Republic of Korea hosts Regional Workshop on CTBTO International Cooperation

A three-day regional workshop on Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) International Cooperation was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 18-20 October 2005. The workshop took place at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Korea and was organized by the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO with the support of the Korea National Data Centre at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources. Thirty-six participants from nineteen States of the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East Region as well as a representative of the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs attended the workshop. The objective of the workshop was to provide an overview of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the work of the Preparatory Commission and the CTBT verification technologies; to promote the establishment of the CTBT verification regime in the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East Region and the entry into force of the CTBT; to review possible benefits of civil and scientific application of the CTBT verification technologies; and to explore and identify ways to promote cooperation among States in the region. In his welcoming address, H.E. Mr. Yung-woo Chun, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, referred to the significant progress made regarding the ratification of the CTBT. Pointing out that only half of the States of the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East Region had ratified the Treaty so far, he stressed that entry into force of the CTBT would be of significance to re-inspire confidence in global efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Participants at the regional workshop in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Ms. Hannelore Hoppe, Director of the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, observed that despite the continuing strong support of the international community for the CTBT, the challenges that confront the Treaty's entry into force still persist. She expressed her hope that the countries of the SEAPFE region underscore their commitment to the promotion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by signing and ratifying promptly the CTBT. The Director of the Legal and External Relations Division of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Mr. Ziping Gu, also addressed the workshop and called on those States which had not yet signed or ratified the Treaty to do so. He expressed his hope that participants would explore opportunities to strengthen the cooperation with the PTS and among Signatory States. Workshop participants from the region presented accounts of their activities in the field of national implementation of the Treaty, their regional and international technical cooperation with regard to the installation of International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities, and their technical assistance needs and offers. Special attention was given to civil and scientific applications of CTBT verification technologies, in particular the potential use of IMS data for disaster alert purposes. Participants further made proposals for enhanced cooperation in the region and between the Commission and States in the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East Region.