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International Comment

South Asia Nuclear Crisis - Special Feature

United Nations

Statement by the Secretary-General, 28 May

"I deplore both the Indian and Pakistani tests. They exacerbate tension in an already difficult situation.

I call on both Governments to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty... They might also sign a no-first-use pledge with each other.

Finally, both nations should freeze their nuclear weapons development programme. The number of nuclear weapons should decrease, not increase.

As we approach the new century, we should be asking how best to preserve life, culture and civilization, not how to become more destructive."

Source: United Nations Press Release SG/SM/6575, 28 May.

Statement by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 30 May

"The Secretary-General has learned with profound dismay that, despite the appeals for restraint by him as well as by the Security Council and leaders of many Member States, Pakistan has conducted a sixth underground nuclear weapon test... This further dangerous and senseless escalation of tension could lead to a nuclear arms race with incalculable consequences. The international community must move to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.

The Secretary-General urgently reiterates his appeal to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to demonstrate their leadership at this critical stage by exercising restraint and reducing the high tensions between them. Noting that India has already announced a moratorium on future tests, he calls upon Pakistan to make a parallel declaration. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release SG/SM/6577, 30 May.

Security Council Presidential Statement, 29 May

Editor's note: the statement was delivered by Council President Njuguna M. Mahugu of Kenya.

"The Security Council strongly deplores the underground nuclear tests that Pakistan conducted on 28 May 1998, despite overwhelming international concern and calls for restraint. Reaffirming its 14 May presidential statement...on the Indian nuclear tests of 11 and 13 May, the Security Council strongly urges India and Pakistan to refrain from any further tests. ...

The Security Council calls upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate steps to reduce and remove tensions between them. The Council reaffirms that the sources of tension in South Asia should be reduced and eliminated only through peaceful dialogue and not by the use of force or other military means.

The Security Council urges India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue between them on all outstanding issues, including all those that the parties have already discussed, especially matters concerning peace and security, in order to remove the tensions between them and to enhance their economic and political cooperation. The Council calls upon India and Pakistan to avoid any steps or statements that could lead to further instability or impede their bilateral dialogue. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release SC/6524, 29 May

Statement by the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly (Hennadiy Udovenko of Ukraine), 28 May

"Today's explosions have dealt a serious blow to global non-proliferation efforts, as they flew in the face of the international community that had overwhelmingly deplored a similar exercise earlier this month by India and had urged restraint by the two countries.

A number of positive developments in the field of nuclear disarmament over the past years have given hope that humanity would enter the new millenium leaving behind the legacy of an unbridled nuclear arms race. The latest series of tests in South Asia threatens to dash those hopes and to further escalate tension in an already volatile region. The President of the General Assembly appeals to both Governments to refrain from continued development of their nuclear weapons and urges them to pledge their prompt and full cooperation with the international community in averting further aggravation of the situation."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/SM/42, 28 May.

NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council

Statement on the Nuclear Tests of Pakistan and India,' Statement issued by the NATO-Russia Joint Council, Meeting at Ministerial Level, Luxembourg, 28 May

"We...condemn the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. We are deeply concerned and dismayed by this developing regional nuclear arms race in South Asia.

We urge Pakistan and India to refrain from further tests and the deployment of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles, in order to prevent the escalation of tensions and a nuclear arms race. It is increasingly urgent that both India and Pakistan adhere unconditionally [to the NPT and CTBT]...and enter into negotiations on a global treaty to stop the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. We further urge India and Pakistan to engage in a dialogue which addresses the root causes of the tension between them, and try to build confidence, rather than seek confrontation.

The relations of India and Pakistan with each of us have been affected negatively by these developments. We are making this clear to both Governments in our own direct exchanges and dealings with them, and we call upon other States similarly concerned about these developments and their impact on regional and worldwide security and stability to make their concerns known also to the two Governments. ..."


'Statement by Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/5, 29 May

"The Director General deeply regrets the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.

Such tests could lead to a dangerous nuclear arms race and call into question the basic principles of non-proliferation - developed over the last three decades and reflected in the Non-Proliferation Treaty... - namely to freeze the number of weapon States and move towards nuclear disarmament.

The Director General expresses the hope that both States will exercise the utmost restraint and commit themselves to the course of action supported by the international community: no nuclear tests; no additional weapon States; and a concrete programme to reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons with universal adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and a treaty prohibiting the production of nuclear material for weapon purposes, as an indispensable and urgent first step.

