Anti- Nuclear - Weapons and Peace groups in Australia are urging that the temperature be lowered on the Korean Peninsula, and that the momentum for global nuclear disarmament, evident at the recent NPT Prepcom, must be maintained. The recent test shows up the need for entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. (CTBT).
According to the groups:
"Nuclear Testing, whoever does it, must be absolutely condemned. Over 2000 nuclear weapons tests have taken place up to now. Obtaining nuclear weapons will not help the security of the DPRK, while threatening others merely ensures that the DPRK becomes, or remains, a nuclear target for others - as it has been for decades. The kind of language now being used by the DPRK, is profoundly unhelpful and will escalate the situation further. In the longer run, even if the DPRK succeeds to accumulate a sizeable and deliverable nuclear arsenal it will ensure only that they are targeted by others, and make more trigger - fingers more itchy.
We appeal to the DPRK to exercise restraint no matter how justified it feels in responding with 'threat for threat' , and to go no further down the nuclear road."
"At the same time, others must recognise that the DPRK has indeed legitimate security interests that have (in its view) driven it to the acquisition of nuclear weapons, and that there are real provocations. An example of this is the annual military exercises conducted by the US and the RoK, which it views (rightly or wrongly) as a rehearsal for an invasion. A harder line on anyone's part will not help. Just as threats emanating from the DPRK have led only to sanctions and counter - threats, so sanctions and pressure will lead only to further threats from the DPRK, and so on in a spiral of threat and counter-threat that leads only to disaster.
What are required are policies on both sides that lead to the diminution of tensions not to their escalation. The spiral of threat and counter threat must be broken. We call on others also to exercise extreme restraint, and to understand that measures they view as entirely legitimate responses to the DPRK's provocations will simply worsen things. What is needed is a reduction in tensions."
"The other major danger is that the situation on the Korean Peninsula, in which one party - with maybe a dozen warheads - has just tested, will lead others - with up to 10,000 warheads each, some of them pointed at the DPRK for the last 50 years or so - to backtrack on the movement toward global nuclear disarmament that has been so clear for the past couple of years."
"This could literally be terminal for the human species, and must not be allowed to happen. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is an example of precisely why we need to eliminate nuclear weapons by about 30 years ago. The DPRK uses them as a political currency because others have done so for decades. Yet the fact that others posses nuclear weapons deters them not at all and indeed only redoubles the determination of the DPRK to obtain them."
"Finally, the recent test shows up the absolute priority of all nations signing the CTBT and that treaty entering into force."
"We must avoid a catastrophe in the Korean Peninsula and we must maintain the momentum to global zero-nuclear weapons."
When the DPRK tested last year, parliamentarians worldwide put out a statement which is reproduced below.
Parliamentary Statement on Nuclear Testing
As parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, and from countries around the world, we share a concern about the announcement by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea on October 9 that they have tested a nuclear weapon for the first time.
This act increases tensions in North East Asia, increases the risks of further proliferation in the region and globally, and is in violation of obligations of North Korea and all other countries to end nuclear testing and work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
There have been over 2000 nuclear weapons test explosions conducted by China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, each one contaminating the environment, threatening the peace and stimulating the nuclear arms race. There is no need for any more testing by any country.
We welcome the negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the overwhelming support it has already received. We call on those few States that have not yet ratified the treaty - particularly those with nuclear capabilities including North Korea,China,India,Israel, Pakistan and the United States - to do so..
We also call on North Korea to rejoin the Six Party talks,with China,Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States,for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,and to explore the possibility for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in North East Asia. We call on all six parties to refrain from any further provocative actions that could derail these talks,including any threats to use force against any of the parties.
We are encouraged by the international monitoring system developed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation which has the technical capacity to detect nuclear tests anywhere in the world.And we look forward to the treaty 's entry-into-force in order to make available its compliance mechanisms in the case of any treaty violation.
John Hallam, PND Nuclear Flashpoints Project.
Pauline Mitchell, Campaign For International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD).
Tim Wright, Australian Peace Organisation.
Don Jarrett, Australian Peace Committee (APC).