Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s ignominious opposition to UN resolution towards nuclear disarmament

Clearly, Australia, Japan and South Korea voted in solidarity with their U.S. nuclear protector and against the overwhelming sentiment of their Asian and Pacific neighbors as well as against global opinion. Being on the wrong side of geography as well as history is not a good look. Their vote might also attract charges of hypocrisy the next time they criticize North Korea’s nuclear program

Rattling the nuclear cage, and look who is terrified,
Japan Times,  BY  , 4 Nov 16, “…….on Oct. 27 the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly adopted, by the overwhelming vote of 123-38 (with 16 abstentions), Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41, which calls for negotiations on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination.” Two conferences will be convened next year in New York (March 27 to 31 and June 15 to July 7). The resolution fulfills the 127-nation humanitarian pledge “to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.”
The strengthening international sentiment was evident at the U.N. working group’s disarmament meeting in Geneva in August when Australia angered many countries by insisting on a recorded vote instead of approving a consensus report calling for negotiations on a ban to begin in 2017. The vote was 68-22 to proceed. Strenuous efforts since then to cajole, coax, bribe and bully countries to change their vote in the U.N. General Assembly in October failed spectacularly as no fewer than 57 countries co-sponsored resolution L41. The European Parliament has adopted its own resolution [415-124 (74 abstentions)] calling on member states to participate constructively in the 2017 negotiations.

This historic U.N. decision adds to global efforts to delegitimize nuclear weapons, contain and reverse their spread, and begin the process of first banning and then eliminating them and dismantling their infrastructure. A legal ban will further reinforce the normative boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons, strengthen the norm of nonuse of nuclear weapons, and reaffirm both the nonproliferation and disarmament norms.

All 191 NPT state parties have committed in Article 6 to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” In 1996 the World Court advised that they have an obligation to bring these negotiations to a conclusion. The Oct. 27 U.N. resolution conforms to this obligation and attempts to give practical expression to it.

Objections to it lack merit and should be seen as a failed tactic to delay abolition indefinitely……..

A detailed breakdown of the U.N. vote is quite revealing. Four of the five NPT-licit nuclear weapons states voted against the resolution (France, Russia, Britain and the United States) and were joined by Israel as a non-NPT nuclear power. China abstained and so did India and Pakistan. North Korea, remarkably, voted “yes.” Of the three countries that have hosted conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, Austria and Mexico voted for it, but Norway buckled to U.S. pressure and voted against.

Of the 177 countries that voted on the resolution, 34 are from Asia and the Pacific region. Of these, 26 voted in support of Resolution L41, four against (Australia, Japan, Federated States of Micronesia, and South Korea), and four abstained (China, India, Pakistan and Vanuatu).

Clearly, Australia, Japan and South Korea voted in solidarity with their U.S. nuclear protector and against the overwhelming sentiment of their Asian and Pacific neighbors as well as against global opinion. Being on the wrong side of geography as well as history is not a good look. Their vote might also attract charges of hypocrisy the next time they criticize North Korea’s nuclear program. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/11/04/commentary/world-commentary/rattling-nuclear-cage-look-terrified/#.WB0CONJ97Gg

Ramesh Thakur is director of the Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

November 5, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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