Phnom Penh. Three documents on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), which were scheduled to be signed this week during an Asean summit in Cambodia, were postponed until November because four of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (P5) have “reservations,” a Cambodian senior official said Monday.
Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state at Cambodia’s foreign ministry, said three documents were supposed to be signed this week, including the Asean Statement on the Protocol to the Treaty of the SEANWFZ, the Memorandum of Understanding between Asean and China to the treaty on SEANWFZ and the protocol to the treaty on the SEANWFZ by the P5 on July 12. The P% includes France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and China.
“The SEANWFZ Commission decided to postpone the signings until the member states in Asean countries are able to work closely with the members of the P5 to resolve the reservations by members of the P5,” Hourn said in a press briefing after the 45th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) on Monday.
France voiced its reservations on the rights of self-defense, the UK on new threat and development and Russia on the rights of foreign ships and aircraft to pass into the nuclear free zone, according to Hourn; the US said they planned to voice their reservations during the rectification process.
“We hope all signings will be done together together in November during the 21st Asean Summit,” he said.
Asean leaders signed the SEANWFZ Treaty in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec. 15, 1995 — it took effect two years later. The negotiations between Asean and the P5 on the protocol have been ongoing since May 2001.
Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.