THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, which is also known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, establishes a nuclear free zone in the South Pacific. The Treaty prohibits the testing, manufacture, acquisition and stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes at sea.
The Treaty also requires all parties to apply full scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A comprehensive control system has been established to verify compliance with the Treaty and there are mechanisms, including provision for mandatory on-site inspection, to assure compliance.
The Treaty affirms the right of each party to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields. It also explicitly upholds the freedom of navigation on the high seas and passage through territorial waters guaranteed by international law.
The Treaty has three Protocols. Under Protocol 1, the United States, France and the United Kingdom are required to apply the basic provisions of the Treaty to their respective territories in the zone established by the Treaty. The Treaty will therefore apply to American Samoa and Jarvis Island. Under Protocol 2, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China agree not to use or threaten to use nuclear explosive devices against any party to the Treaty or to each others territories located within the zone. Under Protocol 3, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China agree not to test nuclear explosive devices within the zone established by the Treaty.
The Treaty was opened for signature on August 6, 1985 in Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands. All members of the South Pacific Forum are eligible to accede to the Treaty. The Treaty entered into force December 11, 1986. The Protocols were opened for signature on August 8, 1986 in Suva, Fiji.
The following states and freely associated governments have acceded to the Treaty: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Western Samoa. China and Russia are party to Protocols 2 and 3 of the Treaty but did not accede to Protocol 1 since neither has territories within the zone.
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