WE NEED TO RATIFY THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY NOW (Senate - September 25, 1998)

[Page: S10982]

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, yesterday marked the 35th Anniversary of the Senate's ratification of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. Unfortunately, we still have not achieved the larger goal of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In fact, the Treaty has languished in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a year with no debate, no action, and no results.

As President Kennedy said about the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, `The conclusion of such a treaty * * * would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms.' Thirty-five years later, those words are truer than ever.

Nuclear proliferation is one of the most serious national security threats we face. Earlier this year, the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan reminded us that we must do all we can to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, at the United Nations, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan announced his intent to sign the test ban treaty within the next year. The Prime Minister linked this decision to the lifting of sanctions imposed in the wake of last May's nuclear tests. Yesterday, India's Prime Minister Vajpayee followed suit and announced to the U.N. General Assembly that his nation would also sign the Treaty within the year.

If both Pakistan and India sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, only North Korea will remain outside the worldwide group of nations in continuing to develop their nuclear program. Prompt U.S. ratification of the Treaty would not only demonstrate our support for Pakistan and India, but also encourage North Korea to join the world and reject nuclear testing.

The recent tests by India and Pakistan are ominous proof that the greatest threat to humanity is still the danger of nuclear war. The CTBT would give the United States access to a vast worldwide network of nuclear monitoring stations. These additional stations would blanket the globe with sensors that can detect radiation, feel the ground shake from a nuclear test, or hear the sounds emanating underwater from a nuclear explosion. This network is possible only through the cooperative efforts of the CTBT, and it will clearly strengthen our national security.

We face a unique opportunity in the Senate, an opportunity to help the world pull back from the nuclear brink and end nuclear testing once and for all. Other nations look to the United States for international leadership. President Clinton has done his part, in signing the Treaty and submitting it to the Senate for ratification, as the Constitution requires. Now the Senate should do its part, and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Treaty ratification is the single most important step we can take today to reduce the dangers of nuclear war.

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