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Touch-and-go for a Comprehensive Test Ban: the 28 June deadline



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Contents

Major Issues

Introduction

Highlights Of Negotiations In The CD, Late 1995 And 1996

* 1995 Negotiations

* 1996 Negotiations: 1st Session

* 1996 Negotiations: 2nd Session

China's Position on a CTBT

India's Position on a CTBT

Pakistan's Position on a CTBT

The Non-Aligned Movement

Other Undecided Issues: The Entry Into Force Provisions

Australia's Role

* In the United Nations

* At the Conference on Disarmament

* Internationally

* In Australia

Conclusion

Endnotes

Appendix: Chronology of Major Events Relevant to Nuclear Testing

Moratoriums and CTBT Negotiations

Glossary

Major Issues

For the last two and a half years, negotiations have been proceeding in the

Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva with the aim of producing a total

ban on nuclear testing. As this paper is being written, proceedings are at

a critical stage. The current round of negotiations finishes on 28 June,

and the aim is to have an agreed treaty text by this date. Certainly there

is provision for another negotiating session, beginning on 29 July, but it

must be acknowledged that if the present intense negotiations cannot

produce satisfactory compromises in entrenched positions on the few

remaining key issues, it may well be that the parties are too far apart for

even another round of negotiations to make much difference.

Certainly negotiations in the CD over the last twelve months have seen some

major breakthroughs:

* On 11 August 1995, President Clinton announced that the US would

pursue a zero-yield comprehensive test ban (CTB), not allowing even

hydronuclear tests.

* On 29 January 1996, President Chirac announced that France had ended

its controversial testing programme and would begin taking new

initiatives aimed at world disarmament.

* On 20 April 1996, President Yeltsin promised to support a treaty that

would prohibit all tests.

* More recently, in June, China first agreed to abandon its demands for

peaceful nuclear explosions to be exempted from a test ban and,

second, announced that it would end all testing after one more test in

September.

While these commitments to a comprehensive ban on testing largely resolve

what had been the most serious issue of the negotiations, the scope of the

treaty, several significant issues remain unresolved. With most of the 38

member countries in the CD united on these matters, the most serious

opposition is coming from China and India.

China continues to hold to its position on on-site inspections, which form

a vital part of the verification regime for the treaty. Most other

countries are prepared to regard data collected by spy satellites or other

technical means as adequate to trigger an inspection. But China wants to

strictly limit data acceptable for an inspection request to that obtained

by the International Monitoring System, which covers only the four sources:

seismological, radionuclide, hydroacoustic and infrasound data.

India's problems at the CD stem from its distinctive view of the objectives

of a CTB treaty. Whereas the US regards the treaty as an important

contribution to its non-proliferation policy, India wants the test ban to

operate as an instrument of disarmament by linking the treaty to a definite

timetable for eliminating nuclear weapons. India sees both the Nuclear

Non-Proliferation Treaty, which came into force in 1970, and the CTB treaty

as discriminatory, part of an attempt by the five nuclear powers to

legitimise and secure their monopoly of nuclear weapons. While the nuclear

powers acknowledge that the ultimate goal is nuclear disarmament, they

firmly oppose any linking of the treaty with a disarmament timetable.

Hopefully the Indian position can be accommodated in the treaty by means of

a statement in the preamble, similar to the preamble to the

Non-Proliferation Treaty, but offering much firmer commitments. But there

is no possibility of the nuclear powers committing themselves to a firm

target date for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

As Indian policy has hardened during the last year, Pakistan has tended to

follow suit, demanding, for example, that the nuclear powers should endorse

a timetable for nuclear disarmament. However, Pakistan has little interest

in carrying out a nuclear test, realising it would cost more in

international condemnation that would be gained in technical or strategic

benefits, and generally supports the CTB. Its main concern is to prevent

India from gaining any advantage; it is most unlikely that Pakistan would

sign the CTB treaty if India does not.

The one remaining disagreement over the scope of the treaty stems from the

criticism of the US by India and Pakistan for its planned series of

'sub-critical' experiments, i.e. experiments with plutonium which stop

short of creating a nuclear reaction. India and Pakistan argue that

allowing sub-critical underground experiments would pave the way for

nuclear weapon states to improve their arsenals.

One significant issue which is still causing problems at the negotiations

is the provisions for the treaty's entry into force. If, as a number of

states believe, ratification of the treaty by both India and Pakistan, as

threshold states, is regarded as essential for the treaty's operation,

there is a real danger that the treaty will never come into force because

both states are unlikely to sign, let alone ratify. In the model treaty

text presented to the conference in January this year, the solution to this

dilemma was achieved by means of a waiver. This Australian text provides

that, in the event of a deadlock, a conference of the states which have

ratified the treaty can decide, by a two-thirds majority, to waive other

ratification requirements. A similar formula will be necessary in the

completed treaty document .

