U.S.-China Joint Statement: “Both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT”1

U.S.-China Joint Statement: “Both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT”

Presidents Hu Jintao of China and Barack Obama of the United States at a working dinner at the White House on 18 January 2011.


On 19 January 2011, on the occasion of President Hu Jintao’s official visit to Washington DC, the People’s Republic of China and the United States issued a Joint Statement declaring that “both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)” and "agreed to work together to achieve this goal."
The previous U.S.-China Joint Statement of 17 November 2009, issued upon President Obama’s visit to China was also strongly supportive of the CTBT.
China and the United States are Annex 2 States, among the remaining nine, whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force. Both countries signed the CTBT on 24 September 1996, with the U.S .becoming the Treaty’s first signatory and China the second.

Read the full text of the Joint Statement here.

Indonesia reaffirms resolve to ratify the CTBT

Indonesia is one of the nine remaining Annex 2 States whose ratification is required for the CTBT to enter into force.

“For Indonesia, the waiting time is over and the time to act has arrived. It is no longer appropriate for Indonesia to merely wait,” said Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, referring to the CTBT on 1 December 2010 when he attended and addressed a meeting of Parliamentary Commission I. responsible for the CTBT. 
In his annual statement to the press on 7 January, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed: "In 2011, as a result of the shared commitment between the Government and Parliament, Indonesia, Insha-Allah, will complete the ratification process and will encourage various parties to do the same so that the CTBT treaty will soon enter into force." Indonesia is one of the remaining nine Annex 2 States, the ratification of which is a prerequisite for the Treaty to enter into force.

On 24 January, Muhamad Najib, member of the House of Representatives’ Commission I dealing with the CTBT, supported in an op-ed CTBT ratification by Indonesia.

Dec.1 - Dr. Natalegawa's statement as reported by the Indonesian state news agency Antara here.

Jan.7 - Annual press statement of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia here.

Jan.24 - More than just ratifying CTBT, by Muhamad Najib (Jakarta Post)

U.S. Senate ratifies New START

Presidents Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation and Barack Obama of the United States signing the "New START" on 8 April 2010.

On 22 December 2010, the United States Senate ratified the “New START” agreement on bilateral strategic arms reductions with Russia by 71 votes to 26.

 Welcoming this development, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Tibor Tóth, praised "the commitment, the tireless effort and the bipartisanship that has resulted in winning passage for the New START Treaty in the U.S. Senate."
Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Gary Samore, said in an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on 28 December that “it’s in the interest of the United States to ratify the CTBT.”

Read the full statement by Tibor Tóth on U.S. ratification of "New START" here.

18 Nov. - Obama pushes Senate to approve START treaty now, not later (LA Times)

2 Dec. - Why New START deserves GOP support, by Henry A. Kissinger, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Colin L. Powell (Washington Post)

6 Dec. - Ratify the New Start Treaty, by the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen (NYT)

20 Dec. - GOP Digs In on Arms Treaty (WSJ)

22 Dec. - Obama Gamble Pays Off With Approval of Arms Pact, by Peter Baker (NYT)

14 Jan. - Russian parliament approves New START on 2nd reading (RIA-Novosti)

Mikhail Gorbachev calls for U.S. Senate to take the lead on CTBT entry into force

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


“Should we, perhaps, be content with the virtual moratorium on nuclear testing?" Mikhail Gorbachev asks in his 29 December 2010 op-ed in The New York Times that garnered public attention. Responding to his own question, the former president of the Soviet Union stated: "No, because commitments that are not legally binding can easily be violated. This would render futile any attempts to influence the behavior of countries that have been causing so many headaches for the United States and other nations. The American senators should give this serious thought.” Gorbachev makes it clear that the obvious priority after "New START" ratification is to ratify the CTBT. He also predicts that "once the Senate agreed to ratification, most of the countries still waiting would follow."

On 3 January The New York Times editorial “strongly urged” President Obama to press Congress to ratify the CTBT.

The Senate’s Next Task: Ratifying the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, by Mikhail Gorbachev (New York Times)

Editorial: The Next Treaties (New York Times)

U.S. Defense Secretary Gates requests moratorium on nuclear tests by the DPRK

View of a North Korean border post from a South Korean border post on the Demilitarized Zone. Following the shelling of Yeonpyeong island, South Korea's military forces remained on the highest alert level throughout December.


On 11 January 2011, after meeting with President Hu Jintao of China, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that for the six-party talks to resume, the DPRK would first have to take some concrete measures, such as a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.
The statement came at the end of a period of hightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the shelling by North Korea of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on 23 November.

22 Nov. - Confirmed uranium enrichment marks new stage in N.Korea nuclear issue (Hankyoreh)

23 Nov. - North Korean artillery hits South Korean island‎ (BBC)

13 Dec. - S. Korea, U.S. discuss forming committee to deter N. Korea's nuclear threats (Yonhap)

29 Dec. - S Korean president: Six-party talks should advance next year (Xinhua News)

11 Jan. - Gates: N.Korea Should Declare Moratorium on Missile and Nuclear Tests (Arirang TV)

20 Jan. - S. Korea accepts N. Korea's military talks proposal (Yonhap)


Watch an “Inspection” Exercise in Jordan

Click to watch the video of the inspection exercise.


