2009 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting, the United States, joined by China, France, Russia, and the UK, expressed agreement to promote the entry into force of the CTBT. The work of this Preparatory Commission is very important to that effort and what we do herereflects our common security interests, global priorities and the importance of bringing the CTBT into effect.
The CTBT creates a unique and highly capable regime forproviding its member states with information to help verify compliance. This starts with the International Monitoring System (IMS) – four global networks of sophisticated monitoring stations measuring the air, thewater, and the very rocks of the Earth for the signals generated by nuclear explosions. This data is collectedand analyzed by the International Data Centre (IDC). Both the IMS data and the results of IDC analyses are made available to member states to enable them to discern whether nuclear explosions have occurred. The verification regime set forth by the Treaty also includes an on-site inspection (OSI) element that would place a team of specialists at the site of a suspect event with a large array of sensitive and sophisticated techniques to determine whether a nuclear explosion has occurred. In addition, there will be a robust elementfor Consultation and Clarification, allowing for information exchanges. Such information exchanges may be used to resolve uncertainty regarding ambiguous events. Together, these verification mechanisms hold the promise for the effective verification and implementation of the CTBT.
Recent events have once again illustrated the true valueof the CTBT. In 2006, the IMS and IDC played crucial roles in providing information that aided PrepCommembers’ assessment of the nature of a North Koreannuclear test. Acting in defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea announced that it had conducted another nuclear test on May 25. On both occasions, the IMS demonstrated its effectiveness. More importantly, the United States believes the mutual sentiment of CTBT signatories against nuclear testing has helped galvanize world condemnation of North Korea’sclaimed nuclear tests. North Korea’s actions are amatter of grave concern to all nations and constitute a threat to international peace and security. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’sisolation.
In response to recent North Korean actions, the IMS and IDC are once again shouldering the responsibility ofproviding information to help us characterize what happened in North Korea. The ability of the IMS and IDCto carry out their work depends on the commitment of the PrepCom to provide the necessary resources. The United States remains committed to sustaining and improving the international monitoring system. We value the contributions the IMS and IDC make to the international community, and we look forward to learning the results of its analyses.
We have all heard the assertion that the work of this body needs to be constrained by the real prospects of entry into force of the CTBT. This qualifier is often attached to arguments for minimizing the budget,minimizing the number of meetings, and otherwise minimizing the scope of this organization’s work. This gives the impression that some PrepCom members are pessimistic about entry into force. The United States believes action here will affect our progress towards the goal of entry into force. Planning for entry into force as a distant prospect will diminish the momentum toward entry into force. We are committed to strengthening the international consensus against nuclear testing. We are optimistic of the prospects of achieving CTBT entry into force. Our president has stated his commitment to ratifying the treaty and we would urge other Annex II States that have not yet done so to join us in signing and/or ratifying the treaty.
After nearly a decade of absence from the OSI discussions, the United States has reengaged and our experts are actively supporting the critically important OSI work. We have continued to support the IMS and the PrepCom activities that reinforce the IMS. We have brought our experts, expertise, and energy to Working Group meetings and are committed to supporting the work of this group. The United States has taken on the costs of operating and maintaining IMS stations on its territory. We have continued to work very closely with the PTS staff to ensure that these stations are operated in accordance with the requirements set out in the operational manuals. We believe that this investment of time and funding has substantially improved the availability of data from those stations. The United States is prepared to work with all membersof the PrepCom to carry out the mandate of this organization. We join you in setting a clear path to completing all the necessary preparations to effectively implement the CTBT. Real progress will improve the prospects for entry into force of this important treaty.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.