In view of Australia's long record of commitment to a CTB treaty, including

very significant diplomatic effort in its pursuit, it is understandable

that the Australian delegation at the CD has been among the most active of

those involved in the negotiations. Its significant contributions include:

* Its presentation, in March 1994, of a draft treaty text. This document

together with a draft treaty text presented by Sweden, formed the

foundation for the 'rolling text' which has been the negotiating text

for most of the conference.

* Its presentation, in February 1996, of the model treaty text mentioned

above. This was an attempt to give new momentum to the negotiations.

* Its chairing of the drafting group on the International Monitoring

System, the key component of the treaty's verification regime. As part

of the CD Chairman's recent attempt to expedite proceedings, Australia

was appointed as 'moderator' for both the International Monitoring

System and the International Data Centre.

Australia has provided technical experts in the development of the

International Monitoring System. Australian facilities will be crucial to

the effective functioning of this System; only Russia and the US will host

more monitoring stations than Australia.

Hopefully the issues still in dispute can be resolved. Failure to complete

the treaty will be a major setback to the arms control and disarmament

regime.

Introduction

For the last two and a half years, negotiations have been proceeding in the

Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva with the aim of producing a total

ban on nuclear testing. As this paper is being written, proceedings are at

a critical stage. The current round of negotiations finishes on 28 June,

and the aim is to have an agreed treaty text by this date.

Despite the intense focus on 28 June, it can be argued that this deadline

is somewhat artificial. As part of the agreement to indefinitely extend the

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the Conference in New York in April

1995, participating nations called for the completion of a test ban treaty

no later than 1996. Then at the UN General Assembly in December 1995 the

international community adopted a resolution calling for the conclusion of

a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) 'as soon as possible in 1996'. An

agreement reached by 28 June would give time for the text to be translated

and sent back to capitals, and then be presented to a special session of

the 50th UN General Assembly in early September. That would allow for

scheduling a signing ceremony during the regular 51st assembly, which

begins later in September.

But if, for example, there was still disagreement over the text on 28 June,

and it was agreed to extend the negotiating session by a week of so in an

effort to resolve differences, an agreement reached in early July would

still fit in with the present timetable. And if agreement cannot be

reached, the treaty could be carried over to another negotiating session,

scheduled to run from 29 July to 13 September, with the signing of an

eventual treaty put off until early 1997.

However, the 28 June deadline does have symbolic and psychological

importance. Nearly all the 38 nations at the Conference on Disarmament are

eager to reach agreement by this date. And, most important, if the present

intense negotiations cannot produce satisfactory compromises in entrenched

positions on the few remaining key issues, it may well be that the parties

are too far apart for even another round of negotiations to make much

difference.

This paper will first outline highlights of the last six months or so of

negotiations. Then there will be a discussion of the attitudes of several

of the major participants with emphasis on the remaining obstacles to

completion of the treaty. Readers desiring more background on the value of

a comprehensive test ban and on the early negotiations should read the

Parliamentary Research Service Current Issues Brief No.2, 'Are we finally

on track for a Comprehensive Test Ban', issued in August 1995.

Highlights Of Negotiations In The CD, Late 1995 And 1996

1995 Negotiations

Proceedings in the CD suffered several setbacks in 1995. First there was

the Chinese nuclear test in May 1995, just three days after the NPT

extension conference in New York had issued, by consensus, a document which

stipulated that:

Pending the entry into force of a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban

Treaty, the nuclear-weapon states should exercise utmost

restraint(1) (i.e. refrain from testing nuclear weapons)

A month later, on 13 June, President Chirac announced that France would

resume the testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific, with a series of

eight tests. Soon after there were reports that the US Pentagon favoured a

low-threshold test ban, permitting tests equal to several hundred tons of

TNT, rather than a comprehensive test ban. Then in August, India introduced

a new obstacle to progress with a demand that any test ban treaty should be

linked with a program for attaining total nuclear disarmament.

A major breakthrough came on 11 August with an announcement by President

Clinton that the US would pursue a zero-yield CTB with even hydronuclear

tests being excluded. This declaration by the major nuclear power gave a

new lease of life to the negotiations.

1996 Negotiations: 1st Session

The negotiations recommenced on 22 January 1996 with some optimism but also

a real consciousness that time was running out. The first month was not

promising, and it was obvious that the existing negotiating process,

working from the 'rolling text' with its many bracketed parts denoting

areas of disagreement, would not deliver a treaty by mid-year. On 29

February, Australia tabled at the Conference a 'model text' of a CTB

treaty, with explanatory notes. This text was produced after consideration

of the various national positions, and offered resolution of the bracketed

sections in the rolling text. The aim of this model treaty text was,

according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to 'assist

in...refocussing the negotiations, and giving an upward shift in their

style and pace'.(2)

Notable during the first session was the new enthusiasm of the French

delegation following the announcement by President Chirac on 29 January

that France had ended its controversial testing program in the South

Pacific, and would embark on a fresh campaign in favour of disarmament. On

the final day of this session, 29 March, the Chairman of the CD, the Dutch

diplomat Jaap Ramaker, took the Australian model text a step further by

tabling his own edited version of the rolling text. Although Ramaker's

working paper still included many sections of bracketed texts, it helped

focus activity on the key areas of disagreement.

