Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has pledged that Beijing is willing to become the first nuclear-armed state to sign a treaty that makes Southeast Asia a nuclear weapons-free zone, The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
The ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are signatories to a 1997 treaty that bans nukes in the region. Under the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty), the ASEAN states pledged “not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons, station or transport nuclear weapons by any means, or test or use nuclear weapons.”
Qin made the pledge on Monday during a meeting with Kao Kim Hourn, the secretary-general of the ASEAN. “China is willing to take the lead in signing the protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaty and advocate with ASEAN for solidarity and win-win cooperation to safeguard regional security and stability,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said back in 2021 that he would sign the treaty a few months after the US, Britain, and Australia signed the AUKUS military pact that will provide Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines. Qin’s pledge comes about two weeks after the US, Britain, and Australia unveiled their plans for AUKUS.
According to the Post, China’s offer to sign the treaty is an effort to counter AUKUS and other US efforts to build blocs against China in the region. Also on Monday, Kao had a separate meeting with Wang Yi, who is senior to Qin and considered China’s top diplomat.
Wang criticized the US efforts to build up against China in the region. “We must maintain the peaceful development environment that we have jointly created over the past decades, resolutely resist the cold war mentality, and oppose attempts to create confrontation between major powers and camps,” Wang said.
China and four ASEAN members have overlapping claims to the South China Sea, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia. Beijing wants to establish a code of conduct with the ASEAN states to handle issues in the disputed waters without interference from the US.
32 thoughts on “China Willing to Sign Treaty to Make Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone”
Any country agreeing not to use nuclear weapons is commendable. Unlike the UK, Russia and America that have now started nuclear Russian roulette with the lives of EVERYONE on the planet on the line.
The US comes to Southeast Asia with a military alliance and nuclear weapons. China engages its neighbors by cooperatively creating a nuclear free zone. US provides Saudi Arabia with weapons, logistical support and intelligence in its war against the Houthi in Yemen. The US also uses the Abraham accords to unite Israel with the Persian Gulf shiekdoms in an alliance to support Israel’s undeclared war against Iran. China counters by brokering an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran that gives KSA the chance of a face saving withdrawal from Yemen and that undermines the US/Israeli anti-Iran agenda. The US, UK encourage war between and Russia and Ukraine and supply weapons to keep the war going while China proposes a diplomatic solution that has led Zelenskyy and Macron to, at least tentatively, explore the possibility of a peaceful settlement of the war.
China and India are the only nuclear powers to have declared no first strike policies.
Since 9/11 US armed forces have been continuously engaged in wars abroad. Russian armed forces have been in conflicts every year since the breakup of the USSR except 1998 (plus USSR’s ten year war in Afghanistan 1979-1989. By contrast China has not been engaged in a war since the one month war against Vietnam in 1979. China and India have turned their border dispute into a non-shooting war fought with snowballs, rocks and clubs.
China’s ascendency to becoming the leading national power in the 21stcentury seems assured. I hope China continues its policy of seeking peaceful win-win solutions in international affairs. So far the results are promising.
Like an artist China is setting the contrast to show off the US as a lunatic war-state, a danger to all mankind.
Agree. The winds of prosperity seem to favor China. Trumps/Biden’s efforts to cripple China may consolidate power in the US, but middle class consumers have already been hurt, and I think it’s going to get worse until we lose this zero-sum game mentality.
I hate to see so much power vested in the person of Xi. But our own President has become far too powerful. It’s becoming, to borrow from Khrushchev, a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Our own system is profoundly broken.
A lot of Americans don’t appreciate that the policies we associate with Xi are actually the continuation of the CCP’s policies going back almost 50 years.
When Russia entered the civil war in Ukraine to support the independent Republics, team Biden called it an invasion, implied that this was just the first move in an effort to rebuild the Soviet Union, and warned Sweden and Finland that they could be next.
Now, team Biden is doing everything in its power to portray China as a military threat to all of its neighbors. But China is getting very good at countering these charges, and they’re doing it with a charm offensive.
It puts politicians in a very bad light to criticize an offer to establish a no-nuke agreement in ASEAN countries. If such an agreement is reached, the US won’t be permitted to establish a nuclear battleground in Asia. Such an agreement might become Biden’s worst nightmare in that region.
China is acting in a very similar fashion as how the US would. They’re not a good guy. They’re trying to say ‘we’re the only East Asian country allowed to have nukes’. This is in no way a legitimate attempt at peace. It’s an attempt to consolidate military strength in the region.
You would view a statement and action like this from the US with this level of criticism. You should apply the same to China. US is no better than China and China is no better than the US.
Your comment makes no sense. The Treaty obliges States Parties not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons, station or transport nuclear weapons, or test or use nuclear weapons. China is willing to sign it. The US is not.
The record of US policy is really very clear. The US will not agree to “no first use”. (China has.) Both the ABM treaty and the INF treaty were rescinded when the US thought it had a way to minimize retaliation against a first strike. And, of course, there is only 1 country in the world to have actually used a nuclear weapon.
But China already has nuclear weapons lol. You’re missing the point. You’re not understanding what China is really saying and trying to do. I’m not saying anything about China vs. US here. I’m also not saying SEA countries should get nukes. China is willing to sign onto a deal wherein their neighbor’s agree to not posses, make, etc. Nuclear weapons. But China does have nuclear weapons. This is about ensuring their authority in the region. Of course they would sign an agreement like this. What is the cost to them? Nothing.
It’s similar to how the US acts. Selfish interests.
Let us ALL hope so….
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So let me get this right… China, a nuclear power, is willing to sign an agreement that Southeast Asian nations, who have already signed a non nuclear proliferation treaty, don’t get nukes. Wow. How brave. They’re such good guy.
Seriously, what is this even? Is China giving up their nukes? No. They just want to ensure any potential regional rivals don’t get them. This shouldn’t been seen as them trying to bring peace. This is just an attempt at asserting themselves further as the regional hegemon.
Should the SEA countries get nukes? No. Should the US get rid of their nukes to relieve the anxiety of China that they might be used against them? Yes. But China should also be willing to get rid of their nukes. But they’re not going to do that. They are also a bully. They are also a bad guy. Just because the US is a bully and a bad guy doesn’t mean China isn’t.
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