The Fourth Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation (ASTOP)

February 1, 2007

  1. The Fourth Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation (ASTOP-IV) were held on January 25th (Thu) and 26th (Fri), 2007 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Director-General level government officials in charge of non-proliferation policies from the ASEAN member countries, Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Japan as the host, attended the meeting (Canada and New Zealand attended the meeting for the first time).
  2. Mr. Katsuhito Asano, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave an opening statement, in which he explained the concern over nonproliferation issues concerning North Korea and Iran, and emphasized the need to take immediate and rigid measures to implement steadily the United Nations Security Council resolutions, which were adopted as a unanimous will of the international community to tackle these issues. Mr. Asano also referred to the importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the significance of the "Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)," in strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.
  3. On the whole, the participants shared the view that each country will make steady effort individually, and promote mutual cooperation, based on the common understanding about the increasing importance and urgency of enhancing the non-proliferation regime.

    Mr. Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs of the U.N., attended the Talks and gave a presentation on the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1540. The participating countries highly appreciated his presentation.

    Main points of the discussions were as follows:
    • (1) The IAEA Additional Protocol was recognized as the most realistic and effective measure to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The participating countries referred to their current situation and their experiences towards the conclusion. They had an animated discussion on its significance and means of cooperation for implementation.
    • (2) The participating countries shared the recognition of the importance of the concerns over the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran, and the implementation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. They cultivated the understanding on the obligations under the U.N. Security Council Resolutions and they had an active and valuable discussion on the steady implementation of these resolutions and difficulties.
    • (3) The concept of an Assurance of Nuclear Fuel Supply was touched upon with an introduction by the countries promoting the concept. The participating countries deepened their understandings of the concept, as well as the stances of the supplier countries and the countries planning the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
    • (4) The talks emphasized that nuclear security needs to be strengthened on the international level to combat threats of nuclear terrorism, at a time when expectation for nuclear energy is high.
    • (5) With regard to strengthening the domestic implementation of measures against proliferation, including export controls, the member states exchanged their opinions on the difficulties faced by Asian states. The need for assistance came into focus.
    • (6) The importance of the PSI was emphasized. The participating countries deepened their understanding by sharing a common recognition, especially with non-PSI countries, concerning issues necessary to be dealt with in PSI activities.

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