Toward A Nuclear Free World Newsletter - August 2022 in Retrospect

Toward A Nuclear Free World Newsletter - August 2022 in Retrospect


A Joint Media Project of
the Non-profit International Press Syndicate Group with IDN as the Flagship Agency
and Soka Gakkai International in Consultative Status with ECOSOC

TOWARD a Nuclear Free World Newsletter - August 2022 in Retrospect 


UN Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Declared a Failure

Photo: Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen (left) presiding over the four-week long NPT Review Conference which concluded August 26. Source: ACA-Arms Control Association.

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — The alarm bells have been ringing right across Europe as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has not only triggered nuclear threats by one of the world's major nuclear powers but also set off emergency drills outside a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia which has come under fire.

Against this distressing backdrop, a four-week Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) concluded on August 26 on a note of abject disappointment. [2022-08-30-13] FRENCH | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SPANISH | THAI

A Four-Week Festival of Double Standards

Image: Tenth NPT Review Conference. Credit: GEDES

Hypocrisy & Outright Lying by Nuclear-armed States

By Jackie Cabasso

The writer is Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation, who participated in the Tenth NPT Review Conference, which concluded on August 26.

NEW YORK (IDN) — The 10th NPT Review Conference didn't fail because it couldn't produce a final document. It failed because the nuclear-armed states haven't made good on their fundamental nuclear disarmament obligation under Article VI of the Treaty, undertaken 52 years ago, nor on the promises and commitments to action items that would lead to nuclear disarmament they agreed to in connection with the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995 and in the 2000 and 2010 final documents.

The US Remains Restrained Over North Korea's Missile Tests & Nuclear Threats

Photo source: CNN

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — The US response to North Korea's continued missile tests—and occasional nuclear threats—has been surprisingly restrained.

The reaction has been summed up in two words: dialogue and diplomacy.

On August 17, North Korea fired two cruise missiles toward the sea off its west coast. And, according to a report on Cable News Network (CNN), military officials from South Korea and the US have been analyzing the launch for "further details”. [2022-08-25] 

Nuclear Weapons Are a Clear Threat to A Sustainable Future for Humanity

Photo: Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) in front of the Hiroshima (banner) exhibition at United Nations on August 1, 2022. Source: Mariko Komatsu

Viewpoint by Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor of Hiroshima, Japan

The following is the content of Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki's speech at a side event (co-hosted by Nagasaki and Hiroshima Prefectures) under the theme "Nexus between Nuclear Disarmament and Sustainable Future" held at UN Headquarters on August 1, the first day of the 2022 NPT Review Conference. The side event was attended by about 70 diplomats, nuclear disarmament experts, and NGO representatives.

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — I am Hidehiko YUZAKI, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture and President of Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace or HOPe for short. [2022-08-24] 

Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons

Photo: Ms. Kekashan Basu, Founder and President of Green Hope Foundation, presented a joint statement of the "Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons" during the NGO presentation session at UN Headquarters. Credit: Seikyo Shimbun

Since 2014, SGI has worked as part of the Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons, a group of faith-based organizations and individuals committed to a nuclear-weapon-free world, to issue joint interfaith statements at international fora.

Following is the Joint Interfaith Statement to the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) issued on August 5, 2022.  [2022-08-19] 