The Director General firmly believes that global and regional accommodation and détente rather than the acquisition of nuclear weapons is the way to attain and enhance peace and security.

The IAEA Board of Governors is to consider the matter at its meeting commencing on 8 June."

CD Statement Delivered by New Zealand on Behalf of 47 States

Statement read by Ambassador Clive Pearson, New Zealand, Special Session of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 2 June 1998

Full text

"I am taking the floor at this Special Session to read into the record a statement from the following Member States and Observers of the Conference on Disarmament:

Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, Slovakia, Sweden, Hungary, Norway, Belarus, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Philippines, Denmark, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malta, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, France, China, Turkey, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, Venezuela, Portugal, Slovenia, Ecuador and Belgium

Mr President, they are alarmed and deeply concerned at nuclear testing by India and Pakistan.

They condemn all nuclear testing and consider such acts to be contrary to the international consensus which bans the testing of nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.

The tests undertaken by India and Pakistan's decision to respond with its own tests blatantly undermine the international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The actions of India and Pakistan threaten and undermine the process of disarmament and the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

The testing of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan is totally irreconcilable with claims by both countries that they are committed to nuclear disarmament.

International security will not be enhanced by provocative and dangerous acts. Nor will regional or global security be improved or maintained by indulging in competitive manoeuvres to further develop nuclear capability and delivery systems. The approach that India and Pakistan seem determined to pursue belongs to a bye-gone age.

Peace in the Asia region is a global concern. Tensions will only be resolved permanently through constructive dialogue and negotiation.

It is now crucial that India and Pakistan announce immediately a cessation to all further testing of these weapons, renounce their nuclear weapons programmes and sign and ratify, unconditionally, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This is a matter of urgency and essential for generating the confidence necessary for security differences to be resolved through dialogue and negotiation.

We also call on India and Pakistan to accede, without delay, to the Non-Proliferation treaty, to join all States in ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and to engage in negotiations to conclude a ban on the production of fissile material. These are further essential steps that should be taken in the process of working collectively and constructively towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

This is a moment for all countries to exercise calm and maximum restraint. We call on India and Pakistan to abandon immediately the course of action they are pursuing and to settle their security concerns and differences through political engagement. Such an approach will have the full support of the international community which is striving towards nuclear disarmament."


Statement by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, 29 May

"Pakistan's action is a flagrant defiance of international non-proliferation norms and has serious implications for global and regional security. It is sad and deeply disappointing that Pakistan has turned its back on the direct pleas of Australia and others to exercise restraint. Instead Pakistan has decided to join India in isolation from the rest of the international community."

Source: Foreign Ministry Media Release FA68, 29 May.

Statement by Alexander Downer, 30 May

"I strongly condemn the conduct of further tests by Pakistan. I am profoundly disappointed that Pakistan has seen fit to add to the folly of its tests on 28 May. It is deeply regrettable that the Pakistani Government has shown absolute disregard for the many, direct appeals to exercise restraint, and has wilfully turned its back on the sincere efforts of the international community to encourage reason to prevail. This action defies the hopes of people everywhere for a world free of nuclear testing."

Source: Foreign Ministry Media Release FA68, 29 May.


Statement by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, 28 May

"Canada is deeply disappointed that the Pakistani Government did not heed the international call for restraint, but chose to act in a manner contrary norms... In my telephone call last week with Pakistan's Prime Minister, I urged him to consider that such a test, coming so soon after India's recent round, could only have grave implications for the security of South Asia, as well as for non-proliferation internationally."

Source: Canada puts relations with Pakistan on hold, Reuters, 28 May.

Foreign Ministry statement, 30 May

"Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy condemned the latest series of nuclear tests announced to day by Pakistan.

'The Pakistani Government's decision to carry out another series of nuclear tests is a highly irresponsible act,' said Mr. Axworthy. ...

'Now is the time for both Pakistan and India to recognize the imminent danger of their actions, to renounce their nuclear weapons programs,' said Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) Raymond Chan. ..."

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Media Release No. 140 1998, 30 May.


Foreign Ministry statement, 28 May

"The Government of Chile expresses its strongest rejection and condemnation of the nuclear explosions carried out by the Government of Pakistan. They imply a new threat to international peace and security and represent a setback for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects. ...

Additionally, these tests run counter to agreements and declarations of the Non-Aligned Movement, of which Pakistan is a member, which were reiterated at the Ministerial Cartagena, held from 18-20 May [1998]..."

