Even before President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for an unprecedented summit, there is action both sides can take.
North Korea and the United States should ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear test explosions.
Such a move would be a huge confidence building measure before Trump’s and Kim Jong Un’s meeting, which is expected by May. While Kim has pledge to refrain from nuke or missile tests before the summit, why not ban them for good?
It would be a powerful symbol of peaceful intent, and help smooth the road for the negotiations that lie ahead. The world hopes and prays for peace in Korea.
We don’t want to see North Korea test any more nukes, especially after its massive hydrogen blast last September. The rogue regime has tested six nuclear weapons, advancing its program along with missile tests. North Korea must join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The U.S. has no need to test nuclear weapons because its arsenal is maintained by computers in the Stockpile Stewardship program. The U.S. has not test exploded a nuclear weapon since 1992, and there is no will to go back to the Cold War days.
President Trump should ask the Senate to ratify the long overdue treaty, finishing a quest started by Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy to abolish testing.
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Eisenhower told Walter Cronkite that not achieving disarmament, including a ban on testing, would “have to be classed as the greatest disappointment of any administration — of any decade — of any time and of any party.”
Ike thought it was vital to take the expensive burden of nukes off the backs of mankind. North Korea is certainly the worst example of how nukes rob from the average citizen. Over seventy percent of the population in North Korea suffers from hunger. The regime’s nuke buildup has come at the expense of starving its own people. Families in North Korea need food, not nukes.
Every nuclear test by North Korea takes precious food away from its own people. Nuclear tests only heighten international tensions and encourage arms races.
The United States should instead pursue disarmament of nukes worldwide, and Korea is where it can hopefully start. As President Ronald Reagan once said “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
Banning nuclear testing forever would help create the atmosphere for a disarmament agreement to eliminate nukes on the Korean Peninsula. China, North Korea’s ally, should also be encouraged to ratify the CTBT. We don’t want any nation testing nuclear weapons.
As South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-Yong, says “Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution.”
So let’s get the summit off to a good start now by the U.S. and North Korea each ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and paving the road toward eliminating nukes.
• William Lambers is a historian and the author of Nuclear Weapons and the Road to Peace. Comments: williamlambers.com