TWENTY years have passed since the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEA-NWFZT) was signed, on Dec. 15, 1995 in Bangkok by all the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. Designated as the "Bangkok Treaty", the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty was entered into force (EIF) on March 28, 1997.
The first Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty after the Cold War, the Bangkok Treaty is considered a model for regional de-nuclearization. According to Dr. Hiro Umebayashi, Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition of Nagasaki University, this is because "it applies not just to territories but includes in its coverage Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelves." It also prohibits the dumping or discharge of radioactive material or nuclear waste in its area of coverage. This is why, predictably, even today, all the five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) which include Russia, the U.S., China, U.K. and France refuse to sign its Protocols. But are the states of Southeast Asia, genuine Nuclear Weapons-Free states today?