Magazine article Presidents & Prime Ministers

Facing Nuclear Dangers: An Action Plan for the 21st Century

Magazine article Presidents & Prime Ministers

Facing Nuclear Dangers: An Action Plan for the 21st Century

Article excerpt

The Report of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, July 25, 1999.


A decade after the end of the Cold War, at the threshold of the 21st Century, the fabric of international security is unraveling and nuclear dangers are growing at a disturbing rate. Relations among major powers are deteriorating. The United Nations is in political and financial crisis. The global regimes to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are under siege. Acts of terror are taking an increasingly worrisome turn, with the possible advent of sub-state groups armed with weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have shown that not all countries share the view that the usefulness of nuclear weapons is declining. Years of relentless effort have not eliminated the clandestine weapons of mass destruction programs of the most determined proliferates. The US-Russia nuclear disarmament process is stalled, with adverse consequences for the global disarmament agenda. The situation in Asia is particularly fluid, portending negative changes for disarmament and nonproliferation in coming years.

Unless concerted action is taken, and taken soon, to reverse these dangerous trends, nonproliferation and disarmament treaties could become hollow instruments. A renewed sense of commitment to both nonproliferation and disarmament is urgently needed. We, the members of the Tokyo Forum, have released this report to draw attention to growing dangers and to propose remedial actions, both immediate and for the longer term.

The Forum commends the initiative of the Japanese Government in calling it into being and sustaining its work. We express the hope and expectation that the Japanese Government will continue to play a positive role in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

Stop and reverse the unraveling of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime by reaffirming the treaty's central bargain. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) demands both disarmament and nonproliferation. The nuclear-weapon states must demonstrate tangible progress in nuclear disarmament, while the non-nuclear-weapon states must rally behind the Treaty and take stronger steps of their own, such as adopting improved International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. To support the NPT's core bargain, a permanent secretariat and consultative commission should be created to deal with questions of compliance and to consider strengthening measures for the Treaty.

Eliminate nuclear weapons through phased reductions. The world faces a choice between the assured dangers of proliferation or the challenges of disarmament. The better choice is the progressive reduction and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. No other cities must be put through the devastation wrought by nuclear weapons and the agony of recovering from their effects, endured by Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear weapon states must reaffirm the goal of elimination and take sustained, concrete steps towards this end.

Bring the nuclear test ban into force. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty must be ratified urgently by those key states still holding out - the United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan North Korea and Israel. All states must respect a moratorium on nuclear testing and pay their fair share of the treaty's verification costs.

Revitalize START and expand the scope of nuclear reductions. The Tokyo Forum calls on the United States and Russia to initiate new comprehensive talks on nuclear arms reduction and security issues, to combine the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties II and III processes, and to further extend reductions to 1,000 deployed strategic warheads. If these treaties remain stalled, we call on both countries to pursue parallel and verifiable reductions to that level. Verifiable reductions and elimination should be extended to non-deployed and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. …

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