US Official: North Korea Is Biggest Threat to Nuclear Weapons Treaty

A senior U.S. official is warning that the North Korean regime poses the greatest threat to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). The U.S. position on the treaty was released in advance of next week’s meeting in Vienna of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT review conference.

Robert Wood, the U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, said his main goal at the two-week NPT PrepCom would be to get the international community to stand together in condemnation of North Korea’s provocations, threats and actions.

A change of behavior

He said the U.S. was not after regime change in North Korea; it is after a change of behavior by the government.

“When you have a situation like this where a country back in 2003 announced its withdrawal from the NPT, this is a huge concern for the international community that has not been addressed,” Wood said. “And, we in the NPT family need to address this issue. And when you see what they are doing, the threats and provocations they are making towards the United States, Republic of Korea, Japan — this kind of rhetoric cannot be tolerated.”

President Donald Trump has warned that the United States would have to greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until the world came to its senses regarding nuclear weapons.

US looks to make NPT stronger

Wood told VOA the United States was committed to strengthening the NPT. He said the president’s comments were made in reaction to the rapid modernization of nuclear weapons by China and Russia. He said Washington would not be in second or third place should this modernization continue.

“However, that does not mean in any way that the United States would shirk on its responsibilities that it has under the NPT, particularly Article Six, which deals with good faith, willingness to engage in good-faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament.” Wood said.  

Both the United States and Russia possessed tens of thousands of nuclear weapons at the height of the Cold War in 1967. These arsenals have been considerably reduced. Russia now has the most with 7,300 nuclear weapons, followed by the U.S. with nearly 7,000.

Observers agree this lesser quantity of nuclear arms is still capable of destroying the Earth several times over.

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