By Kim Young-jin
The new major arms control deal between the United States and Russia could help curb nuclear proliferation by North Korea and Iran, and boost the influence of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a senior U.S. official said Monday in Washington, D.C.
Under the treaty agreed upon Friday and scheduled to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev on April 8 in Prague, the two largest nuclear powers are to each reduce their number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,550 and place restrictions on missiles and launchers.
President Obama said the other day, is that what new START shows everyone is that both the United States and Russia take our NPT commitments very, very seriously,” said Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, at a press briefing at the State Department. “And the more that we make the NPT the cornerstone of the nonproliferation
strategy of the world, the more it calls out people like North Korea and Iran, and the more we can bring people together in a kind of big-tent environment to agree on the NPT principles.”
The most recent Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, held in May 2005, failed to reach an agreement and saw major differences between the U.S. and many countries which complained of a lack of serious disarmament efforts by nuclear powers. The meetings are held every five years.
The next NPT review session is scheduled to be held in New York in May, and it is speculated that non-weapons states will be looking for strong commitments from nuclear powers that they will slash their arsenals.
Both North Korea and Iran have been defiant in their stance toward their nuclear dismantlement.
North Korea walked away from the six-party nuclear talks on its denuclearization in response to the U.N. sanctions imposed on the country for its second nuclear test on May 25 last year.
The communist state has said that it will not return to the talks until the United States and other involved parties agree to discuss a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War (1950-1953), which ended with an armistice. It has also demanded the lifting of the U.N. sanctions.
After being signed by the Presidents, the new treaty will need ratification by the U.S. Senate and Russian Duma to become binding.