Seminar tackles nonproliferation

Kyodo

A seminar organized by Japan on nonproliferation and disarmament on Tuesday addressed U.N. sanctions against North Korea and Iran, with participants agreeing on the importance of all U.N. members working together toward implementing them, the Japanese envoy to the United Nations said.

After the mostly closed-door seminar jointly sponsored by Poland and Turkey, Tsuneo Nishida told reporters, “The situation regarding nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran is worsening” despite the steps aimed at dissuading the two countries from nuclear quests.

During the seminar at the Japan Society, about 150 participants, including U.N. diplomats, nuclear experts and other academics, from 62 countries were briefed about the evasion of sanctions by North Korea and Iran, according to Nishida.

Speaking about the past Security Council sanctions resolutions imposed against Pyongyang, Portuguese Ambassador to the U.N. Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, who chairs the U.N. Sanctions Committee, mentioned “obvious shortcomings” in the implementation of the resolutions but did not elaborate in his brief opening remarks to the audience.

Despite some “positive developments,” Cabral said, the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as conventional weapons posed a “very serious threat to international peace and security.”

Nishida also echoed those sentiments by calling the proliferation of such weapons “one of the most serious issues the international community is facing,” while also stating that the issue of promoting sanctions regimes on countries, such as North Korea and Iran, for their continued nuclear activities, is “very much the urgent task of disarmament.”

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who also spoke briefly at the event, reiterated his commitment to making sure that the international community stays “fixed on our ultimate objective — general and complete disarmament, with nuclear disarmament as our most urgent priority.”