Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Phoebe Smith. SUPPLIED/ 23081147
Nearly four decades since the Treaty of Rarotonga was signed, which established the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, it is more important than ever before, writes Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Phoebe Smith.
other countries of the South Pacific, Australia wants a world free of nuclear weapons
and is proud to be part of the Pacific’s leading example to the world, of a
region dedicated to peace.
past Sunday marked 38 years since Australia joined the Cook Islands and six
other partners in the South Pacific Forum (now the Pacific Islands Forum) signing
the Treaty of Rarotonga, in 1985.
the Treaty was signed, the 6th of August, coincided with the anniversary
of the bombing of Hiroshima.
Treaty contributes to world peace and security.
requires Australia, the Cook Islands and other countries that have signed up,
not to manufacture or possess nuclear explosive devices.
prevents the stationing and testing of such devices.
Pacific knows how catastrophic this can be, with first-hand experience of the
terrible impacts of nuclear testing.
Treaty reflects the commitment Australia, the Cook Islands and the Pacific
family have to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and achieve the ambition
of a world without nuclear weapons.
So it makes
a wider global contribution, influencing other agreements that have helped prevent
the spread, use and testing of nuclear weapons.
Treaty of Rarotonga represents a truly united Pacific effort, the result of a
decade’s work by Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands and others to
create a South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone.
unfortunate that since the treaty was signed, the threat of conflict has grown
including in our part of the world.
strongly believes that small and medium countries must be able to make
independent choices, in their best interests.
countries must not be able to dominate smaller countries.
country believes they can successfully dominate another, the region becomes
unstable and the risk of conflict increases.
why Australia is investing in new technology, including AUKUS submarines, to
help keep our region peaceful.
submarines will be built in partnership with the UK and United States, and not
have nuclear weapons but will be nuclear powered.
is open and clear with Pacific partners on our approach and maintaining the
highest standards of environmental protection and nuclear safety.
Cook Islands is chair of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2023, and Australia appreciates its leadership on a range of issues.
As with the Treaty of Rarotonga, the Pacific Islands Forum, under Cook Islands’ leadership, can act together to build a more peaceful, prosperous and resilient region.
was grateful for Cook Islands’ leadership in 1985 and we remain grateful for
that leadership today.