Statement regarding Recent Missile Tests by the DPRK, US, Russia and India released

July 19, 2006
July 19, 2006

Mayors for Peace Statement regarding Recent Missile Tests
by the DPRK, US, Russia and India

On July 5 Korean time, the ‘4th of July’ US time, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea tested several missiles, including a long-range, multi-stage missile, the so-called Taepodong-2, which exploded after launch. Following weeks of speculation and international protest, it seems the DPRK timed these tests as a direct affront to the United States, not to mention the immediate threat to Japan. On behalf of an international network of cities devoted to peace and the abolition of all nuclear weapons, we must voice our outrage at both the gratuitous insult and the callous threat.

Within the last four weeks, altogether four countries have tested missiles. On June 14, the United States launched a nuclear-capable missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California that flew 6000 miles and hit the Kwajelein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. On June 30, Russia launched a Tula ballistic missile that flew from the Barents Sea across ten time zones to Kamchatka. On July 10, India launched its new, long-range Agni III missile from the Orissa Coast which fell short of its intended target 1800 miles away, crashing into the Bengal Sea. In this context, we cannot, as many others seem inclined to do, limit our condemnation to the DPRK.

Ironically, this four week period coincides with the 10th anniversary of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on nuclear threats. The Court unanimously found that all nuclear-armed nations are obliged “to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.” Out of respect for the Court, the world’s foremost legal authority, Mayors for Peace dedicating its 2020 Vision Campaign to ensuring that nations consistently display such good faith in word and deed. “All aspects” of nuclear disarmament clearly include the testing of nuclear-weapon delivery systems, particularly long-range missiles. The testing of nuclear-capable missiles is an act of bad faith, as it directly undermines successful nuclear disarmament negotiations. Since testing aims to enhance the capability of a nation to use nuclear weapons, the Court’s finding that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons is generally unlawful, applies to nuclear-missile testing as well.

On behalf of our cities and the almost 1400 other cities that are members of Mayors for Peace, our Good Faith Challenge to all governments worldwide is to immediately terminate all work on nuclear-capable missiles and to begin without any further delay comprehensive negotiations on what our citizens overwhelming want and what our children surely deserve: a nuclear-weapon-free world.