Source: Foreign Ministry statement delivered to the CD by Ambassador Javier Illanes, 2 June.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, 28 May

"China expresses its 'deep regret' over Pakistan's nuclear tests on 28 May, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao in Beijing.

He said that China has always advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and is opposed to any form of nuclear weapon proliferation.

The Chinese Government is deeply worried about the present nuclear race in South Asia, he said.

'We hereby call on countries concerned in South Asia to exercise the utmost restraint and to immediately abandon all nuclear weapon programmes to avoid a further worsening of the situation so as to maintain peace and stability in the South Asian region,' he said."

Source: Chinese Embassy in Washington, web-site

Foreign Ministry statement, 30 May

"We express deep regret that Pakistan has conducted nuclear tests once again and are deeply worried and disturbed by the current nuclear arms race in South Asia... We solemnly appeal to Pakistan and India to exercise maximum restraint, immediately renounce their nuclear weapons development programmes, and prevent the situation from worsening..."

Source: China expresses 'deep regret' over Pakistan blasts, Reuters, 30 May.


Remarks by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, 29 May

"The tests performed yesterday by Pakistan were condemned by France, the European Union, the Ministers who met yesterday in Luxembourg in the NATO/Russia [Joint Council]... Today, a declaration from the Presidency of the Security Council should be adopted in New York. In other words, this constitutes an unanimous condemnation on the part of the international community."

Source: Foreign Ministry Daily Press Briefing, 29 May.


Statement by Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, 28 May

"The Federal Government condemns today's Pakistani nuclear tests. ... Peace and stability in southern Asia can only be achieved through dialogue, not a nuclear arms race."

Source: World decries Pakistan nuke tests, United Press International, 28 May.


Statement by Kanezo Muraoka, Chief Cabinet Secretary, 29 May

"It is extremely deplorable that Pakistan conducted nuclear testing...

This nuclear testing by Pakistan was conducted in defiance of the effort by the international society to seek a world free from nuclear weapons, and therefore can never be tolerated. ... [I]n multilateral fora such as the United Nations Security Council, Japan will actively deal with the issues of firmly maintaining [the] non-proliferation regime and sustaining peace in South Asia. ... Japan is also determined to maintain its strict control on transfers of items and technologies related to weapons-of-mass-destruction to Pakistan."

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, 29 May.

Statement by Kanezo Muraoka, 30 May

"Japan regards most seriously the fact that Pakistan conducted these [second round of] tests despite the strong criticism from Japan and other members of the international community of its nuclear tests on 28 May, and strongly protests against the Government of Pakistan.

The repeated nuclear testing by Pakistan is a most dangerous step which heightens tensions in the region and risks fundamentally destabilising the non-proliferation regime. By no means can Japan condone this action. Japan strongly demands that Pakistan earnestly heed the voice of the international community which calls upon it to discontinue nuclear testing and the development of nuclear weapons...

In the light of the development above, Japan will actively address the urgent issues of safeguarding the non-proliferation regime and peace in South Asia in such international fora as the United Nations Security Council."

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, 30 May.

Statement to the CD by Ambassador Akira Hayashi, 2 June

"The challenge with which the international community at large and the disarmament community in particular are confronted is the greatest since the nuclear non-proliferation regime was successfully instituted nearly 30 years ago.

Yes, the regime for which we worked so hard to create is now under strain. But our tasks remain to strengthen it by rolling back the adverse force unleashed by the recent acts of India and Pakistan. Let me say that the number of States Parties to the NPT is edging towards 187 and these States are firmly behind the task of strengthening the regime. To them, nuclear proliferation is simply unacceptable. But in order for this 187-nation contingent of peace to succeed, it is imperative for them to unite, particularly the five nuclear-weapons States Parties who have special responsibilities under the Treaty, and they should neither be complacent nor take the NPT for granted."


Remarks by Valery Nesterushkin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, 29 May

"By dialogue we can achieve better results than by isolation and economic sanctions against these two States... We still believe international activity...can bring about a constructive reaction from both sides and [that] they will understand the necessity of political negotiations on all the problems they are having in their bilateral relations. ... Naturally the close and constructive cooperation...between Moscow and Washington has serious significance for India and Pakistan..."

Source: Russia condemns Pakistani nuclear tests, Reuters, 1 June.

