Australian news, and some related international items

New Zealand speaks out against UK’s expansion of nuclear weaponry. Toady Australian govt stays silent

New Zealand ‘disappointed’ over United Kingdom’s plans to expand nuclear arsenal, Stuff, Thomas Manch, Mar 26 2021  

New Zealand says the United Kingdom’s plan to boost its nuclear armoury by 35 warheads “undermines” the global disarmament effort.The United Kingdom had previously committed to reducing its nuclear arsenal to 180 weapons. But after a review its defence and foreign policy upon leaving the European Union, the country decided to embrace nuclear weapons as a “deterrent” and increase its arsenal from “up to 225” warheads to “up to 260”.

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford told Stuff that New Zealand officials had contacted their counterparts in Britain to express their disappointment.”On so many foreign policy issues, the Brits are our mates, basically. But this is very disappointing. And it comes to the time when the world is hoping that nuclear disarmament is going to get back on the agenda,” he said.He said the British bid to increase their arsenal undermined the decades-old Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to which Britain was a signatory.

“The non-proliferation treaty is based on the idea that the nuclear weapon states including Britain will reduce their arsenals, and in return for that other countries won’t develop nuclear weapons, that’s the bargain that was struck.

“[This] undermines the efforts of countries around the world, including New Zealand, to promote the disarmament.”New Zealand has long been an advocate for nuclear disarmament, after the country declared itself a nuclear-free zone in the 1980s, banning nuclear armed and propelled ships from its waters.”There’s no doubt that heightened strategic rivalry has made the international climate much more difficult than in recent years, for a whole host of different multilateral things, including trade, but certainly disarmament and arms control.

But the answer to that is not to start some new arms race. The answer is to redouble our efforts to negotiate.”I know that it won’t just be New Zealand, it will be lots of other countries that are saying to the Brits, ‘This is not the direction we should be heading in’.”Twyford said the world was in “quite a risky, vulnerable situation”, as efforts to reduce the nuclear arsenal held by both the United States and Russia – 90 per cent of the world’s warheads – had slowed.New Zealand would be pushing for countries to sign up to the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the coming year, he said. This new treaty asked countries to declare that nuclear weapons were illegal under international law………

March 26, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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