In a recent interview, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins shed light on the efforts undertaken by the State Department to advance global denuclearization.
The denuclearization process is not solely about disarmament, said Under Secretary Jenkins.
“Denuclearization really is much wider than most people think. They think it's just get(ting) rid of a nuclear weapon, which is important, but it's also making sure ... countries don’t acquire them. Another thing is ... making sure that individuals don’t have the material to do nuclear smuggling. So that's also activities that prevent non-state actors from getting their hands on nuclear materials. So, you also have to worry about the individuals, not just states.”
At the center of the denuclearization effort lies the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a landmark agreement involving over 180 countries that stands as a testament to international cooperation aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Additionally, the State Department also engages in capacity building measures, noted Under Secretary Jenkins.
“The regime also includes other things. It includes activities that are called capacity building measures, which are efforts where we work with countries to find ways in which they can prevent things like nuclear smuggling or prevent countries from getting their hands on nuclear weapons or ways in which we try to interdict if a nuclear weapon … is acquired”
The United States also employs sanctions and export controls on countries involved with the development of nuclear weapons.
International partnerships, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and the U.N. Committee on Disarmament, are fundamental in denuclearization efforts, stated Under Secretary Jenkins.
“We also work with ... the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which does a lot of work on nuclear safety, security and safeguards, which is making sure that countries don't use nuclear material to develop nuclear weapons. We work here at the U.N., for example, the first Committee on Disarmament, which meets every year in October, and that's where countries get together to talk about and deal with issues of disarmament, of nuclear weapons. ... We have people who are constantly having bilateral meetings with other governments on issues of denuclearization.”
Collaboration, diplomacy, and international agreements remain paramount in the pursuit of peace and security.