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UN Warns Against Emerging Hypersonic Weapon Technologies

By J Nastranis

Photo: A U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., carries an X-51A Waverider prior to the scramjet’s first hypersonic flight test on March 26, 2010. (U.S. Air Force)

NEW YORK (IDN) – Emerging hypersonic weapon technologies present a challenge for the existing arms control and disarmament architecture at a time when it is already under strain. Because hypersonic weapons do not count towards the limits of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which is the key arms control agreement limiting the strategic delivery systems of the two major nuclear powers, Russia and the United States, warns a new study. Nevertheless, several States are actively pursuing novel long-range manoeuvrable weapons, most significantly hypersonic boost-glide systems comprising ballistic missiles equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs). [2019-02-24]

On the Precipice of a Multipolar Qualitative Nuclear Arms Race

Viewpoint by Izumi Nakamitsu

Photo: UNODA Chief Izumi Nakamitsu. Credit: UN Audiovisual Library

Following are extensive excerpts from a video briefing by Izumi Nakamitsu, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), to the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on 7 February 2019.

NEW YORK | GENEVA (IDN-INPS) – 2019 will be a weighty year for the Conference on Disarmament. As a global community we are beset by challenges. In the field of disarmament our progress has slowed to a crawl and is in imminent danger of suffering reversals. Instead of seeking to enhance what binds us, we tend to focus on what divides us. [2019-02-23]

Europe Ventures to Speak Up Against USA

By Somar Wijayadasa*

Photo credit: Munich Security Conference.

NEW YORK | MUNICH (IDN) – "The whole liberal world order appears to be falling apart – nothing is as it once was," said Wolfgang Ischinger, a senior German diplomat in an opinion article in the run-up to the 2019 Munich Security Conference (MSC) that he chairs.

He added: "When Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and started the bloody conflict in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, many considered him to be the major cause of global destabilization." [2019-02-22]

A Nuclear Arms Race Will Produce No Winners

Despite everything, it is still in our power to avoid nuclear confrontation.

Viewpoint by Mikhail Gorbachev*

Photo: U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev at the first Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 1985.

MOSCOW (IDN-INPS) – The fate of the INF treaty has politicians and ordinary people worried on every continent. I am also concerned, and not only because I signed that treaty with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Dec. 1987. These events are yet another manifestation of the dangerous and destructive trends in world politics facing us today. [2019-02-21]

Experts Discuss Prospects Of Peace On The Korean Peninsula

By Katsuhiro Asagiri

Photo (from left to right): Noboru Yamaguchi (Japan); Yang Xiyu (China), Chung-in Moon (South Korea), Kevin Clements (Coordinator: Toda Institute), Joseph Yun (USA), Georgy Toloraya (Russia). Credit: Yukie Asagiri.

TOKYO (IDN) – Nearly 66 years have passed since the Armistice Agreement formally brought about "a complete cessation of hostilities" of the Korean War. One year later, Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai proposed a peace treaty. But U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, refused – leaving a final peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula hanging in the air. [2019-02-20 | P21CHINESE | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | KOREAN | SPANISH

Uncertain Prospects For Progress In Nuclear Disarmament

Viewpoint by Sergio Duarte

Photo: Sergio Duarte speaks at the August 2017 Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Credit: Pugwash.

The writer is President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and a former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. He was president of the 2005 Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

NEW YORK (IDN) – Although humankind has known since the dawn of ages the sorrow, misery and devastation caused by war, the most catastrophic military conflicts in history are quite recent.

World War I lasted from July 1914 to November 1918 and claimed some 40 million lives, among civilians and combatants. In all, between 70-85 million people perished during World War II that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The estimated war casualties include those who are believed to have died from war-related causes, including captivity, disease and famine. [2019-02-06 | P20] JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SPANISH

Trashing Treaties: It’s Not Just Trump

Viewpoint by Rick Wayman

The writer is Deputy Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. (Twitter @rickwayman)

Photo credit: nuclearban.us

SANTA BARBARA, CA (IDN) – There is no shortage of critics who have pointed out President Donald Trump’s monumental strategic mistake in unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. It is indeed a blunder of the highest degree that not only makes the Trump administration look incompetent and foolish, but also puts the United States’ European allies and all of us at greater risk of nuclear catastrophe. [2019-02-04]

Next Steps Out Of The INF Treaty Crisis

Viewpoint by Daryl G. Kimball

Photo: Russian Iskander-M SRBM system with 9M723K5 missiles. CC BY-SA 4.0

The writer is Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. This article was posted on the Association's website as an Issue Brief on February 1, 2019.

WASHINGTON, DC (IDN-INPS) – The Trump administration announced on February 1 that effective February 2, the United States will suspend implementation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and formally notify other parties to the treaty that it will withdraw in six months if Russia does not return to compliance by eliminating its ground-launched 9M729 missile, which the United States alleges can fly beyond the 500-kilometer range limit set by the treaty. [2019-02-02]

Mayors, Legislators Push For A Nuclear Weapons Free World

By Jamshed Baruah

Image credit: Basel Peace Office

BASEL (IDN) – Preserve the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty! Prevent a new nuclear arms race in Europe! Undertake measures to reduce the risk of a nuclear conflict! Support global nuclear disarmament!

This is the crux of an impassioned appeal by mayors, parliamentarians, policy experts and civil society representatives from forty countries – mostly Europe and North America – in an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump and to the leaders of the Russian and U.S. legislatures. [2019-01-31]

Trump’s Missile Defence Buildup Plans Are Dangerous

Viewpoint by Kingston A. Reif

Photo: The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Echostar 105/SES-11 communications satellite from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 11, 2017. (SpaceX)

The writer is director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at Arms Control Association (ACA). He casts a close look at the '2019 Missile Defense Review'. This article appeared as an Issue Brief on ACA website on January 17, 2019.

WASHINGTON, DC (IDN-INPS) – The Trump administration’s long-awaited 'Missile Defense Review', which was released on January 17, proposes a significant and costly expansion of the role and scope of U.S. missile defences that is likely to exacerbate Russian and Chinese concerns about the threat to their strategic nuclear deterrents, undermine strategic stability, and further complicate the prospects for additional nuclear arms reductions. [2019-01-30]