Asan Plenum

Synopsis of Wang Jun, for Asan Plenum

With the conclusion of the CTBT in 1996, a new international norm was institutionalized that bans nuclear test explosions of any kind in any environment at any location and of all times. Despite the fact that the Treaty with its global monitoring and on-site verification components is yet to enter into legal and formal force, more than 12 years of investment thanks to States Signatories have established the mechanism and introduced it into provisional operation. These include an International Monitoring System of four technologies, supported by an International Data Center, based on monitoring stations and national data centers in States Signatories.

As of today, over 80% of all stations have been built and the monitoring data collection rate is better that 90% annually. A self-improving system for monitoring post-event clandestine low-yield nuclear test explosions, especially underground, the acquired capabilities for detection and location of such ambiguous events have been proven by recent year events in Asia. The Treaty and its verification components will continue to improve and serve its designed purposes, for the overall objective of maintenance of international peace and security, for the continued push for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation in particular, before or after its EIF.

The Treaty mechanism as now available is acquiring collateral utilities that is also of global significance: tsunami warning, related disaster mitigation, and most recently, contribution to nuclear accident-related radioactive release monitoring. Particularly worth mentioning is the synergetic benefits achieved when relevant international organizations join hands to assist the world public, namely, the CTBTO, WMO, WHO and of course the IAEA. Arguably the Fukushima case though extremely unfortunate in itself, enjoyed a scientifically transparent background setting that has been unprecedented and impossible to obtain without the IMS of CTBTO. All these positively assisted the world`s public to understand, appreciate, assist, assuage and not to panic. People of our locality may understand this better.

China`s policy toward the CTBT proceeds from its basic philosophy on nuclear armament: refrain from nuclear arms race for parity; unconditional no-first use of nuclear weapons; negative nuclear security guarantee; NPT based non-proliferation commitments and strict observance of nuclear test moratorium. China is yet to ratify the CTBT but the government has submitted it to the People`s Congress. Meanwhile, China actively participates in and contributes to the CTBT regime buildup. The most recent action was the feeding of radionuclide and noble gas data from all three IMS stations in China (Beijing, Lanzhou and Guangzhou) to the IDC as requested to assist the nuclear release situation in Fukushima.

The ban creates silence and that is louder than any bang.