Kazakh President Offers Astana as Venue for Disarmament Negotiations with North Korea

By Santo D. Banerjee

Photo: Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan and President of the Security Council for the month of January, addresses the Security Council meeting on Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, with a focus on confidence-building measures. 18 January 2018. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – In the run up to the fiftieth anniversary of the UN inviting nuclear haves and have-nots to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on July 1, 1968, Kazakhstan has proposed a set of six measures aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and offered a platform for disarmament negotiations with North Korea.

The initiative has been launched on January 18 at the high level briefing of the Security Council which focused on the theme of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: confidence-building measures convened by Kazakhstan in its capacity as the Council President for the month of January. And this at a point in time when, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres says, "global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War." [P 31]

NATO Demands Cause Headaches in Iceland

By Lowana Veal

Photo: U.S. Navy Poseidon P-8A at Keflavik. 8 November 2017. Credit: b737.org.uk

REYKJAVIK (IDN) – In February 2016, the U.S. government started discussions with its Icelandic counterpart on the possibility of carrying out necessary changes to the doors of the NATO hangar at Keflavik airport so that newer, larger submarine reconnaissance planes could be housed there. The matter was eventually concluded in December 2017, when the U.S. government agreed to funding.

The hangar is located in the security zone of the old U.S. military base, “Naval Air Station Keflavik”, and the reconnaissance planes in question are of the Poseidon P-8A type, designed to track the increased presence of Russian nuclear and conventional submarines in waters around Iceland – the so-called Greenland, Iceland and United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap. [P 30]

Israeli Disarmament Movement Steers Through Nuclear Ambiguity

By Bernhard Schell

Photo: Demonstration in Tel-Aviv against nuclear weapons. Credit: The Israeli Disarmament Movement.

AMMAN (IDN) – The Israeli media ignored the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in honour of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on December 10, 2017 in Oslo. The Israeli Ambassador to Norway however attended the event.

The silence of the Israeli media, according to observers, was not surprising though ICAN's eminent partner in the Middle East, the Israeli Disarmament Movement (IDM), founded and chaired by Sharon Dolev, has influenced the Israeli public discourse for the past six years. [P 29]

UN Chief Expects New Sanctions To Help Make 2018 'A Pivotal Year' for the Korean Peninsula

By J Nastranis

Photo: The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2397 (2017), condemning in the strongest terms the ballistic missile launch conducted by the DPRK on 28 November 2017 in violation and flagrant disregard of the Security Council's resolutions on non-proliferation. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres desires to make 2018 "a pivotal year" for the achievement of sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, following the adoption of a new Security Council resolution (UNSCR 2397), he said: "The only way forward for a comprehensive peaceful and political solution requires de-escalation and open communication channels, now."

The resolution was approved on December 22 in response to the latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), widely known as North Korea, on November 28. [P 28] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF

Monitoring Dismantlement Key to Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

By Jamshed Baruah

Photo: A meeting of the IPNDV in session. Credit: IPNDV

NEW YORK (IDN) – Since the United Nations General Assembly adopted on July 7, 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, urging the prohibition and complete elimination of the atomic arsenal, the question of verification and the dismantlement of nuclear weapons has acquired particular importance. Because there are several areas where adequate technologies either need to be developed or re-engineered.

Over the past four decades, the United States and the Soviet Union as well as its successor the Russian Federation have used a series of bilateral agreements and other measures to limit and reduce their substantial nuclear warhead and strategic missile and bomber arsenals. [P 27] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF

No More Bluster, A Way Out of North Korean Nuclear Crisis

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power*

Photo: People in Pyongyang watch Kim Jong-un on North Korean TV, 2015. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

LUND, Sweden (IDN) - When, soon after the election, President Barack Obama invited Donald Trump to the White House we didn't learn much about their conversation. But we were briefed on one thing: Obama had told Trump that North Korea would be the most pressing and difficult issue on his agenda.

How right that was. But the Americans have missed the boat. It's as simple as that. What’s done is done. While Washington has dithered and dithered through three successive presidencies, missing opportunity after opportunity, North Korea has gone from zero nuclear weapons to an arsenal of at least 20. Its test of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, in the early hours of November 29, is said to be capable of striking the U.S. It doesn't have a nuclear tip yet but that will come sometime in the next two or three years. [P 26] | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF

The Vatican Galvanizes Support For A Nuke-Free World

By Ramesh Jaura

Photo: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana welcoming Vatican conference participants on November 10. Credit: Katsuhiro Asagiri | IDN-INPS

VATICAN CITY (IDN) – The Vatican's first international conference on the prospects for "a world free from nuclear weapons and for integral disarmament" on November 10-11 was not intentionally planned to overlap with U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Asia as the U.S. faces heightened tensions with North Korea. It has been in the works for several years, and the timing, as Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana quipped, is a coincidence that could be seen as an act of "divine providence". [P 25] CHINESE TEXT VERSON PDF | GERMAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON  PDF

Congressional Report Warns of Skyrocketing Costs of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

By J C Suresh

Photo: F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the Thunderbirds, the Air Force flight demonstration team, perform during the Thunder Over South Georgia air show at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 28, 2017. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Snider

TORONTO | WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN) – A new study throws limelight on the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and outlines several pragmatic options to maintain a credible, formidable deterrent at less cost.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study published on October 31 estimates that sustaining and upgrading U.S. nuclear forces will cost taxpayers $1.24 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars between fiscal years 2017 and 2046. When the effects of inflation are included, the CBO expects the 30-year cost to exceed $1.5 trillion. These figures are significantly higher than the previously reported estimates of roughly $1 trillion. [P 24]  BAHASA | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON  PDF | TURKISH

Will U.S. Congress Legally Restrain a Nuclear World War III?

By Shanta Roy

Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – U.S. President Donald Trump's highly erratic behavior on nuclear weapons – and his public threats to "totally destroy" North Korea – have triggered a strong political backlash from anti-nuclear and anti-war activists.

"A central problem is that Donald Trump seems ignorant about what nuclear weapons really are, and the humanitarian catastrophe that would be unleashed if he fired even one at North Korea – or anywhere," said Dr. Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, a founding co-Chair of the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate.  [P 23] ITALIANJAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF | MALAY | NORWEGIAN | THAI

Nuclear Nightmare Persists As UN Treaty Awaits Ratification

By Ramesh Jaura

Photo: (left to right): Austria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Jan Kickert (standing); Brazil's Permanent Representative to the UN Mauro Luiz Iecker Vieira; ICAN Asia-Pacific Director Tim Wright; ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn; ICAN Steering Group member Ray Acheson: and Costa Rica's Permanent Representative to the UN, Juan Carlos Mendoza. Credit: UN

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – "They will continue to be guided by their solemn conviction that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," says the historic Joint Statement U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his counterpart from the then Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, signed on December 10, 1987 in Washington.

Thirty years on, Gorbachev – who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1990 "for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community" – is "deeply concerned about the fact that military doctrines once again allow for the use of nuclear weapons". [P 22]  | JAPANESE Part 1, Part 2 | 

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