However this first negotiating session of 1996 ended with the major issues

- the scope of the treaty, the nature of on-site inspections and the

provisions by which the treaty would enter into force - still unresolved.

One positive step came on 20 April, three weeks before the second session

began, when President Yeltsin, opening an eight-nation summit on nuclear

safety and security, promised to support a treaty that would prohibit all

nuclear tests and explosions. For most of 1994 and 1995, Russia had

favoured a test ban with a threshold yield as high as 80kt, although in

October 1995, President Yeltsin had indicated Russia's support in principle

for a zero-yield test ban.

On 25 April, Stephen Ledogar, the chief US negotiator, described the state

of the negotiations as 'depressing' and 'shameful', and warned that 'the

window of opportunity to accomplish this long-sought objective could close

very suddenly.' He also presaged a tougher attitude by the USA at the

Conference, claiming that 'US goodwill in this negotiation is being taken

for granted', and warning that 'the United States will not sign a document

that does not meet fundamental requirements'.(3)

1996 Negotiations: 2nd Session

The CD resumed on 13 May for a seven-week session, the conclusion of which

marked the deadline for producing an agreed text. Chairman Ramaker

immediately introduced a series of steps to expedite proceedings:

* meetings were now to take place at night as well as during the day

* a new negotiating method was introduced to replace the former method,

which had relied on two Working Groups, one dealing with verification

and one with legal and institutional issues. The Chairman now

appointed a series of 'moderators', each dealing with an area of the

treaty containing unresolved issues. Thus Australia serves as

moderator for the International Monitoring System and the

International Data Centre, and there are other moderators for such

matters as the entry into force provisions and on-site inspection.

* on 29 May, the Chairman presented a further document, 'A draft

comprehensive nuclear test ban'. This document is the result of

consultation with all parties, and attempts to capture a 'middle

ground' position on the disputed sections of the treaty. On most

issues it resembles Australia's model text, and is serving as the new

negotiating text.

There is a sense of urgency at the Conference as a series of intense

consultations take place between delegations. The focus, of course, is

particularly on the five nuclear weapon states (the US, the UK, France,

Russia and China) and the three 'threshold states' (India, Pakistan and

Israel), as they reconsider their negotiating positions.

China's Position on a CTBT

China's policies have caused some concern during the negotiations. Its most

troublesome positions have been on the issues of peaceful nuclear

explosions and on-site inspection.

Alone among the Conference members, China has insisted from the start that

peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs) be exempted from the test ban. Although

it claims to have no plans to conduct PNEs at present, it says it cannot

rule out forever the option of conducting PNEs for excavation or other

purposes. The problem with a PNE is that it is virtually impossible to

determine whether it is being used as a weapons test. A major breakthrough

came on 6 June when China's ambassador to the Conference announced that

China was abandoning its demand to be allowed to carry out PNEs. This has

largely resolved what has been the most fundamental and contentious

negotiating issue, namely the scope of the treaty, what activities the

treaty will ban. Certainly this concession was conditional on the issue of

PNEs being reconsidered in ten years at a treaty review conference.

However, insofar as China agreed that inclusion of PNEs in the treaty would

require consensus at any review conference, it does seem this condition is

to serve as a face-saving provision. Two days later, on 8 June, China

announced that after one more nuclear test in September, it would commence

a moratorium.

Some commentators have argued that China's hardline attitude on nuclear

tests has reflected an increasingly influential military anxious to develop

a missile capable of carrying more than one warhead. Its recent concessions

could indicate some success with this aim, but probably also show that

China is feeling the pressure of isolation as the treaty's deadline draws

near. To be known as the state that caused the failure of the CTBT would be

a harsh label for any government.

Another factor in China's backdown on PNEs could be its wish to concentrate

on other segments of the treaty which it considers more important. A key

issue here is the type of information which may be used as the basis of a

request for an on-site inspection. In Australia's model text - the on-site

inspection provisions of which are generally supported by a majority at the

Conference - data collected by any element in the treaty's verification

regime can be adequate to trigger an inspection request. Thus information

provided by spy satellites, which are included in the category of

'associated measures' in the verification regime in the model text, would

be sufficient. China wants to strictly limit data acceptable for an

inspection request to that obtained by the International Monitoring System,

thus excluding the use of intelligence. This would greatly weaken the

'challenge' inspection provision, the aim of which is to deter any secret

testing.

