Signatory countries to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty must ratify it in order to put pressure on India and North Korea to follow suit, said the chief of a preparatory commission for the treaty organization.
“If the world community will be nearly unanimous in ratifying this treaty, I have no doubt that North Korea (and India) will come along and sign and ratify this treaty,” said Wolfgang Hoffmann, executive secretary of the CTBT organization’s preparatory commission. The treaty, which was endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly last September, will not go into force unless 44 designated countries that either possess or have the potential to possess nuclear weapons — including India and North Korea — ratify it.
Pakistan, another of the 44 designated nations, also has not signed but has said it will — after its archrival India does. So far, 144 states have signed the treaty, and four — Fiji, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Japan — have ratified it, according to Hoffmann, who was in Japan for a disarmament conference last week in Sapporo.
Japan is the only one of the four that is also among the designated nations. Ratification takes time, he said, adding that next year, many of the 44 countries will complete the process.
India has claimed the treaty is unequal because it does not mandate total nuclear disarmament and allows major powers to improve their atomic arsenals through laboratory tests. Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda visited Pakistan and India last week to encourage their governments to sign the treaty, but both refused. Hoffmann said Japan’s role is well appreciated, but asserts that weapons improvement will be hindered by the treaty and lab tests will not be sufficient to develop new arms. Under the terms of the treaty, any nation that signs must forswear conducting nuclear test blasts anywhere — on land, sea, underground or in space.
Earlier this month, the United States conducted a subcritical test of nuclear-weapons grade plutonium, defying opponents who claimed the test violates the treaty. “Legally speaking, Americans have the right to do such tests,” Hoffman said, adding that such tests are not sufficient to develop new weapons.