Written by Roland G. Simbulan
All ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEA-NWFZT) on 15 December1995 in Bangkok. The ‘Bangkok Treaty’, as it became known, entered into force on 28 March 1997.
The NWFZT is considered a model for regional de-nuclearization. The treaty covers not just state territory but also Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Continental Shelves. It prohibits the dumping or discharge of radioactive material or nuclear waste. This is why, predictably, even today, all five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), Russia, the US, China, the UK and France, refuse to sign its Protocols. But are the states of Southeast Asia, genuinely Nuclear Weapons-Free today?