From JCP Executive Committee Report for 6th CC Plenum—on International Issues
The Japanese Communist Party on September 20 and 21 held its 6th Central Committee Plenum at the JCP head office in Tokyo. The plenum unanimously adopted the Executive Committee report and concluding remarks made by JCP Chair Kazuo Shii. The following text is an English translation of Chapter II of the Executive Committee report which addresses some international issues.
II. International Issues—North Korea, ICAPP General Assembly
How the International Community Should Address North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Program
North Korea defiantly conducted its fifth nuclear test on September 9. Along with its repeated ballistic missile launches recently conducted, the test is a grave threat to international peace and stability, and a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks as well as the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. The Japanese Communist Party expressed severe condemnation of this outrageous act.
How should the international community address North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program? I emphasize two points as follows.
First, it is most important that all parties concerned must persevere in seeking a peaceful resolution through dialogue without being caught in a dangerous vicious cycle in which military measures invite further military countermeasures.
The UN Security Council Resolution adopted unanimously on March 2 condemns the DPRK’s nuclear test and missile launch in “the strongest terms”, decides to impose additional sanctions against the DPRK, and “reaffirms its support to the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, and reiterates its support for the commitments set forth in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005.”
It is of great importance to have North Korea sit at the negotiating table for the Six Party Talks in order to have the nation disengage itself from its nuclear and ballistic missile program by considerably enhancing diplomatic and political efforts by the international community including China such as adopting a more rigorous implementation of the UN sanctions already in place.
Second, and more fundamentally, it is increasingly urgent that the international community take concrete measures to create “a world without nuclear weapons.”
As a majority of UN member states and global popular movements have long called for, renewed efforts to start negotiations towards the creation of a convention to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons is essential. Such renewed effort will help deny North Korea any more excuse to keep its nuclear program and have the nation actually abandon the program. “The international community abandons nuclear weapons. So should you.” Sending such a message from a united international community, I would argue, will put us in the strongest position to negotiate with North Korea on this issue.
On ICAPP General Assembly (1) –Nuclear Weapons Convention
The 9th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) was held at the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on September 1-3. I would like to elaborate on several important international issues regarding the ICAPP GA.
The ICAPP has been developed as a unique forum where political parties in Asia, both ruling and opposition parties, gather to discuss peace and cooperation in the region and the rest of the world by putting aside ideological differences. The Japanese Communist Party recognizes its significance and has sent its delegation to all ICAPP General Assembly sessions since the 2nd meeting held in 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand. The 9th Assembly this year reflected high representativeness with the attendance of delegations of 87 political parties, including major governing and opposition parties, from 35 Asian countries. In regard to Japanese political parties, representatives of the Japanese Communist Party and the Democratic Party took part.
At the General Assembly, I delivered a speech titled “How to Create a Peaceful East Asia and a World Without Nuclear Weapons” on behalf of our party and our delegation made efforts to better the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration.”
However, the JCP delegation expressed partial reservations in the final adoption of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration concerning the part where the issue of nuclear weapons is touched upon. The final text of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration lacks the demand of “a prompt start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention” which was incorporated in both the 2010 Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and the 2014 Colombo (Sri Lanka) Declarations respectively. We believe that the omission of this demand from the text of the declaration is a serious setback.
The decision to delete the phrase was the result of the strong demand to do so by the delegation of Communist Party of China (CPC) just before the adoption of the declaration in a manner not consistent with the principle of democratic steering of an international conference. The details were already reported by the Newspaper AKAHATA. Here, I focus on some issues regarding China which we were compelled to pay serious attention to during the Assembly.
First, an alarming shift in its stance on nuclear weapons issues has been brought about in China. Until some point in the recent past, China called for a nuclear weapons convention. However, Beijing’s attitude has changed in the last few years. A remarkable change was revealed in autumn of last year when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to set up the UN Open-Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament (OEWG) to discuss legal approaches to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. China firmly opposed the resolution as a member of the five nuclear weapons states, or P5 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States).
On the UNGA session, France explained its reason for opposing the creation of a nuclear weapons convention on behalf of the P5 states, stating, “An incremental, step-by-step approach is the only practical option for making progress towards nuclear disarmament.” This “incremental, step-by-step approach” expressed here is the final stand that the forces clinging to the concept of “nuclear deterrence” are taking. Beijing now openly takes this stand.
At least with regard to the nuclear weapons issue, we can no longer say that China is on the side of advocates of peace and progress. Instead, it reveals itself as an obstructionist member of the P5 nations opposing efforts towards creating “a world without nuclear weapons.” This new stance of Beijing was clearly revealed by the actions of the CPC delegation at the 9th GA of the ICAPP. The issue of nuclear weapons is not just one pressing issue among others in international affairs but it is a vital and central challenge that needs to be addressed most urgently for the sake of survival of humanity itself. We have to point out that China’s shift on this issue is very grave.
