As a major nuclear weapons state, China plays a key role in both Russian and North Korean (DPRK) nuclear policy. Following is analysis and opinion from Ploughshares Fund staff, grantees and guests on the ongoing struggle to deal with nuclear weapons in China.
Eisenhower wanted it; Kennedy almost got it; Clinton negotiated it; and now Obama can deliver it. It is the longest-sought, hardest-fought for goal in the history of nuclear arms control: a global ban on nuclear weapons tests.
Since its most recent nuclear test on February 12, 2013, there has been a lot of attention to and activity around North Korea. The test – it’s third and most “successful” to date – elicited a predictable response in the passage of additional U.N. Security Council sanctions the. But the fact that the sanctions passed unanimously – with China’s consent – is significant, although it is still unclear if this marks a shift in Chinese policy toward North Korea. In short, the North’s latest behavior seems to have raised the game with respect to the stability and security in Northeast Asia.
It will be days or weeks before the world knows much about the nuclear test conducted by North Korea mid-day Tuesday local time in Pyongyang. What was its actual yield? What did it use – plutonium or highly enriched uranium, or some combination? Did it perform as expected? What will the international response be? Is this a game changer?
I just returned from a week in Beijing. What a change. Scores of modern skyscrapers with international brand names and products emblazoned atop have sprung up where none existed as little as five years ago. Shining shopping malls are filled with the latest fashions and products. Streets are choked with thousands of cars and buses where packs of bicycles and motorcycles once ruled.
Say what you will about North Korea. It’s “backwards,” impoverished, isolated, led by an enigmatic, secretive leader, or even that it is “the land of no smiles” whose people live a life on the edge of survival.
Everyone’s talking about North Korea’s missile launch this week. And sure, it’s a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world. Here’s some quick behind-the-news perspectives to help parse facts from fear-mongering.
In a recent article, Jeffrey Lewis of Arms Control Wonk outlined what could happen to U.S. nuclear forces under a sequestration budget. He illustrates that even with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s so-called “doomsday” cuts to nuclear weapons related activities, the U.S. could still field enough warheads to greatly surpass the limits put in place by New START.
What could that “doomsday” look like if the U.S. maximized its nuclear forces? (View at full size)
Video games are often accused of promoting violence, stunting social skill growth and leading to inactive lifestyles. Now, they could be contributing to something even more dangerous – the creation of nuclear weapons.