North Korea announced it conducted another nuclear weapons test, the largest to date. This continues a cycle of repeated nuclear weapon and missile testing. PAX condemns this harmful and destabilizing action. North Korea however, is not the only country increasing its ability to unleash nuclear catastrophe.
The United States last week also conducted a test- not a nuclear weapons explosion- rather a test of its already well established Minuteman missile. This test was barely noticed by the international community. Yet both these actions are parts of nuclear weapon modernization plans.
Each of the nine nuclear armed countries is currently modernizing their nuclear weapons arsenals. In some situations these plans are to revitalize delivery systems, in others it is to advance new attack methods, and in some it is to renew the entire system.
Modernization plans are expected to cost over $1 trillion over the next 30 years. The governments of China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States, along with North Korea, are prioritizing increasing their catastrophic capabilities instead of dealing with the more pressing citizen concerns of health care, infrastructure and public safety.
North Korea’s test is a tragic example of the continued assertion by a minority that nuclear weapons have some perceived value. It is time for the international community to comprehensively prohibit the use, production, testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, just as it has prohibited biological and chemical weapons.
North Korea’s action is just one reflection of the reckless race to modernize nuclear arsenals. This must be halted and reversed. The time has come for a nuclear disarmament race, and a new nuclear ban treaty is the best way to start. A majority of governments have agreed that it is indeed time to codify the stigma against all nuclear weapons- and to outlaw them once and for all.