Keep Pacific region nuke-free: Roque

Keep Pacific region nuke-free: Roque

MANILA – UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has strongly opposed any deployment of nuclear warheads in the Pacific region amid the raging Russia-Ukraine war.

“Nuclear weapons are illegal because they are incapable of distinction under humanitarian law, as well as cause unspeakable suffering and destruction to mankind and the ecology,” Roque, a former presidential spokesperson, said in a news release on Thursday.

Roque is concerned about a proposed nuclear-sharing deal between the United States and Japan because it is against the United Nations (UN) Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Adopted in 2017 and ratified in 2021, the TPNW is a legally binding instrument that prohibits and calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. While the Philippines is a state party to the UN treaty, both Japan and US are non-signatories.

The TPNW also prohibits deploying nuclear weapons on national territory and assists any state in prohibited activities.

Roque said nuclear weapons in Japan could escalate the US-China tensions and threaten regional security and stability.

“All UN member states should comply with Article 2, Section 3 of the Charter, which encourages every nation to resolve disputes peacefully,” Roque said.

“In terms of foreign policy, member nations should also strictly adhere to the UN Charter Article 2, Section 4 that prohibits the use of force,” he added.

Roque, an international law expert, said the mere possession of nuclear weapons would constitute a threat of use of force which is equally prohibited under the Charter.

“The hosting of weapons of mass destruction in any part of the region is also inconsistent with the Bangkok Treaty adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and our constitution,” he said.

In 1995, the Asean Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone declared the region free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution, meanwhile, states that the country adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has rejected the recent call of his predecessor that they host American nuclear weapons.

According to a Kyodo News report, Kishida was elected from Hiroshima prefecture, which was heavily devastated by US atomic bombs in World War II.

The UN Treaty bans the development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, using, and making threats to use nuclear weapons. (PNA)

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