Second, in order to push through its own claim, the CPC delegation trampled upon the democratic steering of the ICAPP General Assembly. In the drafting process of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, the JCP delegation proposed an amendment to the draft text of the declaration that would insert the demand for “a prompt start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.” The Draft Committee approved our proposal unanimously, including CPC delegation’s consent. Copies of the draft declaration distributed to the participants for adoption incorporated the phrase we proposed. However, just before the final adoption, the CPC delegation suddenly demanded the deletion of the phrase we proposed for inclusion. In the final moments of the assembly, they unilaterally overturned what the Draft Committee had unanimously approved. This has to be considered none other than hegemonistic behavior.
Third, the CPC delegation’s action in the Assembly poses a serious problem for the relationship between the CPC and the JCP. The JCP delegation sincerely asked the CPC delegation for its cooperation to have our proposal of amendment reflected in the text of the declaration. However, the CPC delegation rejected our proposal without giving any convincing reason for doing so and even called us a “hegemonist” in the end. Such a rude attitude is in contradiction to the principle of our relationship which the two parties confirmed in June 1998 in the agreement on the normalization of the JCP-CPC relations reached after the CPC expressed their serious regret over the error it had made over the previous 32 years involving wrongful interference against the JCP.
The JCP 26th Congress Resolution stated, “There can possibly be a recurrence of past hegemonistic or great-power chauvinistic behaviors” in “countries aiming for socialism" or countries "beginning on a new quest for socialism." It also stated, “We hope that the ‘countries aiming for socialism’ will never repeat such fatal mistakes as the former Soviet Union had made.”
The resolution also pointed out that “countries aiming for socialism” are “inevitably and increasingly put into contrast with capitalist countries.” It pointed out several important reference points of contrast such as: “How seriously are they pursuing the establishment of a world order that does not allow hegemonism to show its face in international relations?” or “What positive contribution do they make to abolishing nuclear weapons, combating global warming, and solving other issues faced by humanity?” Judging from these standards set forth by the resolution, we have to take a critical view of the behavior of the CPC delegation at the ICAPP Assembly.
From a broader perspective, forces clinging to nuclear arms are being backed into a corner by international public opinion and the majority of UN member nations which are seeking peace and opposing nuclear weapons.
Last year, the OEWG on nuclear disarmament was established by the UNGA and this year the OEWG adopted a report advising the UNGA to launch negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention by the end of next year. It has become an actual focal point of international politics whether negotiations over a nuclear weapons convention will commence next year.
On September 18, the Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement adopted a declaration which calls for “the urgent commencement of negotiations” on “a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons.”
As epoch-making progress which could open the door to a world without nuclear weapons is being made, the pro-nuclear-weapons forces are being forced into a corner and increasingly revealing their true colors as obstructionists. This is what is happening right now.
The future is on the side of international public opinion and civil societies demanding a world free of nuclear weapons. Having confidence in this, let us do our part to help create a peaceful, nuclear-weapons-free world.
On ICAPP General Assembly (2) –How to Address Territorial Issues
Another major issue addressed in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration was on how the international community should address territorial disputes.
The JCP delegation expressed our view on this issue as an important point which “can be applied to both Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia” as follows:
“[O]n territorial disputes, we must refrain from conducting any act which could escalate tensions, including threat or use of force and any unilateral change of the status quo by the use of coercive measures. It is imperative for us to seek solutions patiently through negotiations and consultations in a peaceful manner. This is what the U.N. Charter and the universally recognized principles of international law require us to do. Creating a code of conduct (COC) is also important to further such diplomatic efforts.”
Although our delegation refrained from referring to a specific nation with consideration of the nature of the ICAPP meeting, what was in our mind regarding “coercive change of the status quo” was China’s acts around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. In regard to “the universally recognized principles of international law”, what we kept in mind was the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in July and China’s reaction to it. The court invalidated China’s claim to the South China Sea as groundless in terms of international law. China strongly condemned the ruling as a “farce.”
How we should address territorial issues was also an important discussion point in drafting the declaration. The CPC delegation strongly opposed to including in the declaration a call for resolution of territorial disputes “in accordance with international law.” The JCP delegation made our suggestions for an amendment to the draft declaration to insert the phrase “on the basis of international law” in making efforts to settle territorial issues. Other delegations made similar proposals. The representative from the Democratic Party also strongly made his case for diplomatic solutions on territorial issues “in accordance with international law.” As the result of such efforts made by multiple delegations, the declaration clearly stated that territorial disputes should be resolved in a peaceful way “in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.”
Significantly, the ASEAN nations remain united in dealing with the PCA ruling by exercising their patience and resilience, and they reaffirmed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea “including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, …in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)” in its foreign ministers meeting communique in July. The commitment was also reiterated by the chairman’s statement of the ASEAN Summit held in September. The Japanese Communist Party strongly supports the ASEAN’s stance and hope that the situation will improve accordingly.
The Japanese Communist Party strongly calls on China to refrain from conducting any act to coercively change the status quo in the East and South China Seas and to accept the PCA ruling.
The Japanese Communist Party renews our commitment to speaking out for world peace and progress to any major country based on truth and reason in accordance with the independent spirit which our party has forged and held more than half a century.