NEW YORK - Vietnam's Permanent Representative to the United Nations said the country was willing to work closely with other states to strengthen nuclear weapons-free zones.
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga was speaking at the third Conference of States, Parties and Signatories of Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zones at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
She said that over the years, nuclear weapons-free zones had proved to be essential for the maintenance of international peace and security, including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
She added that the establishment of these zones showed the aspiration of member states for better international and regional security, avoidance of power politics and the promotion of peaceful environment for development and prosperity.
Nga cited the establishment and consolidation of these zones in Africa, Central Asia, South-east Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and South Pacific.
She said Mongolia's nuclear-free status also contributed significantly to nuclear non-proliferation as well as regional security co-operation.
"Vietnam therefore welcomes recent progress in the work in the implementation of the treaties that establish the nuclear weapons-free zones," she said. "We consider the signing by nuclear-weapons states of the Protocol to the Treaty on Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Central Asia is an important step forward.
"We share the call for the establishment of such zones in (new) regions, including in the Middle East. In this regard, we share the view that the convening of an international conference, as soon as possible, on this important issue, would be a significant contribution to global efforts, especially to the credibility and effectiveness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," she said.
Nga said ASEAN states treated regional stability and security with great importance. In 1995, ASEAN concluded the Bangkok Treaty to establish the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones (SEANWFZ) to ensure the total absence of nuclear weapons in the region.
She said that over the years, ASEAN had made great efforts to extend the framework established by the Treaty. Under the Plan of Action for 2013-2017. ASEAN states had also strengthened their adherence to relevant international instruments, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
"Vietnam is also strongly committed to the strengthening of the SEANWFZ. In our development of nuclear infrastructure for peaceful use of nuclear energy, we abide by relevant international standards to ensure transparency, safety and security.
"Since our last conference in 2010, Vietnam has ratified the Additional Protocol and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We have co-operated closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as other partners, especially on capacity building and technical assistance.
"We have been actively engaged in international efforts in this area, including by fulfilling the responsibilities as chair of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Association during the past two years," the Vietnamese representative said.
Held every five years, the conference brought together representatives from over 100 member countries of nuclear-weapons-free zones, and observer organisations.