Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo takes office, travels to China

The new Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, who took office today, will travel to China on 4 August for his first trip abroad as the head of the organization. During his week-long stay, Zerbo will meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other high-level officials, visit a CTBTO monitoring station being installed in Kunming in southwest China, and deliver a keynote address at a workshop on nuclear arms control organized by the Chinese Arms Control & Disarmament Association.  “My first official visit is to China, in recognition of China’s importance in paving the way for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. I will encourage China to take the lead for ratification by the Annex 2 States. I wish to build upon the already fruitful cooperation with China. My visit aims to address the sustainability of a credible verification system through the provision of data to the CTBTO’s International Data Centre and thus to all States Signatories,” said Zerbo. Background The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions, thus hampering the first-time development of nuclear weapons as well as significant enhancements to nuclear arsenals. To date 183 countries have signed the CTBT, of which 159 have ratified (formally endorsed). However, eight States whose ratification is a precondition for the Treaty’s entry into force (Annex 2 States) have yet to ratify: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.  The CTBTO is building a verification system to detect any nuclear explosion. The International Monitoring System will consist of 337 monitoring facilities when complete; around 85% have already been established and are sending data to the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna. The system quickly, reliably and precisely detected all three nuclear tests announced by the DPRK.  After installation of the infrasound station at Kunming is complete, 10 of the 11 CTBTO monitoring stations hosted by China will have been installed. None of these stations are connected so far to the CTBTO’s International Data Centre in Vienna. The CTBTO and the competent Chinese authorities have held discussions over the last two years in order to overcome technical and other issues related to the provision of the monitoring data. See here for details on China’s cooperation with the CTBTO.  For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing. More information on the trip including statements will also be made available on the website. Free media resources: video footage / image packages. click here for the Chinese version of the Press Release.

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