Statement by Ambassador Vasily S. SIDOROV
Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Conference on Disarmament
at the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament
Geneva 2 June 1998

(Unofficial translation. Check against delivery)

Mr. President,

Allow me to congratulate you with the assumption of the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. I believe that under your firm guidance we shall make the most effective use of the time allocated to us for our work at the beginning of this part of the session. You can count upon the support and cooperation of my delegation.

Mr. President,

In connection with the issue being discussed during this Plenary Meeting I would like to announce statement of the Foreign Ministry of Affairs of the Russian Federation dated the 28 of May.

"Russian Federation expresses its deepest concern in connection with Pakistan testing nuclear explosions on the 28th of May.

T his action was undertaken despite urgent appeals to Islamabad to manifest reserve instead of acting according to the principle "eye for eye" in response to nuclear explosions by India on May 11 and 13.

It is worth regret that the Pakistani leadership were unable to check emotions and manifest caution and common sense in this extraordinarily important moment.

The years-long confrontation and rivalry between India and Pakistan is today assuming quite a new and nuclear nuanced form which is extremely dangerous to all humanity. The real threat of nuclear weapons spreading all over the globe is appearing.

Russia calls for the non-proliferation regime to be of universal nature through all the nations without an exception joining it, and once again urgently appeals to Pakistan, as well as India, to listen to the voice of the international community, to refrain from further nuclear tests, and join immediately the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty."

The new tests conducted by Pakistan on the 30th of May but confirm the reasons of our concerns.

We would be grateful if this statement would be distributed as an official document of the Conference on Disarmament.

Thank you, Mr. President.

South Africa

Foreign Ministry Statement, 30 May

"South Africa has noted with deepening concern the two [sic] further tests conducted by Pakistan... South Africa is gravely disappointed at this development... South Africa holds firm to the view that world security is derived from nuclear disarmament and not nuclear proliferation. An escalating arms race in South Asia remains of deep concern to South Asia."

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs Media Statement, 30 May.

United Kingdom

Statement by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Luxembourg, 28 May

"We are dismayed by the nuclear test which have been carried out by Pakistan. ... {This] accentuates our grave concern about the increased risk of nuclear and missile proliferation in South Asia... As [holders of the] EU Presidency, we will urgently consult our European and other international partners on these disturbing developments. ..."

Source: Text - Britain's Cook condemns Pakistan nuclear tests, United States Information Service, 28 May.

United States

Remarks by President Clinton, 28 May

"By failing to exercise restraint and responding to the Indian test, Pakistan lost a truly priceless opportunity to strengthen its own security, to improve its political standing in the eyes of the world. And although Pakistan was not the first to test, two wrongs don't make a right. I have made it clear to Pakistan that we have no choice but to impose sanctions...

Now, I want to say again - it is now more urgent than it was yesterday that both Pakistan and India renounce further tests, sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and take decisive steps to reduce tensions in South Asia and reverse the dangerous arms race.

I cannot believe that we are about to start the 21st Century by having the Indian subcontinent repeat the worst mistakes of the 20th Century, when we know it is not necessary to peace, to security, to prosperity, to national greatness or personal fulfilment. And I hope that the determined efforts of the United States and our allies will be successful in helping the parties who must themselves decide how to define their future to defuse tensions and avoid further errors."

Source: Excerpt - Clinton remarks on Pakistan's nuclear tests, United States Information Service, 28 May.

Statement by President Clinton, 30 May

"The United States condemns today's second round of tests by Pakistan. These tests can only serve to increase tensions in an already volatile region. With their recent tests, Pakistan and India are contributing to a self-defeating cycle of escalation that does not add to the security of either country. Both India and Pakistan need to renounce further nuclear and missile testing immediately and take decisive steps to reverse this dangerous arms race.

I will continue to work with leaders throughout the international community to reduce tensions in South Asia, to preserve the global consensus on non-proliferation. ..."

Source: Statement by the President, The White House, 30 May.

Remarks by Defense Secretary William Cohen, 31 May

"Any tie you have two countries who have had a history of warfare...and you have each one...engaging in a chauvinistic chest-pounding about their nuclear manhood, then you run the risk of having a nuclear exchange."

Source: India ponders next move as Pakistan settles score, Reuters, 29 May.

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Strobe Talbott, 31 May

"[India and Pakistan] have crossed a threshold...but there are plenty of stupid things they have not yet done and we hope to use the period ahead to give them every incentive not to do [them], to get them back from the brink."

Source: Perm Five to meet on India, Pakistan, United Press International, 31 May.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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