At present it appears positions are polarised on this and other aspects of

the on-site inspection provision, which has become probably the major

unresolved issue. On 25 April 1996, speaking on the question of the

information source which can be used to trigger an on-site inspection,

Stephen Ledogar warned:

For the United States, the answer to that will determine whether

we agree to participation in this treaty or not.(4)

It is interesting to look at the way Australia's model text handles the

problem of on-site inspection requests, with its attempt to bridge

differences by requiring different decision-making processes depending on

the information source providing the basis for the request. Thus if an

on-site inspection request is based on International Monitoring System

data, a majority vote by the CTBT implementing organisation is necessary to

block the request, whereas if the request is based solely on

non-International Monitoring System data, a majority vote is needed to

approve the request.

Right up to the late 1970s, on-site inspection was one of the chief issues

dividing the US and the Soviets in their negotiations towards a

comprehensive test ban. But since the mid-1980s a number of treaties have

come into force containing detailed and intrusive 'inspection on demand'

provisions. It would be most unfortunate if this issue emerged as a

treaty-breaker in 1996.

India's Position on a CTBT

India, together with Pakistan and Israel, is categorised as one of the

'threshold nuclear states', i.e. states which have the capability to

assemble nuclear weapons at short notice. In Israel's case there is also an

unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.

Unlike most countries in the world, India has a strong element in its

population which believe that nuclear weapons will confer upon the country

the status of a great power, regardless of its economic development. More

specifically, it is felt that India needs nuclear weapons to deter nuclear

threats from Pakistan and China. An India-wide opinion poll in December

1995 found that 62 per cent of respondents wanted India to develop nuclear

weapons to counter the nuclear threat posed by its neighbours. And the last

12 months have seen a vigorous intellectual debate taking place in the

Indian media on the advantages and disadvantages to India of a CTBT.

Because of its strategic views, India's traditional attitude to the Nuclear

Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970, has been that

it is discriminatory, allowing the five nuclear weapon powers to

proliferate vertically while denying horizontal proliferation. The

indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in May 1995 was seen

by India as a first step by the nuclear powers towards legitimising their

possession of nuclear weapons, with the CTBT being merely a follow-up

'ploy' to cement this monopoly. The test ban is thus being portrayed as a

check on India's ability to develop its nuclear capability and achieve

status as a nuclear power. Signing the treaty in its present form is thus

seen as constituting a weakening of its sovereignty.

India rejects a test ban which would operate only as an instrument of

non-proliferation, serving only to maintain the nuclear status quo. Instead

it advocates a test ban which would operate as an instrument of

disarmament, thus binding the nuclear states to make real reductions in

their stockpiles in return for the constraints which the treaty would

necessarily place on the threshold states. This position first emerged

during the latter half of 1995, as it sought to link the treaty to a

definite timetable for eliminating nuclear weapons. It has been difficult

to say whether this is a firm policy, for which India was prepared to

sabotage the treaty, or a bargaining ploy, aimed at extracting whatever

tangible concessions it could from countries such as the USA. It is known

that India wants to upgrade its own nuclear weapons potential to a point

where an advantage is reached in relation to Pakistan and China, and

technical help from the existing nuclear powers might be welcome.

On 20 June 1996, Ambassador Arundhati Ghose, the head of India's

delegation, made an ominously hardline statement on the matter, saying it

could not go along with the CTBT in its present form. However, it was not

clear from Ambassador Ghose's remarks whether India would exercise its veto

to block the treaty, or simply refuse to sign it. It was reported that

Ambassador Ghose also said: 'We're still in the negotiations....There's

still hope for compromise.' Two factors which probably contributed to this

hardline statement were China's nuclear test on 8 June and recent reports

in The Washington Times that Pakistan has deployed the M-11 missile

received from China.

There is general opposition to India's proposal in the CD, mainly because

of fear it would seriously delay or block the conclusion of the CTBT, but

also because there is as yet little agreement on the forum, timing and

conditions for advancing disarmament beyond the CTBT and the START

agreements.

While firmly opposing any linking of the treaty with a disarmament

timetable, the nuclear states have made slight concessions. On 12 March

this year, John Holum, director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament

Agency, acknowledged:

The CTBT itself will also amount to an indispensable step

relating to nuclear disarmament, which remains our ultimate

goal...(5)

At present it seems possible that the Indian position can be accommodated

in the treaty by means of a statement in the preamble, along the lines of

the preamble to the NPT, but offering much firmer commitment. A minimum

requirement would seem to be some mention of the need for a target date for

eliminating nuclear arsenals, without necessarily specifying a date.

Pakistan's Position on a CTBT

It is ironic that two countries which generally regard each other as their

worst enemies should be so closely aligned in policy at the CTB

negotiations. As India's policy has hardened during the last year, Pakistan

has tended to follow suit, demanding, for example, that the nuclear powers

should endorse a timetable for nuclear disarmament.

