Intervention by Federal Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, 27 March 2012
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I wish to thank the Republic of Korea for hosting this second Nuclear Security Summit.
We are here because securing nuclear materials is a common global challenge. In an age marked by globalization and international terrorism, a lack of security in only one of our countries poses a safety risk to us all. A chain is always only as strong as its weakest link.
Preventive security policy in this domain requires three things: First, we must strengthen non‑proliferation, including the relevant treaties and instruments.
Second, we must make progress on nuclear disarmament. And third, we must make absolutely sure that we have put in place the best possible security measures to safeguard nuclear materials. This includes materials for civilian purposes.
Here in Seoul, the dangers of proliferation are ever present. The curtailment of enrichment activities announced by North Korea at the end of February, and its preliminary halting of further nuclear testing, send a positive, although long overdue, signal. This must however still be measured against North Korea’s real actions. Here, I would like to underscore that Germany considers North Korea’s recently announced plans to launch a satellite by using ballistic missile technology to be in clear violation of the relevant UN resolutions. This seriously calls into question the confidence-building measures that are just getting under way.
Iran, too, must finally put an end to its non‑cooperative behaviour, and dispel, in a transparent and comprehensible way, the reasonable doubts about the aims of its nuclear programme. I urgently call on Iran to seize the opportunity for the resumption of talks. Because we need a diplomatic solution, the international community must maintain pressure on Iran through sanctions.
Non‑proliferation and disarmament are two sides of the same coin and part of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. I am pleased that these topics are again on the international agenda. In 2010, the Parties to the Non‑Proliferation Treaty reaffirmed their commitment to “Global Zero”, a world free of nuclear weapons. Germany welcomes President Obamas commitments made at this summit to a new approach to nuclear disarmament, including tactical nuclear weapons.
Nuclear security is a precondition for non‑proliferation. Following the successful 2010 summit on the protection of weapons-grade materials, we must now focus on civilian uses. These, too, pose a risk, especially with regard to the danger of a “dirty bomb”.
Less than 10 states possess nuclear weapons, and only some 30 have nuclear power plants. Yet almost every country in the world has many other radioactive sources. These are often indispensable in medicine, research, and industry. We must, however, act to prevent their misuse to the same extent that we do for dangerous radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, just to name an example. Enhanced nuclear security has been proven to increase overall operational safety.
Also based on our national actions, Germany has developed proposals that many of you have already expressly supported. Thank you for your engagement. I welcome the fact that we are also using this Summit to support those states that are still lacking capabilities in this domain.
We must consistently pursue efforts to strengthen all three pillars of our programme of work: disarmament, non‑proliferation, as well as the responsible and safe civilian use of nuclear materials.
I thank you.