PHNOM PENH, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia, as ASEAN chair, on Friday sent letters to the five nuclear powerful countries, asking them to sign the protocol on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) by this year.
The five countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France.
The letters were delivered to the ambassador of each country by Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, minister of the foreign affairs.
"As ASEAN chair, Cambodia wants the five nuclear weapon states to sign the protocol by July this year in order to build a nuclear- free regime in Southeast Asian nations and to contribute to strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," the ministry' s spokesman Koy Kuong told reporters after the letter deliveries.
He said that ASEAN signed the protocol on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty in 1995 and it took effect two years later.
The negotiations between the ASEAN and the five nuclear weapon states on the protocol have been subsequently held since May 2001, he said, adding until last November in Indonesia's Bali, the five countries had agreed in principle to sign the protocol.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Editor: Yamei Wang