New Zealand welcomes US move on South Pacific nuclear-free zone

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

New Zealand warmly welcomes US President Obama’s decision to seek Senate consent to ratify the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty protocols, Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu said today.

“This is a very pleasing development. US ratification, if approved by the Senate, would further strengthen the South Pacific’s status as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

“New Zealand has long supported the goal of a South Pacific free of nuclear weapons. All other nuclear-weapon states already support the Treaty, so the President’s move is particularly significant.

“New Zealand fully supports President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. This is a further concrete step in support of that vision which has particular resonance for New Zealand and our neighbours in the Pacific,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, or Treaty of Rarotonga as it is sometimes known, was opened for signature on 6 August 1985. The Treaty prohibits the possession, use, or testing of any nuclear explosive device by any State party and the dumping of any radioactive waste in the zone.

The protocols to the Treaty are open to signature by all nuclear–weapon states, and ensure that those states respect the status of the zone through a commitment not to use, threaten to use, or test nuclear explosive devices within the zone.