CTBTO Executive Secretary visits Republic of Korea and Indonesia

CTBTO Executive Secretary visits Republic of Korea and Indonesia

Executive Secretary meets high-ranking officials, opens On-Site Inspection workshop in Republic of Korea

The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Tóth, travelled to the Republic of Korea from 7 to 9 November 2008 for consultations with Vice-Minister of Education, Science and Technology, H.E. Park Jong-koo, and Deputy Minister for Multilateral, Global and Legal Affairs, H.E. Oh Joon. The prospects for a renewed momentum towards entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in light of the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections were discussed and both interlocutors expressed the Republic of Korea’s continuing support for the Treaty.

Tóth also opened an introductory workshop on On-Site Inspections (OSI) in the city of Daejon, which was mainly attended by representatives from countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Republic of Korea signed the CTBT on 24 September 1996 - the day it opened for signature - and ratified exactly three years later. It hosts primary seismic station PS31, which has been certified and is sending data to the CTBTO’s International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna. Station PS31 played an important role in October 2006 when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced that it had conducted a nuclear test.

Indonesia hosts workshop on security and scientific benefits of CTBT

Tóth then travelled to Indonesia to participate in a workshop hosted by the Indonesian government on 10 November 2008. The workshop was entitled: "Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Towards Indonesia's Ratification". It was opened by Ambassador Imron Cotan, Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, who explained the motivation of the Indonesian Government: “We have organized the workshop in response to the great need to enhance public awareness and understanding of the CTBT. Indonesian society should have a proper appreciation of the importance of this international Treaty and its relevance to our national interest."

"The CTBT (...) will be an important factor for the long-term
survival of humankind: it will greatly help keep us safe from
the ultimate tragedy of nuclear holocaust. That makes it worth
all our best efforts to understand it and make it part of our
national agenda."Ambassador Imron Cotan, Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia

The workshop’s focus was twofold: it highlighted the political significance of the CTBT for international security as well as the scientific and technical benefits of Treaty membership, in particular for tsunami warning purposes. It was the second CTBT workshop hosted by Indonesia. The first earlier workshop took place in 2005.

On the political side, representatives from Australia and Vietnam recounted their national experiences of ratifying the CTBT, while a representative from Thailand briefed participants on the progress on ratification by his country.

Tóth addressed the workshop, underlining the importance of Indonesia’s support for the Treaty.

Tsunami Arrangement signed with Indonesia

On the same day as the workshop, a Tsunami Warning Arrangement was signed between Indonesia and the CTBTO, which will help Indonesian authorities to issue tsunami warnings earlier than before. The Arrangement was signed by Tóth and the President of the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia (BMG), Sri Woro B. Harijono, see CTBTO press release.

Tóth underlined that facilities making up the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s (CTBT) International Monitoring System (IMS) send “the speediest, most reliable and highest quality data” especially compared to information transmitted by other organizations, stating that “within 30 seconds, around 90 percent of the information reaches the tsunami warning centre in Jakarta.”

“The [CTBTO’s] International Monitoring System sends the
speediest, most reliable and highest quality data (…) within
30 seconds, around 90 percent of the information reaches
the tsunami warning centre.”
CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth

Inauguration of Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System

Tóth also attended a ceremony marking the establishment of the Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System (Ina TEWS) in Jakarta on 11 November 2008, at which the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, was also present, see BMG press release. Ina TEWS is one of the tsunami warning organizations in the region that receives measuring data from the CTBTO’s IMS. Ambassador Cotan explained that the "effectiveness of that system in detecting earthquakes and providing early warning on tsunamis has been ensured through the scientific and civil capabilities contributed by the CTBTO (...) That is only one way nations can benefit from the implementation of the CTBT."

Together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the CTBTO has been providing real-time and continuous data on a test basis to four tsunami warning centres since March 2005, increasing their ability to identify earthquakes that could produce tsunamis and enabling them to provide faster warnings. Bilateral arrangements have also been formalized with Japan, Australia, the Philippines and the United States.

Indonesia’s strong support for the CTBT
Indonesia hosts six monitoring stations of the CTBTO’s IMS. All six are auxiliary seismic stations such as station AS43 in Parapat in Northern Indonesia. Four of these stations have already been established and certified, with the remaining two under construction. Indonesia has also shown strong support for the CTBT byfor example, attending previous Article XIV-Conferences aimed at facilitating the Treaty’s entry into force and by fully meeting its financial obligations to the CTBTO.

Indonesia has announced that it is undertaking “serious preparations for ratification of the CTBT." As one of the nine remaining Annex 2 States whose ratification is precondition for the Treaty to enter into force, Indonesia’s ratification could instill new momentum into the process of the CTBT’s entry into force.

The other countries that have yet to ratify are China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

The president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama, has repeatedly stated his support for ratification of the Treaty by the United States.

"Just as I will work with the US Senate to secure ratification
of the CTBT at the earliest practical date, I will prioritise
diplomatic efforts with India and Pakistan to encourage them
to move beyond their moratorium on nuclear testing toward
the ratification of the treaty."Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States