This week at a forum in Tokyo for the Association for Southeast Asian Nations, the U.S. called for ending all nuclear weapons testing. Frank A. Rose, of the U.S. Bureau of Arms Control, said in a speech, “The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains a top priority for the United States.”
This treaty (CTBT) would ban all test explosions of nuclear weapons. However, the U.S. and seven other nations have yet to ratify the CTBT. China, North Korea, India and Pakistan are among those nations.
Rose added, “there is no reason for the remaining Annex 2 states to wait for the United States before completing their own ratification processes…We urge all States to provide adequate financial and political support for the completion of the CTBT verification regime and its provisional operations between now and the entry into force of the treaty because we all benefit from continuing to grow the regime’s capabilities.”
The CTBT features an extensive international monitoring system which has proven effective in detecting test explosions. North Korea’s most recent nuclear tests were picked up by the system within hours of the event.
President Obama, like every other recent U.S. president with the exception of George W. Bush, has stated his support for a treaty ending nuke testing. However, the U.S. Senate needs to ratify the CTBT for it to take effect.
The Senate voted against the CTBT in 1999, citing concerns over verification of whether violations could be detected. In addition, some believe that test explosions are needed to maintain the nuclear arsenal.
Others want to get out of what Dwight Eisenhower once called the expensive and dangerous business of nukes.
There is no word yet on when President Obama will re-introduce the treaty into the Senate. Rose added, “We are working to educate the American public on the security benefits of the Treaty, as well as the dangerous health effects of explosive nuclear testing.”