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IPPNW welcomes China’s call to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons; urges leadership at UN treaty negotiations

Posted by IPPNW on January 24, 2017

Chinese president Xi Jinping: "Nuclear weapons … should be completely prohibited."

IPPNW welcomes the statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping that "nuclear weapons … should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of them." President Xi's remarks, made during a speech on January 18 at the United Nations in Geneva, were consistent with China's long-standing official support for nuclear disarmament, and come as the UN is preparing to convene negotiations on a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

China gave a positive signal at the UN General Assembly last month, unlike its other P5 partners, when it abstained from, rather than voting against, a resolution authorizing negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The resolution was carried by a majority of over three to one. China can now show real leadership by declaring its intention to participate in the negotiating conference for the ban treaty opening this March, with the goal of making the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons an unequivocal international norm. By doing so, China would not only take an important practical step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, it would also send a strong signal to the other eight nuclear-armed states that their objections to the negotiations and their criticisms of the treaty itself are misplaced, and that their massive reinvestments in nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and infrastructure are dangerous and contradictory to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The obligation to achieve that goal is spelled out in Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and the International Court of Justice has unanimously said that all States, whether or not they possess nuclear arms, have an obligation under international law to negotiate nuclear disarmament.

IPPNW urges China to act upon President Xi's timely and important policy statement by sending a delegation to the opening session of the ban treaty negotiating conference in March, with clear instructions to participate in good faith and in cooperation with the non-nuclear-armed states leading this historic process.

Cross-posted from the Peace and Health blog.

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