Jakarta. China recently pledged to take its ties with ASEAN to greater heights, among others, by backing the Southeast Asian bloc’s nuclear-weapon-free treaty.
China reaffirmed its readiness to ink the protocol to the treaty when its senior diplomat Wang Yi visited the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Monday.
“We will continue to support ASEAN's efforts in building a nuclear-weapon-free zone and reaffirm that China is ready to sign the protocol to the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone at any time,” Wang Yi said at the ASEAN Secretariat.
According to Wang Yi, over the past years, China has made several historic milestones in its ties with ASEAN, among others, in regard to the country’s support to help keep the Southeast Asian region free of nuclear arms.
“[China was] the first to publicly express its willingness to sign the protocol to the Southeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
In 1995, the ten ASEAN member states, including Indonesia, agreed to a nuclear weapons moratorium treaty known as the Bangkok Treaty.
The protocol for this treaty is open for signature by the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, namely China, France, the UK, the US, and Russia.
The protocol obliges its signatories not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons within the zone or against any state party to the treaty. To date, none of the nuclear-weapon states has penned the protocol.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to sign the protocol as early as possible. Xi Jinping made this commitment at last year's China-ASEAN Special Summit, which marked the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations between the two sides.