Another topic on which Pakistan and India agree is their criticism of the

US for its planned series of 'sub-critical' experiments, i.e. experiments

with plutonium which stop short of creating a nuclear reaction. This issue

constitutes the one remaining disagreement over the scope of the treaty,

with India and Pakistan arguing that allowing sub-critical underground

experiments would pave the way for nuclear weapon states to improve their

arsenals. The US insists that such tests are not aimed at developing new

nuclear weapons, but are needed to help maintain the safety and reliability

of its existing nuclear stockpile. The attitude of Eric Arnett, researcher

with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, to such

experiments is that banning them 'is unworkable because it would be

impossible to verify and unnecessary because of the small contribution

these activities make to modernisation'.(6)

It appears Pakistan's main concern with the CTB is to prevent India from

gaining any advantage. Since the Indian nuclear test in 1974, Pakistan's

nuclear policy has aimed at providing an effective deterrent to India. It

admits to having the capability to produce nuclear weapons but denies any

intention of doing so. Because a nuclear test would cause Pakistan to lose

more than it gained - arousing international condemnation and probably

inciting India to expand its nuclear arsenal - Pakistan generally supports

the CTB. As Eric Arnett comments:

India will be more affected by the CTB, since its bigger and more

ambitious nuclear programme is more in need of nuclear tests.(7)

However, just as Pakistan did not sign the NPT following the Indian refusal

to do so, it is most unlikely it will sign the CTBT if India does not sign.

The Non-Aligned Movement

Early in the CD's first session this year, it did seem that the non-aligned

movement(8) was going to start playing a significant part as a bloc in the

Conference. In January, when India insisted it would accept the CTBT only

if it was linked with a timetable to eliminate nuclear weapons, 21 other

non-aligned countries also criticised the nuclear powers for failing to

move towards total disarmament. However, they did stop short of demanding

the linking of disarmament with the test ban, and since then the nations

concerned seemed to have realised the need to resolve the remaining

contentious issues if they want a completed treaty.

Other Undecided Issues: The Entry Into Force Provisions

A number of major issues which were in dispute for most of 1994 and 1995

have now been resolved. For example, it has been decided that the

organisation to implement the treaty will be based in Vienna, separate

from, but closely coordinated with, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

And there are other issues which, although not yet decided, are unlikely to

delay completion of the treaty, e.g. the composition of the treaty's

governing council.

However, one significant issue which has been causing problems is the

provisions for the treaty's entry into force. There are three main

requirements which most countries participating at the CD consider it

important to meet:

* the number and composition of states parties at entry into force

should be adequate to enable effective financing of the CTBT

Organisation and effective implementation of the International

Monitoring System;

* all 'key' states should ratify the treaty before it enters into force.

States differ in their definition of what should constitute a 'key'

state for this purpose, e.g. some states, including China, Russia,

Pakistan and the United Kingdom, believe this should include both the

five nuclear weapon states and the three threshold states; others,

including the USA and France, regard ratification by only the five

nuclear weapon states as necessary for the treaty's entry into force.

* it is necessary to prevent entry into force being blocked by a delay

in ratification by any individual state.

It is obvious that if ratification by India and Pakistan, as threshold

states, is regarded as essential for the treaty's operation, there is a

danger that the treaty will never come into force because both states are

unlikely to sign, let alone ratify. Thus a formula must be found which can

resolve the dilemma if such a situation arose. In Australia's model text,

the solution is introduced in the form of a waiver. In the event of a

deadlock, the model text provides that a conference of the states which

have ratified the treaty can decide, by a two-thirds majority, to waive

other ratification requirements.

In the CD chairman's compromise text, presented on 29 May 1996, and now

serving as the negotiating text, the ratifications must include all the

countries housing the primary seismic facilities and all the countries

housing radionuclide facilities. As well as the five nuclear weapon states,

this includes both India and Pakistan, thus opening the way for a deadlock

to occur. There is need for inclusion of some provision similar to the

waiver provision to allow the treaty to come into force.

Some states, including Australia, would prefer not to nominate any 'key'

states, allowing the treaty to come into force when a minimum number of

unspecified ratifications, perhaps 65, have been received.

Australia's Role

In the United Nations

The Australian delegation at the CD has been among the most active of those

involved in the negotiations. This is understandable in view of Australia's

long record of bipartisan commitment to a CTBT dating from the 1970s.

Australia has traditionally sponsored, together with New Zealand, a United

Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for the negotiation of a

CTBT, and in August 1993, in collaboration with Nigeria and Mexico,

Australia brokered the original negotiating mandate setting in train the

CTBT negotiations in the CD.

