US double standards exacerbate global proliferation risks

China Military Online
Wang Xinjuan
2022-09-08 17:49:21

By Zhao Chang and Song Yue

The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on August 26. Because of differences, the conference ended without the adoption of an outcome document. During the meeting, the US ignored a series of its own negative measures, pointed fingers at other countries' nuclear non-proliferation policies, or even smeared them, which aroused widespread criticism from the international community. As the depositary of the NPT and a nuclear-weapon state, the US has continued to attack the nuclear non-proliferation regime in recent years, being an outright destroyer of the NPT.

During the conference, representatives of many countries including Indonesia expressed their concerns on the issue of nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, Britain and Australia, and believed that the use and sharing of nuclear technology and nuclear materials by the three countries for military purposes violated the spirit of the NPT. The US and Britain, as depositaries of the NPT and nuclear-weapon states, have decided to transfer nuclear submarine power reactors and tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to a non-nuclear-weapon state. This posed a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, the nuclear submarine cooperation of the three countries threatens the security of Asia-Pacific countries, provokes the camp confrontation, stimulates an arms race, and causes serious damage to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) and the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ). It is a blatant violation of the purpose and spirit of the NPT. However, the US, Britain and Australia insisted on advancing nuclear submarine cooperation despite the opposition of all parties, and acted against the trend of the times for international peace. Such an attempt to go against the tide of history will not win the heart of the people.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, the US unilaterally tore up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and wasted the international community's efforts to resolve the issue. The Iran nuclear deal was hard-won. It is an important achievement of multilateral diplomacy approved by the UN Security Council, and an important pillar of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. Although the Biden administration has expressed its willingness to resume negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, it is unwilling to make substantive compromises. The US still insists on sanctions and threats of force against Iran until a final agreement is reached.

Different from its attitude towards the Iranian nuclear issue, the US acquiesced to its important ally, Japan’s possession of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) reprocessing technology and a large number of nuclear weapons materials. The US gradually relaxed restrictions on the ROK in reprocessing and missile development. The recent "nuclear sharing" by the US has fully exposed its hypocrisy and double standards for the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and international rules, seriously exacerbated the risks and tensions of regional nuclear conflicts and undermined global peace and stability.

The US has also negatively treated the international nuclear arms control process, reversed the historical process, and successively withdrawn from a series of important arms control treaties such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Treaty on Open Skies, and set additional conditions for the negotiation of new nuclear disarmament treaties. At the same time, the US has continued to strengthen its nuclear force and develop new types of nuclear warheads, low-yield nuclear weapons, and hypersonic weapons. And it plans to invest nearly 634 billion US dollars in the next 10 years to comprehensively upgrade its nuclear triad. During the review conference, the majority of non-nuclear-weapon states expressed their serious dissatisfaction with the slow progress of international nuclear disarmament in the general debate. The US's blind pursuit of absolute military superiority and nuclear hegemony has led to stagnation or even reversal of the downward trend of the global nuclear arsenal, which has become a major obstacle to the process of international nuclear disarmament.

Mankind is an inseparable community with a shared future. All parties in the world must continuously strengthen the universality, authority, and effectiveness of the NPT, resolutely resist and expose the hypocrisy and hegemonic nature of the US and add more stability and certainty to the international community. We should adhere to the common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security concept, and contribute to maintaining world peace and security.

 (The author is from the China Institute of Nuclear Industry Strategy )

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