“The United States is and will remain a champion of arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation efforts,” declared Bonnie Jenkins, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly First Committee, Undersecretary Jenkins urged member states to reconsider the proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty:
“It’s been more than 25 years since the [Conference on Disarmament] took up a mandate to negotiate an effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Such a treaty would make a significant contribution towards preventing a nuclear arms race and enabling future arms control agreements, and towards advancing nuclear disarmament.”
In an effort to reduce the prospect of conventional conflicts “the United States has long relied on risk reduction, transparency, and crisis management tools derived from arms control agreements to promote stability,” said Undersecretary Jenkins.
“These tools are flexible and modifiable to suit specific security challenges. They can increase stability, trust, and confidence, thus facilitating continued socio-economic development. By providing appropriate levels of transparency, risk reduction tools limit miscalculation or misunderstanding and provide time to de-escalate a potential conflict.”
Russia continues its war against Ukraine and at the same time is rejecting efforts to manage nuclear risks and prevent an arms race. At present, said Undersecretary Jenkins, “we face a post-2026 environment with no constraints on the arsenals of three largest nuclear powers.”
The People’s Republic of China is engaging in a rapid and opaque nuclear weapons build-up paralleled by its disinterest in substantive discussions on strategic stability and nuclear risks, warned Undersecretary Jenkins.
Other countries of concern include Iran and North Korea, noted Undersecretary Jenkins:
“Iran continues to expand its nuclear activities while hampering IAEA verification and monitoring activities. For more than four years, Iran has also failed to provide technically credible explanations to the Agency regarding possible undeclared nuclear activities. North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing advances similarly pose a growing threat to international peace and security as well as the global nonproliferation regime, which ongoing Russia-DPRK arms trade activities is only further undermining.”
It’s long past time that we take up forgotten, dismissed, or sidelined opportunities for arms control, urged Undersecretary Jenkins. “ If we do not act now, the road ahead will only become more treacherous.”