Analysis by Rick Wayman*
WASHINGTON, D.C: (IDN) - On May 23, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a press release celebrating President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget. DOE specifically lauded the proposed “$10.2 billion for Weapons Activities to maintain and enhance the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear weapons enterprise.”
Less than 24 hours earlier, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica released a draft of a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ambassador Whyte is President of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Over 130 nations have participated in the ban treaty negotiations thus far. A final treaty text is expected by early July. [P 05]
Viewpoint by Jonathan Power*
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - During the French election no candidate talked about France’s nuclear weapons. In Britain, the subject has been raised in its election in an attempt to undermine the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. But the long-time anti-bomb activist compromised his views, saying in effect he was against them but Labour Party policy was for them.
Meanwhile, the Western nations worry and rage about North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. There is a lack of principle and honesty as well as an overdose of self-delusion as to their effectiveness as a deterrent in this whole bomb game.
By Ramesh Jaura
VIENNA (IDN) - "The urgent importance of bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force, as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime," was a highlight of the first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2020 NPT Review Conference from May 2-12 in the capital of Austria.
The PrepCom's Chair Henk Cor van der Kwast noted in his factual summary: "The intrinsic link between the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the goals and objectives of the Treaty was stressed." 111 States parties to NPT, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons participated in the work of the Committee at its first session. [P 04] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF
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."