Old and New Controversies at the 10th NPT Review Conference

 Old and New Controversies at the 10th NPT Review Conference  Viewpoint by Sergio Duarte  The writer is a former High Representative of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.  NEW YORK (IDN) — The Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) takes place in a volatile and unpredictable international context. The danger of the actual use of nuclear weapons was brought vividly to the forefront of international concerns by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last February. The claim that nuclear weapons have prevented a war in Europe since 1945 has once more been proven false.  Although the brunt of the war is being felt in Ukraine, the confrontation between NATO and Russia may spill over its current limits and provoke dire consequences, including what once seemed unthinkable.  As the Secretary-General of the United Nations has warned, since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis the world has not been as close to nuclear war as now.   In spite of such ominous prospects, the Review Conference enters its third week in an atmosphere of relative calm as delegations seem ready to start considering draft language for a possible Final Document. The previous Conference was unable to adopt a consensus text at the end of its deliberations in 2015 and most parties to the instrument would be relieved to avoid a second failure in a row. This is, however, easier said than done.  Lack of consensus has been a constant feature since the Eighteen-nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) started debating a proposal for a non-proliferation treaty jointly submitted in 1965 by its co-Chairs, the delegates of the United States and the Soviet Union. In view of the absence of agreement, in March 1968 the co-Chairs decided to annex their proposed text to a report to the United Nations General Assembly signed by them “on behalf of the Committee”[1].  After long debates, the Assembly adopted Resolution 2373 commending the text of the NPT and requesting its three Depositary governments to open it for the signature of states. The resolution further requested the ENDC to “urgently pursue” negotiations as proposed in Article VI of the instrument.  The Preamble of that resolution states that “an agreement to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons must be followed as soon as possible by effective measures on the cessation of the nuclear arms race and on nuclear disarmament”. Such measures, however, have still to be negotiated in a multilateral context.  Resolution 2373 received 95 votes in favour, four against and 21 abstentions. This result made clear that almost one-fourth of the membership of the United Nations at the time had doubts about joining the NPT. Nevertheless, over the following decades the overwhelming majority of the community of nations gradually became parties to the Treaty, and by 1998 all but four members of the United Nations had joined it.  Several reasons explain the initial hesitation of so many states as well as the subsequent support received by the Treaty. Most countries do not have the necessary scientific and industrial development needed for the development of nuclear activities and relied on the promise of technical assistance for peaceful purposes contained in Article IV. Pressure from nuclear weapon states and lack of incentives to acquire nuclear arms also account for their change of mind.  Others believed that developing their own nuclear capability would be detrimental to their security and entered instead into arrangements with nuclear weapon states for assurances against nuclear attack. Still some others, which possessed significant national nuclear development, hedged their bets until achieving a degree of autonomy in their peaceful programs and finally decided to join the Treaty.  Today the NPT is the most adhered to instrument in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.  Nevertheless, the main points of disagreement not resolved at the ENDC periodically come back to haunt the parties. These issues stem from the inherent imbalance between the rights and obligations of nuclear and non-nuclear parties and from the primacy given by the nuclear weapon states and their allies to measures of non-proliferation over disarmament.  While non-nuclear parties have consistently called on nuclear-armed states to fulfill the obligation of moving toward disarmament contained in Article, VI, the latter have always conditioned action to that end to ill-defined improvements in the world security situation, generating a deeply-rooted sense of frustration in the non-nuclear parties. That difference of perceptions has been the main obstacle to consensus at Review Conferences, a result that has eluded the parties to the NPT in five out of nine such Conferences so far.  Other important questions still subject of disagreement since the early debates on the implementation of the Treaty include efforts to increase restrictions and impose conditionalities on peaceful nuclear programs of non-nuclear states in contrast with the reluctance to accept binding disarmament commitments as the arms race among those that possess such weapons accelerates.  In fact, the latter seems to interpret the Treaty as granting them not only a license to forever keep their nuclear arsenals but also a free hand to improve the speed, accuracy and destructive power of such armament in what can be characterized as technological proliferation.  The question of “nuclear sharing” has never been satisfactorily settled and now threatens to reappear in the context of divergences between Russia and the United States.  Lack of progress in the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East—a condition for the indefinite extension of the NPT won by the nuclear parties in 1995—is a recurrent complaint that has prevented consensus in previous NPT Review Conferences, as was the case in 2005 and 2015.   The recent announcement of a partnership among the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines is also the subject of controversy. While the acquisition of naval nuclear propulsion does not run counter to the NPT and is actually provided for in the standard IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements, the transfer of nuclear material for propulsion, in particular highly enriched uranium (HEU) has given rise to concerns.  China, for one, raised the prospect of nuclear weapons proliferation in the Pacific and Indian oceans, while Australia and its partners contend that adequate safeguards can prevent that possibility. Other countries also have an interest in this matter, and there are significant differences between specific programs.  The advent of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons leading to their elimination (TPNW) added another element to the panoply of issues that can derail the 10th Review Conference. At its adoption in 2017, the five nuclear weapon states recognized by the NPT set forth their view that it is “counterproductive” and “incompatible with the NPT” and declared their intention never to sign it.  For their part, the 62 parties and 86 signatories of the TPNW seem determined to include a reference to the complementarity of new Treaty with the NPT in the final result of the NPT Review Conference.  They argue that its negotiation stems directly from the call of Article VI of the NPT for each party to “undertake negotiations in good faith on the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament”, in accordance with Resolution 71/258 by a United Nations conference open to all of its members, which the nuclear weapon states and all but one of their allies dec lined to attend.  All parties to the NPT have a stake in the success of the Tenth Conference. In spite of their deep differences, the nuclear powers have so far exercised enough restraint in their participation in the debates to prevent the current heightened mistrust and animosity among themselves from negatively affecting the proceedings, as was the case in previous instances. However, given the degree of dissatisfaction of a large section of the membership over the lack of fulfilment of the central bargain of the Treaty—non-proliferation versus nuclear disarmament—, it is today far from certain that the parties will be able to find consensus formulations for a Final Document.  As noted above, such a development is not unprecedented and should not discourage the members of the NPT from continuing to search for common understandings on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The existing regime is certainly not the only reason why so many countries have decided not to obtain such awesome means of destruction, but its contribution to peace and stability cannot be understated. It is important, however, to understand that the international situation has evolved since the inception of the NPT.  As it stands now, the regime seems outdated and unable to provide meaningful answers to the concerns of the international community about its own survival.  Even so, calls for en masse abandonment of the Treaty did not raise much enthusiasm among the membership[2].  These considerations should be in the minds of delegates to the 10th Review Conference as they embark on the final stretch of their deliberations. [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 August 2022]  Photo: Two young Ukrainian voices, Yelyzaveta Khodorovska and Valeriia Hesse delivered a statement on behalf of ICAN calling for nuclear disarmament at the NPT Review Conference. Source: Arms Control Association.

