The US is urging countries that have ratified a UN treaty that bans nuclear weapons to withdraw their support for the pact. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is approaching ratifications from 50 countries, which is needed to bring the treaty into force.
The TPNW requires all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances … develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The TPNW also bans the transfer or use of nuclear weapons and requires its participants to promote the treaty to other countries.
The Associated Press obtained the US letter to the signatories of the treaty. The letter says Washington’s NATO allies and the five original nuclear powers, the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK, all “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the TPNW.
The letter says the TPNW “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament” and says it threatens the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT was created to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons beyond the original five powers in exchange for those powers to reduce their arsenals.
“Although we recognize your sovereign right to ratify or accede to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we believe that you have made a strategic error and should withdraw your instrument of ratification or accession,” the letter reads.
The Associated Press spoke with Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, about Washington’s letter. Fihn dismissed the claim in the letter that the TPNW would interfere with the decades-old NPT as “straightforward lies, to be frank.”
“They have no actual argument to back that up,” Fihn said. “The Nonproliferation Treaty is about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminating nuclear weapons, and this treaty implements that. There’s no way you can undermine the Nonproliferation Treaty by banning nuclear weapons. It’s the end goal of the Nonproliferation Treaty.”