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April 15, 2019
Arms Control Association

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North Korea Announces Intention to Test Nuclear Weapon

Today, North Korea’s National Defence Commission released a statement ramping up the rhetoric towards the United States. Pyongyang announced its intention to conduct a nuclear explosion of a higher yield than its previous tests in 2006 and 2009. The country also announced that it plans to continue to launch satellites and long-range rockets in direct violation of several UN Security Council resolutions. Pyongyang stated that its “upcoming all-out action” would target the United States and that “settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be one with force, not with words.” North Korea also...

UN Secretary-General Urges U.S. Action on CTBT

In a major speech on Jan. 18, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke on a range of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation issues at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California. He touched on the international community's achievements on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, outlined the challenges that lay ahead, and called for renewed action on key priorities including the CTBT: The Secretary-General said, "We must intensify efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force. I urge the remaining eight states whose ratification is...

Madeleine Albright and Igor Ivanov, "A New Agenda for U.S.-Russia Cooperation," in the New York Times, Dec. 30, 2012

In an opinion editorial on U.S.-Russian relations, which touches on further bilateral nuclear reductions, cooperation on missile defense, the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and increased trade between the two countries, former Secretary of State Albright calls for the United States Senate to ratify the CTBT. She and Ivanov write: "Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the first nuclear arms control agreement. It would be an appropriate year for the U.S. Senate to consent to ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which has...

Is North Korea Preparing for Another Nuclear Test?

The Associated Press reported on Dec. 27, 2012 that satellite photos indicate North Korea has repaired flood damage at its nuclear test facility and is now capable of conducting a nuclear test explosion at the site. According to 38 North , a program of the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test at the site "in as little as two weeks" from the point a decision to proceed is made. North Korea conducted a satellite launch on Dec. 12, 2012, which many believe was meant to gather data to construct an intercontinental ballistic missile. The United States...

Australia and New Zealand Sign Nuclear Detection Cooperation Agreement

Australia and New Zealand recently announced an agreement to increase scientific cooperation between the countries' nuclear detection networks. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and Geoscience Australia will work with New Zealand's Institute of Environmental Science to enhance the two states' ability to detect nuclear test explosions. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research plays a key role in the CTBTO's nuclear detection network by managing six radionuclide-monitoring stations in the Pacific...

Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO Elects New Executive Secretary

Lassina Zerbo of Burkina Faso was chosen as the next executive secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission on October 23. Mr. Zerbo who is currently the director of the CTBTO's International Data Center, will succeed Tibor Toth as the head of the organization on August 1, 2013. For a complete description of the election and the five candidates, please see the full article in Arms Control Today. Zerbo's February 29, 2012 presentation on "Progress to Date with the International Monitoring System" is available in the new ACA conference report "CTBT at 15: Status and Prospects."

South Korea Signs Tsunami Warning Agreement with CTBTO

The CTBTO signed an agreement with South Korea on October 31 to share tsunami early warning data with the country, making it the ninth CTBTO member state to do so. The International Data Centre (IDC) of the CTBTO, with assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), provides early warning data on tsunamis using a combination of seismic and hydroacoustic monitoring stations to detect "any strong, shallow earthquake under the seafloor" which could trigger a tsunami, according to UNESCO. The IDC currently utilizes data from 40 different monitoring...

UNGA Overwhelmingly Approves CTBT Resolution

On November 5, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging states that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to do so "as soon as possible." The resolution garnered 44 co-sponsors, including China and the United States, and was approved by a 166-1-3 margin. North Korea, which was referenced in the resolution in connection with its 2006 and 2009 nuclear test explosions, was the only "no" vote.

Special Rapporteur Delivers Report on the Marshall Islands after U.S. Nuclear Tests

The Report of the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights effects of U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands was recently released to the public. The report addresses lingering health and human rights effects from the 67 atmospheric nuclear test explosions that were detonated from 1946 to 1958 by the United States in the Pacific islands. One of the central conclusions of the report was that "the nuclear testing resulted in both immediate and continuing effects on the human rights of the Marshallese." The Special Rapporteur noted that the prevalence of...

Foreign Ministers Call for Action on the CTBT

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and state foreign ministers met in New York on Sept. 27 at the UN headquarters to publicly advocate for the entry into force of the CTBT. The foreign ministerial gathering on the CTBT has been held every 2 years since 2002. The statements from the Secretary-General and the foreign ministers were especially poignant given the widespread references to Iranian nuclear activities in speeches given at the UN General Debate . In the Joint Ministerial Statement , the leaders noted the significant progress made by the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO on the...


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