RPT - UK Nuclear Arsenal Boost Hinders NPT Credibility, Affects Work With Nuclear States - ICAN

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th March, 2021) The UK move to boost its stockpile of nuclear weapons runs contrary to its nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), undermines the credibility of the 50-year-old agreement and negatively affects the UK's work with the other nuclear states such as the United States, Russia and China, Akira Kawasaki, an International Steering Group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), told Sputnik.

"The UK decision runs contrary to its nuclear disarmament obligation under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This undermines the credibility of the NPT and thus negatively work with the other nuclear-weapon states - US, Russia, France and China," Kawasaki, who also serves as an executive committee member of Japan-based Peace Boat group, said.

According to him, investing more money in weapons of mass destruction is "unacceptable" particularly when the world is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The UK announcement to allow an increase in the number of nuclear warheads is dangerous and irresponsible. It is the first such decision made by a nuclear-weapon state after the Cold War. It promotes a global nuclear arms race, posing all peoples of the planet a grave risk," Kawasaki said.

He recalled that the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) just entered into force this January, and the global support of the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world has been growing.

"Today's UK announcement undermines the momentum. The UK and all nuclear-armed states are urged to take genuine actions for nuclear disarmament, committed to achieve the total elimination of those weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Meanwhile, New Mexico-based Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety group believes the new UK strategy will not hamper further talks on arms reduction under the NPT.

"It is a matter of being asked to join the other nations possessing nuclear weapons at the table to agree and act in good faith to achieve arms reductions," the group told Sputnik.

According to the new UK defense strategy, the post-Brexit UK will increase the limit from 180 to 260 warheads, in light of the "evolving security environment." The kingdom also pledged to deter and defend against the "full spectrum of threats" emerging from Russia and, added that it views China as a potential threat to the country's economic security.