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US advises countries to reject treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons


For the TPNW to come into force it needs to be ratified by at least 50 countries a number which is fast being approached. The TPNW would require all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances … develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The treaty also bans the transfer or use of nuclear weapons and participants are required to promote the treaty to other countries.

Objections to the TPNW

The Associated Press (AP) obtained the US letter to the treaty signatories. The letter claimed that the US NATO allies and the five original nuclear powers, the US, China, Russia, the UK and France all were unified it their opposition to the potential repercussions of the proposed treaty. The letter also claims that the TPNW turned back the clock on verification and disarmament and was also a threat to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) created to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons beyond the five original countries in exchange for their reducing their nuclear arsenals. The letter says: “Although we recognize your sovereign right to ratify or accede to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we believe that you have made a strategic error and should withdraw your instrument of ratification or accession.”

Rebuttal of some criticism

The Associated Press (AP) quoted
Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons as saying that the letter’s claim that TPNW would interfere with the long-lasting Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was a lie: “They have no actual argument to back that up. The Nonproliferation Treaty is about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminating nuclear weapons, and this treaty implements that. There’s no way you can undermine the Nonproliferation Treaty by banning nuclear weapons. It’s the end goal of the Nonproliferation Treaty.”

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