Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte did attend and made a proprosal on nonproliferation to the 27 foreign ministers in attendance. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Chris Hill briefed the press yesterday in Manila, saying of ARF nonproliferation efforts that:
“we believe that this is the type of issue for which the ARF is ideally suited -- and we had a very good tete-a-tete on that issue. There are some technical problems that remain, but I’m confident that we can find a resolution. And I think the ARF can make a contribution in this field.”Abdul Khalik of the Jakarta Post reports a slightly different version from Manila:
“Indonesia on Thursday blocked a U.S. proposal to stop the spread of nuclear weapons during the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Manila because it did not include efforts toward disarmament…the U.S. then changed the wording of the proposal, but the proposal was dropped because Indonesia insisted the issue of disarmament must be included.”Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, who blocked the proposal, explained the connection:
"There's a slightly different approach in the sense that to us nuclear non-proliferation should be seen in the full context, not in separation with other elements, namely disarmament and cooperation on nuclear technology. That's why we suggested that perhaps we should add more elements in the area of cooperation if we're going to develop it in the context of ARF."Nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament are organically linked through the international legal rule of sovereign equality embodied in Article 2(1) of the United Nations Charter. These objectives are also legally linked through the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which embodies the global norm of nuclear nonproliferation and binds it explicitly to progress toward the ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament in Article VI.
The gentle reminder from our friends in Manila serves the longstanding U.S. interest in enduring nonproliferation and disarmament and hopefully regional cooperation toward these entwined objectives will be strengthened by the exchange (and those observing from the United States will take this important feedback into account in planning for our ongoing efforts toward compliance with Article VI of the NPT). One may wonder if Secretary Rice would have been more successful in swaying her peers than her Deputy was, but we’ll never know because, as Benjamin Disraeli observed, "History is made by those who show up."