PH, Japan, Australia seek treaty vs use of fissile materials for warfare

The Philippines has joined Japan and Australia in pushing the international community to start negotiations on a treaty to restrain the use of fissile materials that are capable of undergoing fission through low-energy thermal neutrons as weapons for warfare.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, along with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, called for the conclusion of talks on fissile material cut-off as the three countries co-hosted on Wednesday a high-level event at the sidelines of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

(From left) Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, DFA Sec. Enrique Manalo and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong (Photo courtesy of DFA)

The treaty will obligate states to dismantle fissile materials for military purposes, as well as putting a cap on further expansion of nuclear weapons stockpile, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Manalo extended to the world leaders and top diplomats the Philippines commitment in the rejection of nuclear weapons and the push for nuclear disarmament.

"The Filipino people have always been unequivocal in our rejection of nuclear weapons. The Philippines is therefore proud to stand with Japan and Australia to breathe life into long standing international efforts towards a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT)," he said.

It has been 13 years since the UN General Assembly urged the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate an FMCT, the DFA.

And Manalo said "it is disappointing that this remarkable achievement is being reversed in the Asia-Pacific."

"The starting point of our collective journey towards nuclear disarmament, after all, begins in that region – in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The stories of the victims of nuclear horrors from these places inspired global action towards landmark instruments," he said.

For the past years, the Philippines has consistently pushed for FMCT talks without preconditions and without delay; and said, that pending the entry into force of an FMCT, arrangements be undertaken to establish a five-year moratorium on additional facilities for uranium enrichment and plutonium separation.

At the 2022 UN General Assembly, President Marcos cited the danger of nuclear weapons and called these "an existential threat despite our efforts to build norms that resoundingly prohibit them."