The Philippines has partnered with Japan and Australia in advocating for the international community to begin negotiations on a treaty to restrain the use of materials for nuclear weapons.
These fissile materials are said to be capable of undergoing fission through low-energy thermal neutrons as weapons for warfare.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) 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.
In a statement, the DFA said 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.
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 toward a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT),” he said.
The DFA said it has been 13 years since the UN General Assembly urged the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate an FMCT.
According to Manalo, “it is di appointing 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.
During 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.”