The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, approved by the United Nations in 2017, entered into force this Friday after being ratified by 50 countries, an essential minimum requirement for the treaty to begin its journey. However, all the atomic powers and NATO refused to join this treaty that was born thus with dubious effectiveness, as questioned by the prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga.
Since the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the international community began, on the one hand, a tough arms race by the great powers, on the other, a search for disarmament so that these events would never happen again. The entry into force of this treaty is a step forward in the achievement of this second objective, although none of the current nuclear powers is part of it, which reduces their ability to influence.
The signatory countries of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons undertake, among other things, not to develop, acquire, store, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. But the effectiveness of this treaty negotiated and approved in 2017 within the United Nations appears greatly diminished since its entry into force given the rejection of it by the nuclear powers and NATO.
Last October, Honduras was the 50th country to join the treaty, starting the 90-day count required for the text to enter into force. Another thirty countries signed the text without ratifying it. The Netherlands was the only NATO country that took part in the negotiations, but ultimately did not join the agreement. The Atlantic Alliance hides itself in the fact that the lack of powers and verification mechanisms will mean that “a single weapon” is not destroyed.
A triumph for civil society
“A truly important day for international law, for the United Nations and for the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” It was with this enthusiasm that Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), received this enthusiasm. English), the entry into force of the new treaty.
In the same way, Antonio Gutierres, Secretary General of the UN, said that “nuclear weapons constitute a growing threat and the world must adopt urgent measures to eliminate them and avoid the catastrophic consequences of their use for humanity and the environment.” .
The body chaired by Gutierres wanted to highlight the “decisive role of civil society” for the entry into force of this treaty. Not surprisingly, according to ICAN, several surveys indicate that in countries such as Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy or Iceland – all of them members of NATO – about 80% of the population is in favor of this new treaty, even though their governments do not appear among the signatories.
The effectiveness of the agreement is questioned from Japan
On nuclear weapons, Japan is always a voice to be reckoned with. Without nuclear weapons capacity, the Japanese country will always have the authority of someone who, until now, has been the only country to suffer the consequences of this deadly destructive power. For this reason, his lack of support for the treaty, whose effectiveness was questioned this Friday, January 22, by the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, is striking.
Suga acknowledged that Japan “has the responsibility to lead the community’s efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons”, but justified its non-adherence to the treaty because “it does not have the support of the states with nuclear weapons or of many states without those weapons. “. However, he considered that it is necessary to seek a “realistic” path to achieve nuclear disarmament throughout the world.
Japan does not have atomic weapons, however, it is under the nuclear umbrella of the United States, which allows it to have a defense system against a hypothetical attack from North Korea, which is why Japan shields itself from requests from associations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors and other anti-nuclear organizations to sign this new agreement.
Biden proposes to Russia to extend its last nuclear treaty for five years
At the same time that this treaty came into force, the new president of the United States, Joe Biden, called on Russia to extend for a period of five years the “New Start” treaty by which both powers Nuclear power plants pledged in 2010 to limit their nuclear warheads to 1,550 and their respective ballistic systems to 700.
“The president has been clear for a long time that the ‘New Beginning’ treaty is in the interest of the national security of the United States. And this extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is as adverse as it is at the moment,” he said. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing.
The Kremlin welcomed this offer from Biden, which would extend the validity of this treaty until 2026. “We can only welcome the political will to expand the document,” President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with journalists. “But everything will depend on the details of the proposal.”
“Certain conditions have been raised (on other occasions) for the extension, and some of them have been absolutely unacceptable for us, so let’s first see what the United States offers,” he said. It is certainly not a step towards nuclear disarmament, but it is a step towards dialogue between the two main nuclear powers, which highlighted their differences in this regard during the government of former US President Donald Trump.
With EFE, AP and Reuters.