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This world of pandemic and climate change can no longer afford the luxury of nuclear weapons proliferation

Aotearoa must stand apart as others amass nuclear weapons https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/127065066/aotearoa-must-stand-apart-as-others-amass-nuclear-weapons, Nov 23 2021 EDITORIAL You’d be forgiven for not thinking about the threat of nuclear war during the past couple of years.

The pandemic, climate change – it seems there are enough dangers threatening our existence, without adding a nuclear holocaust to the list.

Unfortunately, ignoring the steady proliferation of nuclear weapons is a luxury we can no longer afford.

As geopolitical tensions rise, many of them centred on our own Indo-Pacific region, so do nuclear arsenals

Russia and the US continue to own more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons, and it seems they have no plan to give those up. Earlier this month, the Pentagon estimated China will have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. Estimates currently put its arsenal at about 350.

Meanwhile, the UK has reversed a policy of reducing the country’s nuclear arsenal, increasing the planned cap on nuclear warheads. There are reports that India, Pakistan and North Korea are also expanding their capabilities

At the same time, our traditional allies, Australia, the US and the UK, have a new strategic agreement enabling Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines. While they won’t carry nuclear arms, they are not without risk/

It’s no wonder Phil Twyford, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, says the risk of nuclear warfare is as bad – if not worse – now than at vany time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. In a recent speech, he was blunt in his criticism of nuclear states the US, France, China, Russia and the UK for their lack of efforts to work towards disarmament. But one speech does not a meaningful security policy make.

Aotearoa has long prided itself on its independent foreign policy, and nuclear-free stance. Lest we forget the great Lange speech from the 1985 Oxford Union debate.

Aside from his memorable uranium comment, the late prime minister was clear in communicating the position of the New Zealand people: the nuclear weapons which would defend us caused more alarm, and accordingly, we deemed it pointless to be defended by them.

Over the years, Kiwis have become disconnected from this element of our foreign policy. We assume we are safe, and that with the end of the Cold War came the end of the imminent threat of nuclear war.

But with the threat on our doorstep, thanks to the US, North Korea and China, now is the time to start caring again.

November 23, 2021 - Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war

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