By Jamshed Baruah
VIENNA (IDN) - While nuclear weapons have not been deployed since 1945 when atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nearly 15,000 pieces of such instruments of mass destruction still exist, posing risks too great to be ignored. In view of this menacing reality, Mayors for Peace are warning that the danger of nuclear proliferation remains real, as seen in the case of continuing nuclear tests by North Korea. [P 03] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF
Following is a joint statement read out on May 3, 2017 at the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference from May 2-12 in Vienna. It was drafted by a coalition of faith groups, with the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the World Council of Churches (WCC), Pax Christi International, and PAX (Netherlands) taking the lead. The statement was delivered by Kimiaki Kawai, Director, Peace and Human Rights at SGI, which has collaborated with faith groups to issue interfaith statements highlighting the moral and ethical dimensions of nuclear weapons. – The Editor.
By Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
This is the text of a statement issued on May 4 by Pugwash President Jayantha Dhanapala, Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Executive Committee Chair Steve Miller, Council Mark Suh and Executive Committee's Tatsujiro Suzuki. - The Editor
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN-INPS) - The mounting confrontation with North Korea is raising grave dangers. Both sides have made potentially escalatory moves. Indeed, the combination of harsh rhetoric and threatening military actions has produced a situation that has been characterized by some in the United States as a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion. As was true in 1962, there is an unusual sense that events can slip out of control, that disastrous outcomes could result from the dynamics now underway in Northeast Asia.
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – The States party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) convene every five years to review the implementation of this nuclear disarmament regime in three sessions. In run-up to the 2020 NPT Review Conference, the first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) will meet from May 2-12 in Vienna.
The Austrian capital, which serves as the associate headquarters of the UN, has come to play a historic role in the world body's efforts for a legal treaty aimed at ushering in a nuclear-weapons-free world. In December 2014, it was the venue of the third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons – after Nayarit (Mexico) in February 2014 and Oslo in March 2013 – which paved the path to the 'Austrian Pledge', also known as the 'Humanitarian Pledge', to "stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons". [P 02] JAPANESE TEXT VERSiON PDF
By António Guterres
Following are excerpts from UN Secretary-General António Guterres' remarks to the Security Council on Non-Proliferation/DPRK on April 28, 2017. – The Editor
NEW YORK (IDN) - The situation on the Korean Peninsula is one of the longest-standing and most serious issues before the United Nations. The Security Council first adopted a resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear issue in 1993, when it urged the DPRK not to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Twenty-four years later, and despite extensive efforts, the challenge has defied resolution.
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.”
By Santo D. Banerjee
NEW YORK (IDN) – Veterans For Peace (VFP) has strongly criticised the U.S. refusal to take part in negotiations at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons and accused it of "efforts to derail the ongoing" talks to "reach an agreement on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons."
VFP believes that it would be "diplomatically more prudent" to use the UN talks "as an opportunity to engage Iran and North Korea in discussions to determine if there is some common ground on which to proceed and lessen tensions in the Middle East and the Far East."
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.