A Draft Model Treaty for the Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone "Outline and Talking Points"

By Kazuhiko Tamaki

Vice President, Peace Depot, Yokohama, Japan

April 17, 2009

For achieving the sustainable peace and stability of the Northeast Asia, one of the most urgent and timely goal is the establishment of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ). At the same time it will be a realistic alternative to the security tools relying on military forces such as missile defense.

Since early 2000’s, we, Peace Depot, under the leadership of Dr. Hiro Umebayashi, the former president, have been developing A Model Treaty for NEA-NWFZ. On the bases of the latest version revised in last December, I am pleased to present its outline and main talking points for your discussion.

1. Three plus Three Arrangement

At the start of drafting, we had reviewed a number of precedent initiatives for a NEA-NWFZ appeared in the post Cold War era deliberately and came to recognize that the “Three plus Three Nations Arrangement” would be a most realistic and fundamental arrangement for a NEA-NWFZ. This involves key three non-nuclear states of the region, namely the ROK, the DPRK and Japan as the central players and neighboring nuclear weapon states, the United States, China and Russia as supportive players.  As you may be aware soon, this arrangement coincides with participants of the on-going Six Party Talks on the nuclear issues in Korean Peninsular. That is not accidental.

2. Central Nuclear Weapon Free Zone

The most substantial advantage of this <3 plus 3> approach is that it is achievable basing on the existing policies of the three non-nuclear states. That is, in “The Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular” signed by the ROK and the DPRK in 1992, contains the agreed that they “shall refrain from the testing, manufacture, production, acceptance, possession, stockpiling, deployment and use of nuclear weapons,” and that they “shall use nuclear energy only for peaceful purpose”. On the other hand, Japan has been formally adhesive to the “three non-nuclear principles” that it will “not manufacture, posses, nor allow the bringing-in of nuclear weapons” since 1968 and its Atomic Energy Basic Law of 1995 prohibits the use of nuclear energy for military purposes.

It is true that we should not be too optimistic regarding the nuclear claims of the DPRK especially in the situation after its nuclear test of 9 October 2007 when it calls itself a “nuclear power”. But we should also note that in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005, participating states of the Six Party Talks unanimously agreed that the “verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner” is a common goal. Importantly, this principle was also reaffirmed even after the DPRK's nuclear test. In the “Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement” of the Six Parties Talk” of 13 February 2007. Thus, the first pillar of our Model Treaty is to establish the three states Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone by way of integrating existing non-nuclear weapon policies of each state into a mutual, legally binding agreement.

3. Negative Security Assurance by Nuclear Powers

Let us turn to the second pillar of the Model Treaty, namely the roles of the neighboring nuclear-weapon state, the United States, China and Russia. Generally, precedent and existing NWFZ treaties provide obligations of the nuclear-weapon states, specifically the Negative Security Assurance (NSA), in their protocols. As you know, NSA means the commitment by the nuclear weapon states that they will not use nuclear weapons nor pose threats of using them to the non-nuclear weapon states. In terms of this, the latest version of our Model Treaty has two innovative approaches:

Firstly, the NSA provisions are put not only in protocol but also in the body of the Treaty, considering the special commitments and responsibilities of the three nuclear-weapon state in the peace and stability of this region. By doing so, we expect, ROK, DPRK and Japan could feel safer and their incentive to the NWFZ could be substantially promoted.

Second innovative approach is to extend the applicable range of NSA from nuclear weapons to the use or threat of use of military forces in general, including conventional forces. This approach, too, is based on the outcome of the “Joint Statement of 19 September 2005” of the Six Party Talks again. In this statement, the United States affirmed that “It has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons”. Of course, “to have no intention” does not mean “to promise not to do” automatically. But we choose to reflect that progressive statement to the draft Model Treaty, because for the non-nuclear weapon states, use or threats of any kind of forces by the nuclear weapon states, whichever nuclear or conventional, could stimulate the incentive to earn nuclear weapons as shown in the claims by the DPRK to the United States. Also, we should note that the pro-nuclear-weapon people in Japan often refer to the nuclear and conventional threats of China as the rationale for desirable nuclear armament.

