Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:38 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:38 | SYDNEY

NPT linkage

21 May 2010 10:36

Fiona Cunningham is a Research Associate with the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute.

With the NPT Review Conference in New York to conclude in just over a week, the Big Apple is abuzz with nuclear activity.

  • Last Friday the chairs of the various committees at the conference released drafts of the final documents that they hope participating countries will adopt. Most ambitious among these is a commitment to set down a time-line for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a meeting in 2014 – GSN has a summary and links to the draft documents.
  • Doom and gloom over another RevCon failure is again in the air, this time due to the intractable problem of a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone that states such as Egypt are insisting upon, according to the Guardian.
  • Iran is the focus of the RevCon, both due to the fresh round of UN sanctions sought by the US and Europeans, and the Brazil-Turkey fuel swap offer. ArmsControlWonk as usual provides excellent analysis of the Iran-Brazil-Turkey nuclear fuel swap 'deal' and the parallel P5 attempt at a new round of sanctions — see here for Geoffrey Forden's and here for Joshua Pollack's analyses of the deal, and here for ACW contributor James Acton's comments on the Brazil-Turkey offer.
  • Russia handed around a brochure at the conference including a chart that looked rather similar to the US one depicting its stockpile numbers – but the similarity did not extend very far, according to FAS' Hans Kristensen, who points out why the chart is misleading.
  • The NPT is often read in terms of bargains, with various countries pointing the finger at each other for letting down their end of the bargain as justification for departing from their own obligations. For a reminder of two bargains within the NPT that get less airtime, have a look at this piece from William Tobey.
  • The RevCon buzz has found its way over to Asia as well, where Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada reportedly caused a diplomatic incident with China by insisting that China should make commitments not to increase the size of its nuclear arsenal, even once a furious Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, refused to discuss the issue at a trilateral meeting that also included South Korea. The Xinhua report of the meeting conveniently omitted this detail in reporting the 'value' the three East Asian powers placed on the international community's recent efforts at arms control and disarmament.

The Nuclear Reactions column is supported by the Nuclear Security Project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, as part of a wider partnership between the NSP and the Lowy Institute.