China's Signature on Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Committee on Disarmament in Geneva, which was composed of 38 members originally and expanded to 61 later, started formal negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (hereinafter referred to as CTBT) in Jan. 1994. The negotiations concluded on 22 Aug. 1996. On 10 September that year, the United Nations adopted a resolution to formally approve the text of CTBT at its 50th session by an overwhelming majority of 158 for, 3 against (India, Bhutan and Libya) and 5 abstention (Cuba, Lebanon, Syria, Tanzania and Mauritius),. On 24 September, the Treaty was open to signature at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. China had participated in the negotiations from the beginning to the end and signed the Treaty on the second day only after the host country the United States. At the same time, China issued a government statement in which it reiterated its consistent principled position for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all nuclear weapons and its determination to work hard for an earlier realization of this goal.
The purposes and objectives of the CTBT are: to effect a comprehensive ban on all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions, and effectively prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and promote the process of nuclear disarmament, and therefore to enhance international peace and security. CTBT is composed of a Preamble, 17 articles, two annexes and one protocol. It contains mainly the following elements:
Each State Party undertakes not to carry out, and furthermore to refrain from causing, encouraging or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and undertake to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its control or jurisdiction;
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization shall be set up in Vienna, Republic of Austria, and all States Parties shall be its members. The Organization shall set up such organs as the Conference of the State Parties, the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat;
To ensure the compliance with the Treaty, an international verification regime shall be established consisting mainly of an International Monitoring System, Consultation and Clarification, on-site inspections and confidence-building measures. The International Monitoring system shall comprise facilities for seismological monitoring, radionuclide monitoring and hydroacoustic monitoring, among others. The confidence-building measures mainly refer to the voluntary report by the States Parties on the large-scale chemical explosions. By consultation and clarification, it means that States Parties shall make every effort to clarify and resolve any matter which might cause concern about possible non-compliance with the CTBT. The purpose of an on-site inspection is to clarify whether a nuclear weapon test explosion has been carried out in violation of the Treaty;
According to the provisions of the CTBT, the Treaty shall enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all the 44 countries as listed in Annex 2 to this Treaty. The 44 countries refer to the five nuclear countries of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China, the nuclear threshold countries of India, Pakistan and Israel, as well as other countries with nuclear capabilities.
This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration. But every ten years a review conference may be convened. On the basis of a request by any State Party, the Review conference shall consider the possibility of permitting the conduct of underground nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes.
A State Party shall have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.
So far 155 countries have signed the CTBT and 52 have already ratified the Treaty. Now 26 out of the 44 States Parties whose ratification of the Treaty is indispensable for its taking effect as provided for in the Treaty have ratified the Treaty. They include the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Australia, Germany and Italy. The United States, Russia and China have not yet ratified it. India, Pakistan and the DPRK have not yet signed the Treaty.