Viewpoint by Sergio Duarte

The writer is a former High Representative of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

NEW YORK (IDN) — The Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) takes place in a volatile and unpredictable international context. The danger of the actual use of nuclear weapons was brought vividly to the forefront of international concerns by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last February. The claim that nuclear weapons have prevented a war in Europe since 1945 has once more been proven false.  [2022-08-17] 

The Risk of a Nuclear Attack has Risen to its Highest Level Since the Cold War

Photo: Hirotsugu Terasaki, Director General of Peace and Global Issues, Soka Gakkai International. Credit: Seikyo Shimbun.

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — Speaking during a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the devastating atomic bombing of Hiroshima, UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarked on August 6 that it is totally unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war.

“The elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that the atrocities of Hiroshima will never be repeated,” he declared. [2022-08-17-12]  ARABIC | ITALIAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF

Beyond First Steps: Phasing out Nuclear Weapons and Energy

Photo: UN Chief Guterres calling from Hiroshima Peace Memorial on August 6 not to "forget the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki". @antonioguterres

By M. V. Ramana*

VANCOUVER, Canada (IDN) — The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for “all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the [Zaporizhzhia Nuclear] plant [in Ukraine] to cease immediately and not to target its facilities or surroundings” because “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia or any other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, or anywhere else, could lead to catastrophic consequences not only for the immediate vicinity but for the region and beyond”.  [2022-08-16] 

Achieving the Elusive Against the Odds: "A Middle East Nuclear (and WMD) Free Zone"

Photo: Abylaikhan Bogenbaiuly, used with permission, credit:

By Tariq Rauf

NEW YORK (IDN) — Finally, at long last, the postponed 2020 Tenth Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference commenced its work at United Nations headquarters in New York on August 1, 2022. Under the able Presidency of Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen of Argentina, the review conference is expected to complete its work on August 26.

If all goes well, a Final Document would be adopted on the review of the implementation of the NPT and the commitments agreed at the review conferences held in 1995, 2000 and 2010—there was no agreement in 2005 and 2015 as the conferences ended in disarray over disagreements on nuclear disarmament and the Middle East.  [2022-08-15] 

Indelible Impact of the Bombing of Nagasaki

Photo: Ms Wada Masako addressing the UN General Assembly at the UN General Assembly on August 5 as part of the 2022 NPT Review Conference. Credit: Akira Kawasaki.

Viewpoint by Wada Masako

Ms Wada Masako is Assistant Secretary-General of the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo). Following are extensive extracts from the text of her presentation at the UN General Assembly on August 5 as part of the 2022 NPT Review Conference.

NEW YORK (IDN) — I was a one- and ten-months old baby when Nagasaki was devastated by the atomic bomb. My house was located 2.9 kilometres away from the blast centre. Thanks to the mountains surrounding the central part of Nagasaki City, which somewhat shielded my house from the direct impact of the bomb, I have survived to this day.

I don't remember anything about that time. My mother used to tell her story over and over again. [2022-08-11] 

Nuclear Submarines and The Non-Proliferation Treaty: Brazil Gets a Jump on Australia?

Photo: (Left) Álvaro Alberto, Brazil's first nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) concept, courtesy of Serviços e Informações do Brasil; (Right): US Navy Virginia-class SSN, courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat Public Affairs, Creative Commons Licence 040730-N-1234E-002)

By Tariq Rauf*

VIENNA (IDN) — Originally scheduled for April-May 2020, due to postponements because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) finally convened in these turbulent times at the United Nations in New York on 1 August and will conclude its deliberations on 26 August.

NPT review conferences are held every five years to assess the implementation of the NPT across its three "pillars": nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. [2022-08-08] 

NPT Review Conference Urged to Seek "No First Use" of Nuclear Weapons


By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — When academics, anti-nuclear peace activists and civil society organisations (CSOs) met at the United Nations earlier this month to discuss the growing threats of a nuclear war worldwide, one of the underlying themes was captured in the title: "Avoiding Nuclear War: What Short-Term Steps Can be Taken?"

The discussion included a call on the world's five major nuclear powers—the UK, US, France, Russia and China, all permanent members of the UN Security Council—to commit "No First Use" of nuclear weapons. [2022-08-07-11] JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SPANISH | SWEDISH | TURKISH

A Nuclear Review Conference Amidst Loud War Drums


By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — The Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which runs from August 1-26, takes place amidst a raging battle: a nuclear Russia vs a non-nuclear Ukraine and potential military conflicts on the horizon, including a nuclear China vs a non-nuclear Taiwan, a nuclear North Korea vs a non-nuclear South Korea and a nuclear Israel vs a non-nuclear Iran. [2022-08-01] 


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