At the Conference on Disarmament

At the Conference, Australia's chief contribution has been in taking

initiatives to give new momentum to the negotiations or to resolve

long-standing contentious issues. Early in the negotiations, in March 1994,

Australia presented a draft of the text of the treaty, entitled 'Australian

Resource Paper on Draft Treaty Elements'. This document, together with a

draft treaty text presented by Sweden, formed the foundation for the

'rolling text', created in September 1994, which has been the negotiating

text for most of the conference. Australia has also tabled a large number

of working papers designed to clarify outstanding issues and promote

Australian priorities.

On 29 February 1996, Australia presented the model treaty text already

mentioned in this paper. The Director of the US Arms Control and

Disarmament Agency, John Holum, described this Australian draft text as 'a

very positive development' and 'a catalyst' to move the negotiations

forward. Holum said the Australian proposal to resolve issues 'points the

way to breaking the logjam of going bracket-by-bracket'.(9)

During 1994 and much of 1995, a senior member of the Australian Delegation

was chairing a drafting group on the International Monitoring System within

the verification Working Group. Later he was appointed 'Friend of the

Chair' for the International Monitoring System, and recently, as part of

the CD Chairman's attempt to expedite proceedings, Australia was appointed

as 'moderator' for both the International Monitoring System and the

International Data Centre.

On the critical issue of scope, Australia's approach has always been that

the Treaty must be truly comprehensive, and this position was made known to

the nuclear weapon states repeatedly and emphatically. Australia has been

at the forefront of non-nuclear weapon states' opposition to any suggestion

for a threshold to allow for even very low-yield nuclear explosions,

arguing this would be totally incompatible with the intended comprehensive

nature of the CTBT.

Internationally

It could be argued that the most significant contribution by Australia has

been in its regular high-level consultations with key states. Australian

officials have regularly visited the capitals of the five nuclear weapon

states and of other key countries involved in the negotiations, to explain

such matters as our model text initiative and to seek support for the

intensification of the negotiating process.

In Australia

Australia has also made a significant contribution to the development of

the key component of the verification regime - the International Monitoring

System - by providing technical experts in the seismic, hydroacoustic,

infrasound and radionuclide technologies. These Australian experts, in

addition to participating in CTBT-related conferences internationally and

in the negotiations in Geneva, act as a consultative panel for the

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assist in the development of

Australian policy in the area of verification. By virtue of our geography

and our existing expertise and infrastructure, Australian facilities will

be crucial to the effective functioning of the International Monitoring

System: only Russia and the US will host more monitoring stations than

Australia.(10)

Conclusion

With the 28 June deadline less than two weeks away, there are still several

issues in contention, with China and India presenting the major obstacles

to the majority point of view. The dispute over on-site inspection appears

to offer the greatest threat to completion of the treaty. On-site

inspection is an important aspect of the verification regime, and an

effective treaty cannot allow much compromise in this area. At the time of

writing, it appears the opposing sides on the issue are poles apart, and if

China maintains its present position it is difficult to see any agreement.

Until recently it seemed India's demand, that the treaty be linked with a

timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons, could be resolved, but

time is running out, and concessions are needed on both sides. The

differences stem from opposing views of the objective of a CTBT; the US

sees the treaty only as a contribution to its anti-proliferation policy,

while India wants it to have a disarmament impact.

The value of a CTBT has been discussed in the Parliamentary Research

Service Current Issues Brief No.2, 'Are we finally on track for a

comprehensive test ban?, issued in August 1995. Perhaps the major value of

a treaty will be in preventing the modernisation of existing nuclear

arsenals. As Eric Arnett recently pointed out:

It is popularly believed that US simulation technology is so advanced that

it can practically replace testing. In fact, simulation technology is not

that advanced, even for modeling new weapons.(11)

What we can say is that a CTBT will have definite symbolic value, and that

failure to complete a treaty will be a major setback to the arms control

and disarmament regime.

Endnotes

1. 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on

the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Principles and Objectives

for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. 9 May 1995.

NPT/CONF.1995/L.5.

2. Australian Permanent Mission to Conference on Disarmament. Statement

by Michael Costello, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and

Trade. 'Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Negotiations'. 29 February 1996.

3. Judy Alta. Ledogar warns CTBT negotiations may fail. USIS Wireless

File, EPF 411. 25 April 1996.

4. Ibid.

5. Ledogar on progress toward comprehensive test ban treaty. Wireless

File. EPF207. 12 March 1996.

6. E. Arnett (ed). Nuclear weapons after the comprehensive test ban.

Oxford, SIPRI/OUP, 1996: 130.

7. Ibid: 81.

8. Formed in 1961, the non-aligned movement consists of countries which

do not adhere to the main East-West military and political blocks. The

current membership is around 109 countries.

9. J.S.Porth. Holum sees agreed CTBT draft possible by June. Wireless

File. EPF512. 8 March 1996.

