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15. Nuclear arms control and an extended non-proliferation regime




Global development of the non-proliferation standard through adherence to the
1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been one of the most remarkable
developments over the past 30 years, as has the reluctance of `ambiguous'
nuclear weapon states to violate it publicly. The pace of accessions to the NPT
in recent years has been brisk. Five states acceded in 1991, 11 in 1992 and 6
in 1993, leaving the Treaty with 163 parties at the end of 1993.

Positive developments for the nuclear non-proliferation regime during the
post-cold war period include: greater international collaboration to prevent
nuclear proliferation; a merging of the strategic nuclear arms control and the
non-proliferation enterprises; and the prospect for a greatly enlarged role for
the IAEA, not only in terms of the existing non-proliferation regime but also
in verifying nuclear weapon dismantlement and adherence to a CTBT.

The collapse of the USSR in 1991 created two new types of proliferation
problem: concerning who owns and controls its nuclear weapons and their
manufacturing complex; and concerning how to prevent materials and knowledge
being disseminated outside its former borders.

The inability of supplier export controls and/or international safeguards on
nuclear capabilities to prevent nuclear proliferation has been vividly
illustrated by new knowledge about the activities of Iraq, North Korea and
South Africa.

A serious challenge faced by the regime concerns its perceived inability to
address the possibility that in fact more than five nuclear weapon states
exist. One response has been to propose that a new category of `ambiguous'
nuclear weapon states should be created. If these states have nuclear weapons,
it is argued, the first priority must be to safeguard against accidental,
inadvertent or ill-thought-out use. However, this would undermine the rigid
division between nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states written into the
NPT, and would lessen the inducements for `ambiguous' nuclear states to follow
South Africa and accede to the Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state

Another challenge concerns that of `NPT renegade states'—states parties to the
NPT that have attempted to acquire nuclear weapons. Iraq initiated this
category in 1991, while both Iran and Algeria have been mooted as potential

The development of a much more aggressive policy of physically preventing
proliferation, by turning the IAEA Inspectorate into an international nuclear
police force and by using force to destroy nuclear facilities, is an important
element as the nuclear non-proliferation regime enters its next period.


Appendix 15A. Documents on nuclear weapon non-proliferation, 1993