Nuclear Weapons in International Context - ViaMUN

Nuclear Weapons in International Context - ViaMUN

Delegation of South Africa (Erik Rose, Robert Born) 16.05.2008 – 14:30

Nuclear Weapons in International Context

Nations in possession of nuclear weapons:

Today there are nine nations that possess nuclear weapons. Five of which have signed the

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) and are approved by the United Nations to be nuclear

weapons states. The five states are United States, Russia (former Soviet Union), United Kingdom,

France and China.

Other nations which are officially in the possession of nuclear weapons are India, Pakistan and North

Korea. Furthermore Israel is believed to have developed nuclear weapons but neither confirms this nor

denies it. This assumption is based on the so called Vela Incident in which Israel was accused to have

tested a nuclear bomb together with South Africa in the Indian Ocean in 1979. The first four countries

are not formally recognized as nuclear weapons states and are the only nations in the world which

have not yet signed the NPT. Before joining the NPT South Africa produced 6 nuclear warheads in the

1980’s which it later disassembled to join the treaty in 1991. Even though North Korea originally had

signed the NPT it withdrew from the treaty after having tested a nuclear warhead in 2003.

In the past also Syria and Libya have been accused of starting a nuclear weapons programme. Syria

denied that with the help of North Korea it had built a nuclear reactor to produce nuclear warheads

while Libya admitted that it had tried to produce nuclear weapons with Pakistani centrifuges when it

was caught in October 2003. Later Libya stopped the programme.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there were some former soviet nations which, as a

result of soviet military strategy in the cold war, had nuclear warheads. However, these were

disassembled or transported to Russia until 1996. These states were Belarus (81 warheads),

Kazakhstan (1400) and the Ukraine (5000).

In 2002 the United States owned 4075 nuclear warheads, Russia possessed 5830, the United

Kingdom 200, France less than 35, China less than 160, India 70-120, Pakistan 30-80, North Korea up

to 10 and Israel 75-200.


Delegation of South Africa (Erik Rose, Robert Born) 16.05.2008 – 14:30

Nuclear weapons sharing:

Nuclear weapons sharing is a programme under which certain NATO member states have

access to US nuclear weapons. However it is important to notice that the weapons themselves still

belong to the USA. This programme serves to train pilots of these nations to handle the nuclear

warheads and to adjust the nation’s aircraft so that the bombs can be attached to them. Current

members are Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Until 1984 Canada was also a

member of the nuclear weapons sharing and in 2001 Greece withdrew from the sharing.

Treaties affecting nuclear weapons:

Two important treaties for the regulation of nuclear weapons are the “Comprehensive Nuclear-

Test-Ban Treaty” (CTBT) and the “Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty” (SORT) which is better

known as Moscow Treaty. CTBT was introduced to prevent further testing of nuclear weapons and

SORT, a bilateral agreement between the USA and Russia, was signed to reduce the number of

nuclear weapons to a maximum of 2200 each.

Nuclear Weapon Free Zone:

In a nuclear weapon free zone the development and the deployment of nuclear weapons is

forbidden. Areas which are already nuclear weapon free zones are:

• Antarctic Treaty concerning the Antarctic territory

• Treaty of Tlatelolco concerning Latin America and the Caribbean

• Treaty of Bangkok concerning ASEAN states

• African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba)

• Treaty of Rarotonga concerning the South Pacific

• Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone concerning Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,

Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

• Mongolian Nuclear-Weapons-Free Status concerning Mongolia

• Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany concerning East Germany

• There are also a number of proposed agreements, covering the Middle East, the Korean

Peninsula, Central Europe, and South Asia.

• Some countries have not signed international treaties, but outlawed nuclear weapons:

o Austria with the Atomsperrgesetz in 1999

NWFZ in force, ratified a NWFZ treaty which is not yet in force, signed but not ratified a NWFZ,

NPT states, four non-NPT states, Nuclear Weapons Sharing, suspected nuclear weapons



Delegation of South Africa (Erik Rose, Robert Born) 16.05.2008 – 14:30

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