10. Australia will host 20 stations in all (4 Primary Seismological

Stations; 3 Auxiliary Seismological Stations; 7 Radionuclide Stations;

1 Hydroacoustic Station; 5 Infrasound Stations).

The US will host 38 stations; Russia 31 stations; Canada 15 stations.

11. E. Arnett. Nuclear club gets clubbier. The Bulletin of the Atomic

Scientists. May/June 1996: 12.

Appendix: chronology of major events relevant to nuclear testing moratoriums and CTBT negotiotions

31 Oct. 1958

Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapon Tests, between

USSR, USA and UK, begins in Geneva. Each nation begins a moratorium on

nuclear testing soon after.

main contentious issue of negotiation: verification, especially

obligatory on-site inspections.

13 Feb. 1960

First French nuclear test.

29 Jan. 1962

Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapon Tests formally

ends, in deadlock.

breakdown in negotiations mainly due to the deteriorating

political climate, especially over the Berlin situation

25 April 1962

The USA resumes atmospheric testing.

31 Aug. 1962

Russia resumes testing.

1962-1963

Negotiations on the creation of a comprehensive test ban continue in

UN, especially in the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (which

later became the Conference on Disarmament).

5 Aug. 1963

Partial (or Limited) Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear weapon tests in

the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, signed (entered into

force 10 Oct. 1963). The preamble states that the parties are 'seeking

to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear

weapons for all time' and are determined to continue 'negotiations' to

this end.

16 Oct. 1964

First Chinese nuclear test.

1 July 1968

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed (entered into force 5 March

1970). The preamble reaffirms the statement in the preamble to the

1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty (see above).

9 May 1973

Australia and New Zealand institute proceedings against France in the

International Court of Justice in connection with the French nuclear

tests in the Pacific

8 May 1974

First and only Indian nuclear test.

8 June 1974

France announces it will move to underground testing after its next

series of tests.

3 July 1974

Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), agreeing to cease underground

nuclear weapon tests having a yield exceeding 150 kilotons, signed by

USSR and USA. (This Treaty did not enter into force until December

1990. See this chronology 1 June 1990).

20 Dec. 1974

The International Court of Justice finds that, since France has

announced its intention to cease atmospheric testing, the objective of

Australia and New Zealand in instituting proceedings against France

has been achieved and the claim of the applicants no longer has any

objective.

28 May 1976

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET) signed. (This Treaty did not

enter into force until December 1990. See this chronology 1 June

1990).

3 Oct. 1977

Negotiations on nuclear test ban begin in Geneva between USSR, USA and

UK (France and China refuse to take part).

Main contentious issue: stockpile reliability.

12 Nov. 1980

Geneva talks suspended following Soviet occupation of Afghanistan

(negotiations formally broken off by the US on 20 July 1982).

21 April 1982

Ad hoc Committee on Nuclear Test Ban established to discuss and define

issues of verification and compliance relating to a CTB.

6 Aug. 1985

USSR begins unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, aimed at

encouraging resumption of negotiations on nuclear testing (this

moratorium ceased after 19 months; no other nation had ceased

testing).

9 Nov. 1987

US-Soviet negotiations begin on nuclear test limitations, initially to

agree upon verification measures towards ratification of the 1974 TTBT

and the 1976 PNET.

8 Dec. 1987

The US and USSR sign the INF Treaty (entered into force 1 June 1988),

covering the elimination of their intermediate-range and short-range

missiles.

1 June 1990

New Protocols signed for the TTBT and PNET. The two Treaties finally

entered into force on 11 December 1990.

17 July 1990

The Conference on Disarmament agrees on a mandate for the Ad Hoc

Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban.

24 Oct. 1990

Last Soviet test.

19 Nov. 1990

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) signed

(entered into force 9 November 1992).

15 July 1991

Last French test until resumption in September 1995.

31 July 1991

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) signed (entered into

force 5 December 1994).

5 Oct. 1991

Soviet President Gorbachev announces a one year moratorium on testing.

26 Oct. 1991

Russian President Yeltsin endorses the moratorium announced on 5

October 1991 (the moratorium still continues).

26 Nov. 1991

Last UK test.

8 April 1992

French President Mitterand announces a suspension of French testing

until the end of 1992 (the moratorium continued until Sept. 1995).

23 Sept. 1992

Last US test.

25 Sept. 1992

Chinese test.

2 Oct. 1992

US President Bush signs into law the Hatfield amendment, attached to

Water and Energy Legislation, imposing a testing moratorium until 1

July 1993 and limiting US tests to 15 before a permanent cessation in

1996.

15 Nov. 1992

The Aust.-NZ-Mexican CTBT resolution adopted by the UN General

Assembly 136 in favour, 1 opposed (US) and 4 abstentions (UK, France,

China, Israel).

3 Jan. 1993

The second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) signed.

13 Jan. 1993

President Mitterand extends the French moratorium indefinitely.

