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NTP changes: Watering down of original text?

Nuclear weapons


May 13, 2015

Draft nuke disarmament paper drops call for leaders to visit Hiroshima



NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- A draft outcome document for the ongoing U.N. conference on nuclear disarmament has removed a reference for global leaders to visit Japan's atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in its latest revision circulated among member countries Tuesday.

Three major committees of the month-long review conference of the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have been working on compiling elements to be folded into what they hope will become the final outcome document during the intensive negotiations process.

One of the committees produced a first draft last week and noted the proposal that leaders visit the Japanese cities on the 70th anniversary of the U.S atomic bombings and listen to the voices of survivors.

The new document without the references to the visits came after Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Fu Cong said Monday he had requested that mention of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki visits be dropped.

"We don't want the humanitarian issue (regarding nuclear weapons) to be taken advantage of by (a) certain government with ulterior motives in trying to distort the history and trying to impose a partial interpretation of the Second World War on the conference, so we want the deletion," Fu told Kyodo News on Monday. He was speaking in English.

"The purpose is that they (Japanese government) are trying to portray Japan as a victim of the Second World War, rather than a victimizer," he told reporters on Tuesday, noting how the Japanese military committed atrocities in his country, as well as in Korea and South East Asia.

On the April 27 opening day of the review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida delivered a speech inviting political leaders from across the globe to travel to the two cities and "witness with their own eyes the realities of atomic bombings."

The Chinese envoy said he asked the reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki be deleted during a closed-door meeting of the review conference on Monday.

"We don't want any mention of Hiroshima (or) Nagasaki because there are reasons why those two (cities) were bombed," Fu said on Monday.

"We have nothing against the Japanese people, least of all with the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing," he later told reporters.

He, however, contrasted the Japanese government's attitude of having "denied" testimonies of "comfort women," or women, mostly from Asia, who were forced to work at Japanese military brothers during World War II, to what he sees as an attempt to highlight what atomic bomb survivors have to say.

Wartime history remains a sensitive issue for Japan and China, even though there have been recent signs of a thaw in their relations. China suffered from Japan's wartime actions.

With this development, the history issue has spilled over into multilateral discussions at the United Nations during negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

Fu said that "there are too many historical baggages to the two cities so we hope that this conference should keep clear of the history."

Diplomatic sources also said South Korea opposed including the language referring to the visits.

Fu explained that at least a dozen countries, both publicly and privately, had expressed their support for Beijing's push to remove the language.

A Japanese government source said Japan "will make maximum efforts" at reinstating the deleted portion.

"There is a possibility of the reference to be restored as negotiations are in the initial stage but Japan may be forced to make some concessions in other areas (in return)," another source said.

A final outcome document of the NPT review conference is expected to be produced under the leadership of Chairwoman Taous Feroukhi after the draft text is negotiated by the three committees -- on nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

A final document cannot always be produced, as was the case most recently in 2005 when consensus could not be reached.

The review conference has been held once every five years since the nonproliferation treaty took effect in 1970. The current meeting is scheduled to run through May 22.

Significant gaps in views remain over how to move nonproliferation forward among the roughly 190 signatory states.

At Monday's closed-door session, nuclear states also expressed their opposition to a call for a potential legal framework such as a convention to ban nuclear weapons in the earlier draft circulated last week, diplomatic sources said.

The latest revision of the text, however, retains the call for such framework.

But a European diplomat described how the latest changes reflect a watering down of the original text.

The five nuclear powers recognized under the NPT -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- favor a step-by-step approach to disarmament over instituting a ban on nuclear weapons.





May 13, 2015

Japan, China argue over draft NPT document



May 13, 2015 - Updated 05:31 UTC+2


Japan and China are wrangling over whether to include an appeal for world leaders to visit the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final document of a conference to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Negotiations over an agreement document to be adopted at the NPT Review Conference at UN headquarters in New York are now in full swing, with the end of the meeting set for May 22nd.

At the start of the meeting last month, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida proposed a gesture to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two this year. He suggested that an appeal calling on world leaders to visit the 2 cities and learn the inhumanity of nuclear weapons should be included in the document.
A draft agreement released last week contained the phrase. But the draft revised by Tuesday does not carry the wording.

It was learned that China had worked on the conference chair to delete the phrase from the draft. The Chinese delegation appears to have maintained that Japan is making use of an opportunity to act as a war victim.

Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Fu Cong told reporters that his country has no hostility to the Japanese people or atomic bomb survivors. He said, however, that China cannot tolerate the Japanese government's efforts to hide the tragedy Japan inflicted on countries during its war of aggression.

The Japanese delegation believes that negotiations over the draft agreement are ongoing. It issued a statement saying it will continue working to have its proposed appeal contained in the document.


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