Background: An Auspicious October
October 2, 2020: United Nations High Level Meeting Commemorating and Promoting the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: This Meeting Was Boycotted by United Kingdom, United States and France, AGAIN!
For many years the saner members of the United Nations, the majority, deplored the fact that there were treaties prohibiting biological weapons, chemical weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction, but the only weapons which were not yet prohibited by an international treaty were the most deadly weapons of all: nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and other countries, and Article 6 of this treaty requires the nuclear weapons states to eliminate their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Not only are the major nuclear powers, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom failing to eliminate their nuclear weapons, they are now spending trillions of dollars in upgrading their nuclear stockpiles, in brazen violation of Article 6 of the Nuclear NPT. At the same time, they are inflicting savage sanctions decimating the population of the DPRK, which is developing a nuclear deterrent, in realistic efforts to protect their country from the horrific fate suffered by Libya, and other countries which abandoned efforts to build nuclear protections.
In this connection, it is important to highlight the speech of China, the only major nuclear power state who spoke at this important meeting Commemorating and Promoting the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons:
Ambassador Geng Shuang affirmed:
Ever since the first day of possessing nuclear weapons, China has been advocating the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China has declared the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and unconditionally commits itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States or Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. China calls upon other Nuclear-Weapon States to make similar commitments and conclude a legally-binding instrument in this area…..The complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and the ultimate realization of a nuclear-weapon-free-world is in the common interest of mankind. China supports the GA resolutions on nuclear disarmament proposed by NAM, supports the establishment of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and supports a nuclear-weapons-free world.
Ambassador Geng continued:
“For the past years the US has been advocating American exceptionalism and America First, pushing for modernization of its nuclear arsenal, lowering the threshold of using nuclear weapons, and seeking to free its hands in the nuclear field. The US has unilaterally withdrawn from the INF Treaty, responded negatively to the proposal for extending the New START, and tried to evade its special responsibility in nuclear disarmament by trumpeting the so-called “trilateral talks.” The US is imposing unilateral sanctions and exerting maximum pressure on the Iranian and Korean Peninsular issues to advance its own geo-political agenda. Such US behaviors run counter to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world and the common interests of the international community.”
Among the memorable speeches at the October 2 meeting was the address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, Sabri Boukadoum, who recalled that Algeria had been the Chairman of the First Committee on Disarmament, when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted. Mr. Boukadoum stated that Algeria was well aquainted with the devastation of nuclear weapons, which had been tested on Algerian territory while Algeria was still a colony of a nuclear power. His speech was one of the most powerful and compelling.
On October 9, the DPRK spoke at the First Committee, and excerpts of Ambassador Kim Song’s address follow:
“In order to achieve nuclear disarmament, the countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should take the lead in dismantlement and withdraw nuclear weapons deployed outside their territories. Recently, show-down and rivalry aimed at extending military influence and gaining strategic edge in and around Asia are becoming increasingly fierce, which hampers peaceful development of the countries in the region. The DPRK delegation hereby stresses that any attempt to bring about a new Cold War and trigger a global arms race should not be tolerated as it is an affront to the common aspiration of humankind for a peaceful world. This year, even in the midst of the turmoil caused by the spread of the pandemic, undisguised acts of hostility threatening peace continued in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula such as joint military exercises of provocative nature and steady introduction of modern military hardware from the outside…We possess a self-defensive deterrent to reliably defend ourselves against any form of high-intensity pressure, military threats or blackmail by hostile forces… From the standpoint of using the outer space solely for peaceful purposes, we oppose arms race in the outer space and reaffirm the need to conclude a legally-binding treaty prohibiting militarization and weaponization of outer space at an early date.”
October 24, 2020: Entry-into-Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
In 2017, the majority of nations within the United Nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The DPRK supported the Treaty from its inception. When the UN General Assembly voted, Iran voted “yes,” in support of the Treaty, along with the majority of UN member states.
On October 24, 2020, the fiftieth country, Honduras, ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This fiftieth ratification, deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General, made possible the Entry Into Force of the Treaty. “In accordance with its article 15(1) the Treaty shall enter into force on 22 January, 2021.
“The Secretary-General commends the States that have ratified the Treaty and salutes the work of civil society, which has been instrumental in facilitating the negotiation and ratification of the Treaty. Entry-into-Force is a tribute to the survivors of nuclear explosions and tests, many of whom advocated for the Treaty. The entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. It represents a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.”
Last week, as the forty-ninth ratification of the Treaty was announced at the UN Daily Noon Press Briefing, with the added remark that only one more nation needed to ratify the Treaty in order for it to Enter-Into-Force, one journalist asked the Spokesman of the Secretary-General if he was aware of pressures upon treaty signatories to persuade (or compel) them not to ratify the treaty; the Spokesman made no comment about the ominous allegation. In fact, on October 24, 2020, the day the fiftieth country, Honduras, ratified the treaty, the distinguished Associated Press correspondent Edith M. Lederer reported that the “United States had written a letter to the treaty signatories saying the Trump administration believes they made ‘a strategic error’ and urging them to rescind their ratification.”
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a major supporter and campaigner for the treaty stated:
“The 50 countries that ratify this Treaty are showing true leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not just immoral but illegal….The United Nations was formed to promote peace with a goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons. This treaty is the UN at its best—working closely with civil society to bring democracy to disarmament.”
The arguments in the US letter to oppose and prevent the Entry-Into-Force of this historic treaty are spurious and preposterous, and indicative of their determination to retain possession of nuclear weapons while avoiding the stigma of now being known as a “rogue state.” The Treaty requires ratifying countries must “never under any circumstances..develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices—and the threat to use such weapons—and requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries.”
The US letter pressured the countries that ratified the treaty to withdraw from it, thereby demolishing its Entry-Into-Force status. The US, UK and France have ferociously opposed the treaty from its inception, and its Entry-Into-Force will expose and consign the US (and the UK, etc.) to the opprobrium of world history, as the first and only country to use nuclear weapons on a defenseless civilian population in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and henceforth, a danger to the entire world, determined to hold this “Sword of Damocles” over a now clearly demonstrated opposition by the vast majority of humanity.
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Carla Stea is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Global Research’s Correspondent at UN headquarters, New York.
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Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.
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