We are aware that these approaches could possibly have some difficulties and risks. Namely an introduction of the NSA provisions into the body of the treaty may possibly stimulate a sense of caution of the nuclear weapons states against the NWFZ itself. And there may be discussions that extension of the NSA to conventional forces should also be the obligation of the non-nuclear weapon states and threfore it should be contained in the more comprehensive regional Pact of Peace or Non-aggression Treaty rather than NWFZ treaty. Certainly these talking points should be discussed deliberately. What I want to say here is that, in lights of the historical and political nature of this region, the NEA-NWFZ should unavoidably have the aspects of regional Pact of Peace or Non-aggression even if in the precursive manners.

4. Verification regarding port call, landing and transit

One of the most critical issues in the NEA-NWFZ is the verification regarding the entry of nuclear- weapon-carrying ships and aircrafts into the zone. According to aforementioned 19 September 2005 Joint Statement, the United States said “no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula”,  but as for the nuclear weapons carried by ships or aircrafts, attitude of the United States is still ambiguous. In this regards, the recent statement by the DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman of 26 August 2008 claims, “It should be verified that there are no U.S. nuclear weapons in and around South Korea and that there has been neither new shipment nor passage of those weapons. This verification and the verification of the DPRK's fulfillment of its commitments should be done at the same time. This is the principle of <action for action>".

These claims are legitimate and rational. But we must recognize that, in order to respond to them sincerely, the long standing US policy of “neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of nuclear weapons at any specific place and time” must be altered. We should recall that this policy also have been making the Japan’s “three non-nuclear principles” very much questionable. While our latest Model Treaty includes the provision to prohibit in general the port call, landing and transit in and through the zone by the ships and aircrafts carrying nuclear weapons, there may be other realistic and moderate options. It would also be a talking point to be discussed.

5. Conclusion

We have prepared draft Model Treaty for the NEA-NWFZ in order that it provides a provisional and tentative basis for further discussions and deliberations among concerned experts, specialists, activists as well as citizens. Not only its realization but also the efforts themselves, I believe, will provide political space for creating realistic alternatives to the nuclear deterrence or missile defense as well as of regional resonance to the global momentum toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World. I invite all of you to take part in these discussions and work together to realize NEA-NWFZ!

6. Join the Signature-collecting Campaign!

Now, Peace Depot and Peace Network, ROK are carrying out the campaign to call for endorsements to the “Statement to Support a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone” (Please see Attachment in the next page). We are going to bring the statement with signatures to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee in coming May and deliver them to the participants including delegates of the relevant states. Your cooperation would be very much appreciated.

Note: Our Model Treaty can be read at http://www.peacedepot.org/e-news/frame.html

Statement to Support a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone

We, undersigned, support the efforts to establish a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Northeast Asia (NEA-NWFZ). We believe it is an urgent and timely initiative both for enhancing a global tide for a Nuclear Weapon Free World and for achieving the regional stability and peace in Northeast Asia.

To set a goal to achieve a NEA-NWFZ will create a new positive dimension in the on-going Six Party Talks among Republic of Korea (ROK), Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, China, Russia and the United States, by embracing its goal of “verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” (Six-nation Statement, 19 September 2005) with the broader regional goal envisaged.

In addition, the global nuclear disarmament is an obligation not only upon nuclear armed nations but upon all other nations, especially nations whose security policy relies on the so-called nuclear umbrella. In this regards, all nations are now requested to find a path to a security polity without nuclear weapons. A NEA-NWFZ will provide such a path to relevant nations in the region, including Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK).

A realistic scheme for a NEA-NWFZ could be a 3+3 arrangement, in which the ROK, the DPRK and Japan as central parties to the zone and the neighboring nuclear weapon states (China, Russia and the US) as supporting parties by their provision of security assurances, as it is based upon the 1992 Inter-Korean Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula and Japan's Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

We call upon political leaders, both national and local, citizen groups and individuals throughout the world to express their support to a NEA NWFZ and to work together to realize it.


Affiliation (if any):                                     

Convened by Peace Depot, Inc. Japan and Peace Network, ROK

Please send your support to office@peacedepot, or fax to +81-45-563-9907

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