Nuclear powers stay out of first nuke ban treaty
The first ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons came into force on Friday without the support of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons - the US, the UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.
The 30-nation Nato alliance is also not backing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is now part of international law and seen as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons.
Its entry into force culminates a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing a repetition of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate. When the treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 nations approved it.
The following summer, India and some other countries explained their decision. India said the TPNW mechanism may not include scope for verification, and that it believed a single multilateral form already exists to discuss disarmament.
Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so.
Japan on its own renounces use and possession of nuclear weapons, but the government has said pursuing a treaty ban is not realistic with nuclear and non-nuclear states so sharply divided over it.
Nonetheless, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the treaty, called it “a really big day for international law, for the United Nations and for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”. The treaty received its 50th ratification on October 24 last year, triggering a 90-day period before its entry into force.
Fihn told AP that 61 countries ratified the treaty, and “from Friday, nuclear weapons will be banned by international law” in all those countries. The treaty requires ratifying countries to “never under any circumstances... develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”. The pact also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.
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