Green Cross decries North Korean nuclear blast

Green Cross International criticized North Korea today for undertaking its third nuclear weapons test in the last six years and called on the remaining eight nuclear-capable countries which have not joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to do so in order for the treaty to enter into force.

Dr. Paul Walker, director of the Green Cross Environmental Security and Sustainability Program, stated: “North Korea’s reported third nuclear weapons test since its earlier tests in 2006 and 2009 once again weakens both Asian and  global security and points toward the critical need for the US, China, and other nuclear powers to ratify the 1996 nuclear test ban.”

Green Cross pointed out that the five major nuclear weapons countries – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States – all ended nuclear testing between 1990 (Russia) and 1996 (France and China), and only India and Pakistan have undertaken nuclear tests in 1998.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has therefore been the only country to conduct nuclear weapons tests in the last fourteen years.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which 183 countries have signed to date and 159 have ratified, requires the 44 countries which have nuclear weapons and/or power and research reactors to ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force.  Thirty-six have done so to date, with only eight remaining – Egypt, China, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the US.  The US rejected ratification in a 1999 US Senate vote, but US President Barack Obama has pledged to bring it before the US Senate in his second term.  The CTBT Organization in Vienna, which has established a global network of seismic, hydro-acoustic, and radionuclide monitoring of nuclear tests, reported measuring a 5.0 magnitude event an hour before the North Korean announcement.

Walker emphasized:  “If both the US and China would ratify the CTBT in the next year, this would likely begin to de-escalate the drive by would-be nuclear powers such as North Korea and Iran to research and develop nuclear weapons capabilities.  Only by fulfilling their Article VI and more recent pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to permanently ban nuclear testing and further reduce nuclear weapons arsenals, will the world’s nuclear powers be more successful in staunching the testing and proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

GCI, founded in 1993 by President Mikhail Gorbachev, is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva and has a network of national organizations in around 30 countries.

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