The Philippines has called for constructive steps to address outstanding issues in disarmament as it expressed deep concern over the continuous development of nuclear arsenals of some states amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo, the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, stressed before the First Committee of the UN during its General Debate on Oct. 5, that “constructive steps are needed to address outstanding issues in disarmament.”
He expressed deep concern over nuclear disarmament, saying that while most countries are battling COVID-19, nuclear weapon states are modernizing, developing and reinforcing nuclear arsenals.
Manalo stressed that “nothing justifies the use of weapons of mass destruction” as he reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation.
The Filipino diplomat also said that “for the Philippines, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
“The Philippines continues to support the 13 Practical Steps and the 64-point Action Plan agreed upon in the 2010 NPT Review Conference and looks forward to the 10th NPT Review Conference,” Manalo said, noting that the Philippines is the 53rd country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
On outer space, the ambassador called for the further development of the legal framework, ensuring that the use of outer space is only for peaceful purposes.
Recognizing the threat of transnational cybercrime on peace and security, Manalo expressed the Philippines’ support for international efforts to combat these crimes.
He also said the Philippines views the recent developments in the Asia Pacific “within the context of the primacy of commitments in the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone and the NPT.”
“We have an urgent choice to make between breakdown and breakthrough. Disarmament is at the heart of the pathway towards a breakthrough,” Under-Secretary‑General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu stated in her opening remarks.
Nakamitsu noted that “a continued rise in global military spending has fed into cycles of insecurity and mistrust,” citing that “in 2020, total global military expenditure rose to almost two trillion USD despite the onset of a global pandemic.”
The First Committee is mandated to discuss disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community and seeks out solutions to the challenges in the international security regime.