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Joint Statement on South Asia

June 27, 1998


Recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, and the resulting increase in tension between them, are a source of deep and lasting concern to both of us. Our shared interests in a peaceful and stable South Asia and in a strong global nonproliferation regime have been put at risk by these tests, which we have joined in condemning. We have agreed to continue to work closely together, within the P-5, the Security Council and with others, to prevent an accelerating nuclear and missile arms race in South Asia, strengthen international nonproliferation efforts, and promote reconciliation and the peaceful resolution of differences between India and Pakistan.

Preventing a Nuclear and Missile Race in South Asia

The P-5 Joint Communique of June 4, which was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 1172, sets out clear and comprehensive objectives and a plan for action to address the threat of South Asian nuclear and missile arms race. We pledge our full support for the steps outlined in the Joint Communique, and again call on India and Pakistan to stop all further nuclear tests and adhere immediately and unconditionally to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to refrain from weaponization or deployment of nuclear weapons and from the testing or deployment of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and to enter into firm commitments not to weaponize or deploy nuclear weapons or missiles capable of delivering them.

Strengthening Global Nonproliferation Cooperation

The United States and China remain firmly committed to strong and effective international cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation, with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as its cornerstone. We will continue to bolster global nuclear nonproliferation efforts, and reiterate that our goal is adherence of all countries, including India and Pakistan, to the NPT as it stands, without any modification. States that do not adhere to the Treaty cannot expect to be accorded the same benefits and international standing as are accorded to NPT parties. Notwithstanding their recent nuclear tests, India and Pakistan do not have the status of nuclear weapons states in accordance with the NPT.

We reaffirm our determination to fulfill our commitments relating to nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT. To this end, both countries have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and do not intend to resume nuclear testing.

We call for the prompt initiation and conclusion of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, on the basis of the 1995 agreed mandate, for a multilateral treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We urge India and Pakistan to participate, in a positive spirit, in such negotiations with other states in the Conference on Disarmament with a view to reaching early agreement.

We both actively support the Strengthened Safeguards System now being implemented by the IAEA, and will promptly take steps to implement it in our countries.

Reducing Tensions and Encouraging the Peaceful Resolution of Differences Between India and Pakistan

We are committed to assist where possible India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully the difficult and long-standing differences between them, including the issue of Kashmir. We welcome the resumption of dialogue between the two countries and encourage them to continue such dialogue, and we stand ready to assist in the implementation of confidence-building measures between them, and encourage the consideration of additional measures of this type.

Responsibilities of the United States and China

The United States and China have long sought friendly relations with both India and Pakistan. We reaffirm this goal and our hope that we can jointly and individually contribute to the achievement of a peaceful, prosperous, and secure South Asia. As P-5 members, and as states with important relationships with the countries of the region, we recognize our responsibility to contribute actively to the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region, and to do all we can to address the root causes of tension.

We reaffirm that our respective policies are to prevent the export of equipment, materials or technology that could in any way assist programs in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons or for ballistic missiles capable of delivering such weapons, and that to this end, we will strengthen our national export control systems.

Next Steps

Close coordination between the United States and China is essential to building strong international support behind the goals to which we are committed in response to nuclear testing by India and Pakistan. We will stay closely in touch on this issue, and will work with other members of the P-5 and the Security Council, with other Asian and Pacific countries, and with the broader international community to forestall further instability in South Asia, achieve a peaceful and mutually acceptable resolution of differences between India and Pakistan, and strengthen the global nonproliferation regime.

NOTE: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.

William J. Clinton, Joint Statement on South Asia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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