On June 29th, Chairman Ban expressed his opinion of nuclear proliferation and multilateralism on South China Morning Post. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and 50 years since the NPT(The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) took effect.
Just like responding to coronavirus, today’s security threat requires the same principle; international cooperation and transparency. Nuclear conflicts are still ongoing. Three decades after the end of the Cold War, there are still 13,400 warheads standing and the recent clash between China and India, and India and Pakistan, all nuclear armed states, threatens the future of humanity.
In the Korean peninsula, North Korea stands still, strengthening its nuclear capabilities and upholding its ambition to acquire nuclear status. “US President Donald Trump’s attempts to build a personal rapport with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have yielded nothing in terms of concrete progress toward North Korea’s complete denuclearization,” criticized Chairman Ban.
Even before the pandemic, nuclear was in the center of international crises when nationalist, isolationist and authoritarian leaders incapacitated multilateral systems. In 2019, US decided to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and this year announced its intents to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.
With the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis at hand, NPT Review Conference is being postponed. However this should not stop the efforts toward disarmament and non-proliferation. “Those bearing the heaviest responsibility are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which have consistently failed to live up to their obligations on disarmament under Article 6 of the NPT,” said Chairman Ban.
The international society must succeed in persuading the US to extend the New START. The end of New START means that the only legally binding agreement between the two nuclear power states will be gone. This will be a serious threat to global peace and security. While US’s plan to include China into the treaty is just and ideal, this should not hinder the extension of the New START. Immediate extension is more acceptable, and China’s inclusion can be negotiated subsequently.
“An effective, rules-based multilateral system is the world’s insurance policy against existential threats, from pandemics to climate change to nuclear weapons,” he affirmed. Multilateral system must work together to take concrete action to reduce nuclear arms.
To read the article, visit South China Morning Post Website