By J C Suresh
TORONTO (IDN) - At a time of extraordinary tension between the U.S. and North Korea, with each side flexing its military muscle and making implicit and explicit threats, the U.S. has announced the test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 26.
Commenting the announcement, David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), said: “When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing.”
Viewpoint by Jonathan Power*
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - There are 29 states which have at one time or another set about becoming nuclear weapons powers or have explored the possibility. Most have failed or drawn back. Only the U.S., Russia, France, UK, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have crossed the threshold. But only the first five have long range, nuclear-tipped, missiles. North Korea wants to walk in their footsteps.
The common belief that when a state has decided to do so it goes for it as fast as it can is wrong. Sweden, Japan, Algeria, Australia, Italy, Yugoslavia, West Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Switzerland, Syria, Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, South Africa, Pakistan and India all sought to acquire nuclear weapons but their pace and commitment were different.
By Jamshed Baruah
GENEVA (IDN) – "The lack of nuclear weapons use since Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot on its own be interpreted as evidence that the likelihood of a detonation event is minimal," warns the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), an autonomous institute within the United Nations based in Geneva.
The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on which the United States dropped atomic bombs on August 6 and 9, 1945, embody the abhorrent humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use, warning of the brutal consequences should such weapons of mass destruction be ever deployed again. [P 01] ARABIC | NORWEGIAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF
By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – Global consensus on a legally-binding treaty on prohibiting the production of nuclear weapons has yet to be achieved. But three non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are pressing for a ban on the financing of atomic arsenals when such a legal instrument is agreed.
The three groups are the Basel Peace Office, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and UNFOLD ZERO. They have submitted a joint working paper for the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.
By Sergio Duarte, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs*
NEW YORK (IDN) - Despite being shunned by the nine possessors of nuclear weapons and most of their allies, the first part of the negotiations mandated by the United Nations General Assembly on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination, ended on an optimistic tone on March 31.
Delegations from 120-plus States will return to New York in mid-June to start discussing the draft treaty to be presented by the President of the Conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte-Gomez of Costa Rica.
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - Both Japan and Kazakhstan have suffered from nuclear weapons: Japan through the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and Kazakhstan through the fallout from 456 nuclear test explosions conducted at the Semipalatinsk, the former Soviet nuclear test site near what is now the village of Semey.
The two countries are therefore committed to realizing a world free of nuclear weapons – for example through entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) – and consider it a main goal of humanity in the 21st century. This was reaffirmed during the first session of the UN conference to negotiate a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty, from March 27 to 31 at the UN headquarters in New York. The second session is scheduled for June 15 through July 7. [P Extra]
By Rodney Reynolds
NEW YORK (IDN) – Despite an organized boycott by over 40 countries, including four major nuclear powers, a UN conference aimed at negotiating an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons made a significant breakthrough in its first-ever attempt at a legally-binding instrument to eliminate one of the world’s deadliest weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
Even without the participation of nuclear states, the ban treaty will have a powerful impact, predicted the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). “Treaties often change the behavior of non-party States, including the ban on WMDs and Law of the Sea”. [P42] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF
Viewpoint by Alice Slater
NEW YORK (IDN) – This week (March 27-31) the UN General Assembly held the opening session of a ground-breaking conference “to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination” just as the world has already done to ban biological and chemical weapons as well as landmines and cluster bombs.
The historic conference began with a bizarre Trumpian boycott on its first day, when Nikki Haley, Trump’s newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the UN , flanked by the ambassadors from the UK and France stationed in front of the closed doors to the UN General Assembly, where 132 nations were about to start negotiations, staged a press event, with no questions permitted.
By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) - Izumi Nakamitsu, whose appointment UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced on March 29 as the world body's next disarmament chief is the second woman and third Japanese to be nominated for the post. A veteran UN official, she will succeed Kim Won-soo of the Republic of Korea as Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).
Viewpoint by Kim Won-soo
Following are excerpts from remarks by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo at the opening of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination on March 27, 2017. He represented Secretary-General António Guterres who was travelling on official business.
NEW YORK (IDN-INPS) - This conference is taking place against a backdrop of rising international tension, renewed arms competition and an absence of results in disarmament bodies.