Nuclear Proliferation: Fact and Fiction

With three new nuclear powers in less than a decade, is the treaty which aims to stop the spread of such weapons dead? After post-Cold War euphoria about fewer weapons, proliferation is back.

The World Today Updated 12 November 2020 Published 1 November 2006 2 minute READ

Paulo Wrobel

By undertaking a nuclear test, North Korea seemed to confirm what it has been openly saying for the past few months: that it has indeed become a nuclear-weapons state. It took most of the key players by surprise; apparently Pyongyang informed Beijing – its key supporter – only twenty minutes before the explosion; South Korea and Japan seemed genuinely taken aback.

Perhaps the timing was not a coincidence, the new Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, met his Chinese colleague in Beijing a few hours before the explosion, and went to see his South Korean counterpart in Seoul just as the test took place. It was also the very day the South Korean Foreign Minister, Ban Ki-moon, was chosen by the United Nations Security Council as its new Secretary-General.

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