In the Weapons of Terror report, published by the WMDC, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is referred to as "the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime" (Weapons of Terror, 62). In the treaty, five countries are permitted to posses nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France. The treaty also calls for these countries to refrain from spreading nuclear technology, devices or weapons to any non-nuclear weapon state. These non-nuclear weapon states must also agree not to develop nuclear weapons or devices. The NPT came to life in 1970. Since 1970, 188 states have agreed to the NPT, but North Korea chose to withdraw in 2003. After North Korea's withdrawal from the treaty, the country joined India, Pakistan, and Israel as countries who have not signed the treaty.
Although the treaty is recognized by many as an effective plan that could lead to a reduction in nuclear weapons, there seem to be some problem areas. As laid out in the WMDC report (p. 63), a few problems are as follows:
Failure to make progress towards nuclear disarmament
Problems associated with breaches of the treaty and if International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards
The treaty's provision regarding withdrawal fails to identify a country's withdrawal as a serious event
Implementing the treaty has been problematic
The Weapons of Terror report provides many suggestions for improvement. The WMDC calls for a reverting to "the fundamental and balanced non-proliferation and disarmament commitments that were made under the treaty and confirmed in 1995 when the treaty was extended indefinitely" (65). Among other things, the report also suggests that "all Non-Proliferation Treaty non-nuclear weapon states parties should accept comprehensive safeguards as strengthened by the IAEA protocol. Finally, the report suggests that the treaty's member states should "establish a standing secretariat to handle administrative matters for the parties to the treaty" (66). The WMDC also suggests that the secretariat organize meetings and review conferences. Further explanation of the NPT can be found here.
In 1996, the Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. Paul Keating, initiated the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In a media release of the report, the Commission states that there
"Is no doubt that, if the peoples of the world were more fully aware of the inherent danger of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use, they would reject them, and not permit their continued possession or acquisition on their behalf by their governments, even for an alleged need for self-defense."
The report urges the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom to fully commit to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Listed below are a number of steps suggested by the Canberra Commission and taken directly from the Commission's final document. These steps, they say should be "taken immediately" and if executed properly, they will "make the world safer" (Canberra Commission, August 14, 1996, Media Release).
Taking nuclear forces off alert
Removal of warheads from delivery vehicles
Ending deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons
Ending nuclear testing
Initiating negotiations to further reduce United States and Russian nuclear arsenals
Agreement amongst the nuclear weapon states of reciprocal no first use undertakings, and of a non-use undertaking by them in relation to the non-nuclear weapon states.
The Commission also outlined another series of steps that would "build on the solid foundation of commitment, accomplishment and goodwill established" as a result of the steps listed above. The second half of the plan is as follows:
Action to prevent further horizontal proliferation
Developing verification arrangements for a nuclear weapon free world
Cessation of the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes.
The Canberra Commission advocates that a nuclear weapon free world is within our reach provided that countries commit to it.
The full text of the Canberra Commission can be found here
COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY
In September of 1996 the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was put into place, advocating for the reduction of nuclear weapons and prohibition of nuclear explosions.
The treaty also called for the formation of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. This organization was intended to oversee the implementation of the treaty as well as provide a forum for consultation and cooperation (Article II, The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). Further explanation of the treaty can be found at here. Here is the official site of the treaty.
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