Nuclear weapons modernised as nations prepare to ban them
North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which it apparently conducted today, comes while the world’s other nuclear powers are arming up. All nine of the world’s countries with nuclear weapons are investing massively in modernising them, according to a new report out last week by SIPRI. This is despite a reported 3% reduction of 460 weapons in 2017.
The USA and Russia between them hold 93% of the world’s arsenal, with thousands on hair-trigger alert and ready to be launched within seconds of the order being given. According to SIPRI, to take one example, the USA is due to spend up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
This terrifying statistic stands against another published by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who are holding their international congress on September 4 in the UK city of York. Their 2013 report, prepared for a conference studying the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, indicates that a limited nuclear war with the use of 100 warheads dropped on cities would lead to a nuclear winter that could end the lives of up to 2 billion people.
These worrying numbers have led civil society campaigns such as ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, to heavily promote a nuclear weapons ban treaty, bringing nuclear weapons in line with chemical and biological weapons as legally prohibited weapons of mass destruction.
After years of promoting efforts to get the UN to agree to such a treaty, this year in June the text of a treaty was approved after negotiations with over 120 states. The treaty will be opened for signing during the UN General Assembly in September this year. With the signature and ratification of 50 States, the treaty comes into force.
DiEM25 believes that nuclear weapons have no place in European security doctrines and that all nuclear weapons should be removed from European territory, be they British, French, American or Russian. We call on all European nations to sign the Ban Treaty as a matter of human survival.
Tony Robinson, DSC Budapest 01, and member of the Abolition 2000 Coordination Committee
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