Watch an "inspection" of a simulated nuclear test site. A team of more than 35 international experts took part in the exercise, which was held by the Dead Sea in Jordan from 1 to 12 November 2010.

For more background, read here.

Middle East and South Asia Technical Workshop

Intense hands-on study – part of the CTBTO’s goal to achieve “universality of understanding” about its verification system, December 2010.


On 17 December 2010, 14 men and women from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Yemen, wrapped up a two-week long training workshop at the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna.
They were offered hands-on experience enabling them to have better access to and use of the huge amount of data the CTBTO collects and distributes from its global monitoring network to detect any evidence of nuclear explosions.
Almost every country on Earth has signed the CTBT, establishing its near universality.  The CTBTO, which is tasked with bringing the Treaty into force, is also building “universality of understanding” about how verification of the Treaty is undertaken, said Lassina Zerbo, Director of the CTBTO’s International Data Centre. This goal is also being achieved through training activities.  

Read more here.

UN General Assembly 65th plenary session adopts resolutions on CTBT

Comprising all 192 Members of the United Nations, the General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.


"The CTBT remains the rallying point for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth told the UN General Assembly in New York on 13 December 2010.  The Executive Secretary also said that the international community’s belief in “this unique political and scientific arrangement is overwhelming and what lies behind this political determination is a vision to bring an end to nuclear weapons.”

The 65th plenary of the General Assembly adopted Resolution 65/91 on the CTBT by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius and Syria.)  Resolution 65/127 on Cooperation between the UN and the CTBTO was adopted without a vote. Five other resolutions (65/56, 65/59, 65/61, 65/72, 65/76) expressly mention the importance of the CTBT and  its early entry into force.

Read highlight on the CTBTO’s public website here.

Read UN General Assembly Resolution 65/91 on the CTBT here.

Read the full statement by the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary to the General Assembly plenary here.

Watch segments of the statement by the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary here.

Read the full statement by the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary to the First Committee here.


France signs agreement with the CTBTO to receive tsunami warning data

Florence Mangin, the French Permanent Representative to the CTBTO and Tibor Tóth, CTBTO Executive Secretary signing the agreement.


France has become the eighth country to sign an agreement with the CTBTO to receive tsunami warning data. The deal was signed on 18 November 2010 by Florence Mangin, the French Permanent Representative to the organization, and Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO.
“This shows the trust we have in the work and the quality of the work done by the CTBTO. The data will be used by the French tsunami warning centre in Paris," Florence Mangin said.

Read highlight on the CTBTO’s public website here.

Tibor Tóth interviewed by Ramesh Jaura of In Depth News

The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Tibor Tóth.


The CTBTO’s Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth provides answers on a variety of issues, such as the achievements of the CTBTO over the years, the capabilities of the monitoring system, the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the role of civil society, the new climate in nuclear disarmament issues and the role of the CTBTO towards nuclear disarmament. On the latter, Tibor Tóth said that “the CTBTO plays an instrumental role in ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons.”
On the role of civil society, Tóth said: "The role that citizens and civil society worldwide play in ensuring and putting pressure on their governments - and their parliaments - to act on commitments made is indispensable to promoting the entry into force of the CTBT… Active NGO and civil society participation can push their governments to go the final mile in delivering on their commitments."

Read the interview on news website “In Depth News” here.

Read the interview in “Global Perspectives” magazine, December Issue, pg.14-15 here.

Study on "Baby Teeth" shows long lasting effects of nuclear testing

Children who donated their baby teeth to the research project received this badge.


Men who grew up in the St. Louis area of Missouri, United States, in the early 1960s at the height of atmospheric nuclear testing and died of cancer before turning 50 had more than twice as much (122% more) radioactive strontium-90 in their baby teeth as men born in the same area at the same time who are still living. These are the first findings from a project conducted by Washington University that has been running since 2001.
Scientists used only a portion of the 320,000 baby teeth donated by American school children in the early 1960s to another project, headed at the time by Dr. Eric Reiss and his wife Dr. Louise Reiss. Their research found that children in 1963 had about 50 times more strontium-90 in their teeth than children in 1950. The results were used in a resounding testimony in front of the U.S. Senate upon ratification of the Partial Test Ban Treaty signed by President Kennedy in 1963, which put an end to atmospheric testing. Sadly, Dr. Louise Reiss passed away on 1 January 2011.

Study of Baby Teeth Sees Radiation Effects, by Matthew Wald (NYT)

Did the Atom Bomb Test Fallout Cause Cancer, by Samuel Epstein (Huffington Post)

Dr. Louise Reiss, Who Helped Ban Atomic Testing, Dies at 90, by Dennis Hevesi (NYT)

Introduction Course on the CTBT: Now available on-line and on DVD

CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth addressing visiting United Nations Disarmament Fellows.


The CTBTO held a weeklong introduction course from 18 to 22 October 2010 on legal, political and security related aspects of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, as well as the science and technology that underpin the verification regime designed to monitor compliance with the Treaty.

Watch the videos and see the slides from all 16 lectures of the Introduction Course here