THE HONOURABLE DATO' SERI HISHAMMUDDIN TUN HUSSEIN
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING TO COMMEMORATE AND PROMOTE THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE TOTAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
NEW YORK, 2 OCTOBER 2020
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, Malaysia expresses its appreciation to you, Mr. President, for convening this High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Malaysia associates itself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement.
2. The General Assembly has been commemorating this day since 2013, and although the COVID-19 pandemic does not permit us to convene in-person, Malaysia welcomes the observance of this day to highlight the continued dangers of the existence of nuclear weapons, and to encourage and maintain the resolve of the international community towards attaining the longstanding goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
3. We convene this year on the 75th Anniversary of the General Assembly, in a situation unprecedented in the recent history of humankind. The effects of COVID-19 have revealed the fragility of humanity, and although this devastating pandemic remains the world’s biggest current challenge, global geo-strategic and security challenges and the continued existence and threat of use of nuclear weapons hangs over us all.
4. This year further marks 75 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and 50 years since the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Recognising the need to avoid the potential for death and destruction posed by nuclear weapons, the first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, on 24 January 1946, called for a nuclear weapons-free world. Moreover, under article VI of the NPT, the nuclear-weapons states are legally-obliged to pursue good faith negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.
5. These have yet to happen. For countries in possession of nuclear weapons, they continue to uphold the potential utility of such weapons. The modernisation of nuclear arsenals, doctrines that permit the use of tactical nuclear weapons, and the development of delivery systems such as cruise and ballistic missiles and hypersonic glide weapons, increases tension, instability, and the risk of use – whether intentional or not.
6. At the same time, the global disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control architecture is undermined with arms control agreements being discarded or allowed to lapse.
7. For Malaysia, we are concerned at these developments. Security for all can only be guaranteed by the total elimination of nuclear weapons. International law and multilateral approaches to disarmament need to be strengthened. In this respect, I am pleased to announce that Malaysia has recently deposited its instrument of ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). We are convinced that the entry into force of the Treaty strengthens the global norms against nuclear weapons, sends a clear message that nuclear weapons are categorically unacceptable and complements the existing international legal instruments relating to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
8. The NPT remains the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. The NPT and the TPNW can coexist, and the latter gives pathways for nuclear possessing states to become party. Malaysia reaffirms its commitment to the NPT, and as Chair of Main Committee I on Nuclear Disarmament for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, Malaysia hopes that the Review Conference, and its earliest convening at a date to be agreed upon, will be successful in bringing States Parties together towards achieving the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
9. Despite the challenging security environment we face today, and the current greatest challenge of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remain persistent in pursuing nuclear disarmament. The status quo of a world with nuclear weapons is unacceptable and unsustainable. The commemoration of this Day reminds us of that. The responsibility is on all to realise the objective of a nuclear weapon-free world. The responsibility is on all to make it happen.