THAILAND PREPARING TO RATIFY ARMS TRADE TREATY
>> Thailand is still preparing to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an international treaty aimed at regulating the international trade in conventional arms, after it became a signatory in late 2014.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai told the Bangkok Post that Thailand will become a state party of the treaty “when it is ready”.
ATT president Klaus Korhonen, who is an ambassador from Finland, in March toured several Asian capitals, visiting Beijing, Jakarta and Bangkok to promote the treaty. He expressed hope that Thailand would ratify the ATT soon.
The ATT was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to prevent and eradicate illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms including battle tanks; armoured combat vehicles; large-calibre artillery systems; combat aircraft; attack helicopters; warships; missiles and missile launchers; and small arms and light weapons.
No Asean countries are currently ATT state parties. Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are already signatories.
“Thailand is a very active participant in the international community and in the field of arms control. Thailand is quite advanced already in the process to become a state party,” Mr Korhonen said after a meeting with Thai authorities.
On a separate note, Panitan Wattanayagorn, an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, said there are a lot of technical details, such as detailed information regarding arms and ammunition in Thailand’s possession, that need to be worked out in order to fully comply with the ATT.
Each state party of the ATT is required to establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of conventional arms components and ammunition/ munitions fired, launched or delivered by conventional arms.
In addition, each member needs to develop national laws, national control lists and other regulations and administrative measures.
ATT state parties are also required to submit an annual report to the ATT secretariat concerning authorised or actual exports and imports of conventional arms.
“Countries face different kinds of challenges related to arms control in different regions of the world. We have armed conflicts, terrorist attacks and organised crime, which all use conventional arms. These are phenomena across borders. Nobody can deal with this alone so we need cooperation between neighbours and regions. We also need to make the global environment more safe and better regulated,” the ATT president said.
“The armed conflict in Syria and the consequent human suffering underline the importance to continue work for peace, for non-profileration of weapons and also for disarmament,” he told the Bangkok Post.
Currently, the ATT has 92 state parties including Australia, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Honduras is the latest member and ratified the treaty on March 1.
Among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, only France and the United Kingdom are ATT state parties.
The United States is currently only a signatory while China and Russia have not adopted the treaty.
China and Indonesia are not signatories of the ATT, but from the discussion during the trips, both countries have a friendly attitude towards the treaty, said Mr Korhonen.