23 April 1993

President Clinton announces that the US will begin consultations with

Russia, US allies and other states aimed at beginning negotiations

towards a multilateral test ban treaty.

3 July 1993

President Clinton announces that the US will extend its current

moratorium on nuclear testing at least until September 1994, provided

that no other nation tests before that time.

5 July 1993

President Yeltsin signs a decree extending the Russian testing

moratorium as long as no other country conducts a nuclear test. He

also instructs the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to begin

consultations with the other nuclear powers as soon as possible about

negotiating a CTBT.

July 1993

US commences consultations with the other nuclear weapon states plus

Germany, Japan and India concerning a CTBT.

10 Aug. 1993

The Conference on Disarmament agrees to the Nuclear Test Ban Ad Hoc

Committee beginning negotiations on a CTBT from the start of the 1994

session. The decision was modelled on a draft decision submitted by

Australia, Mexico and Nigeria.

5 Oct. 1993

Chinese test.

16 Dec. 1993

UN General Assembly adopts by consensus a resolution, sponsored by

Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, calling for negotiation of a CTBT.

25 Jan. 1994

CTBT negotiations begin in the Conference on Disarmament.

3 Feb. 1994

CTBT negotiations begin in the Conference on Disarmament's Ad Hoc

Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban.

14 March 1994

President Clinton extends the US moratorium until at least September

1995.

30 March 1994

Australia presents draft treaty text to the Ad Hoc Committee on a

Nuclear Test Ban.

10 June 1994

Chinese test.

5 Sept. 1994

Conference on Disarmament's Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban, in

its report to the Conference on Disarmament, produces CTBT rolling

text.

7 Oct. 1994

Chinese test. China says it will end tests when negotiations on a CTBT

are completed.

15 Dec. 1994

For the second year running, UN General Assembly adopts (with the P5

among the co-sponsors for the first time) a consensus resolution

calling on the 'conclusion without delay' of CTBT negotiations in the

Conference on Disarmament.

30 Jan. 1995

US extends its moratorium until the CTBT enters into force, on the

assumption that the Treaty will be signed before 30 September 1996;

and withdraws its proposal for a right to special withdrawal from the

CTBT after ten years.

2 Feb. 1995

Conference on Disarmament's Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban

resumes negotiations on a CTBT.

17 April 1995

NPT Review and Extension Conference begins in New York.

11 May 1995

NPT Extension Conference's consensus document 'Principles and

Objectives' includes a commitment to complete a CTBT 'no later than

1996', plus a direction that:

'Pending the entry into force of a Comprehensive

Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty, the nuclear-weapon States should

exercise utmost restraint.'

15 May 1995

Chinese test.

13 June 1995

President Chirac announces a series of eight tests to be carried out

between September 1995 and May 1996 at Mururoa Atoll (in face six

tests were held).

11 August 1995

President Clinton announces that the USA will pursue a zero-yield CTB,

with even Hydronuclear Tests being excluded.

17 August 1995

Chinese test.

21 August 1995

New Zealand requests the International Court of Justice reactivate the

1973 case on French testing.

22 Sept. 1995

The International Court of Justice rejects the New Zealand request to

reopen the 1973 case.

Sept. 1995 to Jan. 1996

Six French tests:

5 Sept. 1995

1 Oct. 1995

27 Oct. 1995

21 Nov. 1995

27 Dec. 1995

27 Jan. 1996

29 Feb. 1996

Australia tables 'model treaty text' in Conference on Disarmament.

8 June 1996

China's 44th test. Announcement that after one more test in September,

China would commence a moratorium.

Glossary

Hydronuclear Experiment

A test in which part of the plutonium or highly enriched uranium in a

nuclear device is replaced by passive material i.e. natural uranium or

depleted uranium. A small number of atoms fission, and the resulting

yield is extremely small, around two kilograms of TNT equivalent.

Nuclear Weapon States

Refers to the five declared nuclear weapon powers, the USA, Russia,

the UK, France and China.

Peaceful Nuclear Explosion

Application of a nuclear explosion for non-military purposes such as

digging canals or harbours or creating underground cavities. The USA

terminated its PNE programme in the 1970s. The USSR conducted its last

PNE in 1988.

Threshold Nuclear States

States which are not declared nuclear powers but which have the

capacity to assemble nuclear weapons on short notice.

The following four verification technologies form the International

Monitoring System:

Seismic monitoring

Operates through a network of seismic stations and arrays detecting

low-frequency seismic waves. An international seismic network is the

core of the verification regime. Explosions as low as one kiloton

yield can be detected reliably.

Hydroacoustic monitoring

A method of detecting nuclear explosions detonated at sea by means of

a network of acoustic sensors.

Infrasound monitoring

Utilises sensitive barometric arrays to pick up pressure waves in the

atmosphere.

Radionuclide monitoring

Involves the extraction of the products of nuclear tests from the

atmosphere by large volume air sampling.