'The right thing to do': PH, 121 other countries vote to ban nuclear weapons

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2017 02:52 PM

MANILA- The Philippines joined 121 other United Nations member-countries in a vote to adopt a legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

Friday's vote is viewed as a crucial step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

"We voted for its adoption because it is the right thing to do,” Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a statement.

“This treaty is the capstone of the global disarmament architecture. It strengthens the existing network of treaties and agreements already in place by reaffirming their collectively compelling logic of survival," he said.

The UN said the treaty – adopted by a vote of 122 in favor to one against (Netherlands), with one abstention (Singapore) – "prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons."

“The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons,” the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres said following its adoption.

"We feel emotional because we are responding to the hopes and dreams of the present and future generations,” said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, president of the conference that negotiated the treaty upon the mandate of the UN General Assembly.

Countries that own nuclear weapons such as military giants United States and Russia, and reclusive North Korea did not join the talks.

Several countries have expressed concern over the threat of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in recent years.

The DFA said the Philippine delegation participated in the talks guided by a provision of the Philippine Constitution prohibiting nuclear weapons in Philippine territory.

It also cited the Philippines' obligations under the Bangkok Treaty establishing a Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

In a joint press statement issued Friday, the delegations of the US, the United Kingdom and France said they “have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty… and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”

“This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment,” they said. “Accession to the ban treaty is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

The treaty will be open for signature on Sept. 19, 2017 and will enter into force 90 days after it is ratified by 50 countries.