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Nuclear arms treaty lacks security perspective

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Members attend the signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York in 2017. AFP

Nuclear arms treaty lacks security perspective

The spirit of aiming for the abolition of nuclear weapons should be respected. However, it must be said that this treaty will be ineffective if it ignores the role that nuclear deterrence plays in national security and the content unilaterally urges the “prohibition” of nuclear weapons.

The US, Britain, France, China and Russia, which are nuclear powers, and US allies such as Japan and South Korea are not participating in the treaty and are not bound by it.

From a security perspective, the treaty is fatally flawed in that it does not take into account the security environments of individual nuclear powers or countries that need the “nuclear umbrella” of the US.

The US and Russia have maintained a framework to prevent war through a balance of nuclear forces. Japan, which is close to nuclear powers China and Russia and faces the nuclear threat of North Korea, relies on the US nuclear deterrent. Germany, which faces Russia, is in the same situation.

As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, Japan needs to mediate dialogue between nuclear powers and non-nuclear states and repair the rifts between them.

First and foremost, the US and Russia, which possess 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons, should promote nuclear disarmament and put a brake on the arms race. There are even some positive signs that the two countries are moving toward a compromise to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which will expire in February next year.

The role of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in which most countries of the world participate, must also be enhanced.



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