Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | May 18, 2018

CTBTO welcomes North Korea’s announcement to join ‘efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests’

On Tuesday 15 May, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament that the “Discontinuation of nuclear tests and follow up measures are an important process for global disarmament and DPRK will join international disarmament efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests.”

While Han did not explicitly mention the CTBTO, the organization’s Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo has commended this initial step as an encouraging one. However, with calls for “a permanent and irreversible closure that can be inspected and fully accounted for,” Zerbo points to the CTBTO having “the required expertise, unique verification technology and the much needed international credibility to confirm and monitor the closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear-weapon test site.” Although the CTBTO has not yet received a request to attend the event, the Executive Secretary also made it known that a team for deployment could be put together in a week. In addition, the fact that North Korea has not signed the CTBT “is not an impediment to make our technology available for the international community,” said Zerbo.

In the event that CTBTO is asked to contribute to verifying the dismantlement in the long term, a formal invitation or agreement would be required. The work would then be carried out with CTBTO inspectors in the field in North Korea, but also through the analysis of data received by various measurement stations that the CTBTO has certified around the Korean Peninsula. Verification would take “weeks” and could involve setting up “micro-arrays” of noble gas and spectral imaging equipment within a 50-kilometer (30-mile) radius of the test site, says Zerbo.

Indeed, what is crucial is that “in times of tension and insecurity, what we need is to make full use and promote extensively what we already have. These are – effectively verifiable and credibly enforceable negotiated agreements,” said Zerbo whilst addressing the situation on the Korean Peninsula at a panel on “Effective Multilateralism in a globalized world – The case of Europe and Asia Pacific” on 16 May.

With a lot at stake in light of the recent developments in North Korea’s political decisions, “Let us not reinvent the wheel. We already have the necessary tools. What is needed is the political will of states to use them,” concludes Zerbo in his speech.


Dr. Lassina Zerbo , Executive Secretaty of the Preparatory Commision for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation

For more information, consult the following sources:

Lassina Zerbo OSCE speech



AFP/The Straits Times

La Vanguardia in Spanish



  1. […] treaty is a feasible concession for Kim to offer Trump. And the experts of the CTBTO are uniquely prepared to verify the permanent closure of Punggye-ri. Most importantly, the CTBT offers the best prospects for quickly rolling back elements of the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: