The Jakarta Post
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) conference for Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Far East opened on Monday, aiming to encourage the ratification of the treaty by member states.
The CTBT is a multilateral treaty, by signing states agree to ban all nuclear explosion tests.
Since its adoption by the UN on Sept. 10, 1996, 183 countries have signed the treaty and 162, including Indonesia, have ratified it.
However, the treaty has yet to be effective because eight of the ten states that own nuclear weapons ' China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States ' have either not signed or ratified the treaty.
The world has about 4,000 active nuclear warheads and some 16,400 warheads in 2014, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
These are owned by the eight states yet to sign or ratify, and also the United Kingdom and France, which have both ratified the CTBT.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa raised the urgency of having all states sign and ratify the treaty to increase the promotion of nuclear prevention.
'Unless we are more urgent in reaping and taking advantage of the potential dividend [of the CTBT], I feel that the situation will change so fast and so fundamentally that future generations will [ask] why did we miss this strategic opportunity?' he said in his welcoming speech at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Central Jakarta.
Executive secretary of the CTBT organization preparatory commission Lassino Zerbo, also said, '['¦] until the treaty is legally locked in, there will always be the chance of going back to the days of nuclear testing'.
'As a region that has been deeply scarred by nuclear testing in the past, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Far East countries can help break the spell of complacency and build on the momentum needed to enforce the treaty,' he said.
Indonesia ratified the treaty in 2012, followed by five more countries, the latest being Niue in the South Pacific. Zerbo said it was high time that the remaining countries follow Indonesia, who was the 157th country to ratify the treaty, as it had existed for more than 18 years.
Zerbo added that it was high time for the remaining countries to follow Indonesia's lead as the treaty has existed for almost 18 years.
Citing that the 'strategic window of opportunity' might be closing, Marty added: 'The international environment and the relations between states in both a regional and global sense, is increasingly unpredictable.'
Recently, China established an oil rig in a disputed patch of the South China Sea, triggering racial riots in several cities in Vietnam last week that caused the death of two and injured more than 130 Chinese nationals. As a result, China has since suspended bilateral exchanges with Vietnam.
Marty and Vice President Boediono attended the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, between March 24 to 25, as part of the government's efforts to raise awareness on nuclear security issues, such as the possibility of weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups. (fss)
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