Speaking to the first Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ambassador Robert Wood, Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament said, “Today, our world faces no greater security challenge than that posed by North Korea.
The DPRK has resumed its reprocessing activities, admitted enriching uranium for nuclear weapons, and carried out five nuclear tests and many ballistic missile launches, in open defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. The DPRK, for its own sake, must abandon its nuclear and missile programs if it wants to achieve the security, economic development, and international recognition that it seeks.”
This week in Vienna, diplomats from around the world meet to take stock of our progress and opportunities on nuclear nonproliferation. The U.S. delegation will be focused like a laser on the DPRK.
In 1970, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force. At the heart of the Treaty is the goal of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty member states meet for a Review Conference every five years to assess implementation. May 2 saw the opening of the first of three Preparatory Committees that build toward the Review conference scheduled for 2020.
The United States looks forward to working with Nonproliferation Treaty partners to set the stage for a successful Review Conference when the Treaty will celebrate a half century of successes. Thanks to concerted international efforts under the treaty, the vast majority of states have forsworn and deeply oppose the spread of nuclear weapons.
Though successes are many, challenges remain. In the words of Ambassador Wood, “We are all at risk, and we must all act resolutely to answer this challenge. If we fail, permitting North Korea’s violations of and announced withdrawal from the NPT and its escalating provocations to plunge the region and perhaps the world into crisis, everything else we do and say here in Vienna will matter little by comparison...[D]etermining how to mitigate the nuclear threat from North Korea should be the central issue in our discussions.”