Association of Southeast Asian Nations Member States called on to ratify CTBT

From left to right: Asda Jayanama, Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Chaivat Toskulkao, Secretary-General of the Office of Atoms for Peace, and CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth.

 
CTBT complementary to Non-Proliferation Treaty

 
“The CTBT is internationally recognized as complementary to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has become a cornerstone in the global efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation”, emphasized Asda Jayanama, Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in his opening remarks.  He continued by explaining that while some countries observe voluntary moratoria on nuclear testing,  “this policy, while laudable, does not have the same effect as a legally binding commitment.”  Jayanama urged all outstanding countries whose ratification is needed for the CTBT’s entry into force to undertake that important step.
 
“Thailand to ratify CTBT in nearest future”
 
His words were echoed by Chaivat Toskulkao, Secretary-General of the Office of Atoms for Peace, who valued the CTBT as a step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  He said that “Thailand is expediting its efforts to ratify the CTBT in the nearest future.”

Small and big countries join forces
 
Addressing workshop participants, CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth called the CTBT an important norm to which all nuclear weapons States have subscribed.  “Together countries can have their voice articulated more clearly than alone,” Tóth said, stressing that multilateralism is an important principle helping small and big countries to join forces in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. 
 
Experiences shared on tsunami warning efforts

 
With many participants coming from countries that experienced the tragic consequences of the 2004 tsunami, the issue of using CTBTO verification data and technologies to mitigate the effects of such disasters was a popular topic of discussion.  Currently, the CTBTO shares monitoring data from roughly 70 monitoring stations with tsunami warning centres in a number of States in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
Additional stations to monitor seismic activities and ocean movements

 
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand shared their experiences in the field of tsunami warning.  All countries reported significant improvements in the years since the 2004 tsunami struck the South-East Asian region.  Additional seismic stations, tidal gauge and buoy stations to monitor seismic activities and ocean movements have been installed in the region.  The contribution of near real-time data by the CTBTO was considered crucial for the overall tsunami warning efforts.
 
Education considered key for tsunami warning efforts
 
Antonius Hardiyato of the Indonesian Meteorological Climatological and Geophysical Agency reported that with international assistance, the number of monitoring stations in Indonesia has increased remarkably.   Like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, Malaysia has undertaken particular efforts to improve the dissemination of information to the population in coastal areas by using modern means of communication as well as through an improved siren system, said Zaidi Bin Zamal Abidin of the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
 
Educating the public is an important element of tsunami warning efforts, stated Phuwieng Prakhammintora, Director of Seismology and Tsunami Research and Development Division, Thai Meteorological Department, and Arnaldo A. Melosantos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. In addition to using mass media to spread information about tsunamis, countries in the region also conduct drill exercises in coastal areas.