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12. Nuclear arms control and non-proliferation




Events in 1998 led to renewed concern about the
effectiveness of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear
weapons. The nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan did not
encourage other states to promptly follow suit; however, they
highlighted weaknesses in the nuclear non-proliferation regime, in
particular its lack of universal adherence and legitimacy. Together
with renewed suspicions about secret North Korean and Iraqi nuclear
weapon programmes, the tests contributed to a growing sense that the
nuclear non-proliferation regime was under siege by an unprecedented
series of challenges. 

Overall, the
year was a largely disappointing one for nuclear arms control efforts.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) continued to hang in
limbo. The negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a global
ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear explosives faced
considerable obstacles. The START II Treaty remained stalled in the
Duma, thereby blocking progress towards deeper reductions in the still
sizeable US and Russian nuclear arsenals within the framework of a
follow-on START III accord. In addition, the controversy over a US
national ballistic missile defence system and the future of the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) jeopardized support for
deeper cuts in strategic nuclear forces and threatened to reverse the
progress made in recent years in reducing those forces.


Appendix 12A. Tables of nuclear forces

Appendix 12A contains tables of the nuclear forces
of the USA, Russia, the UK, France and China. 


Appendix 12B. Nuclear explosions, 1945–98

Series of nuclear tests were carried out by both India
and Pakistan in May 1998. Since the signing of the CTBT, none of the
recognized nuclear weapon states has conducted a nuclear explosion. The
fact that not all the explosions announced by India and Pakistan were
detected by the International Monitoring System (IMS)—now being set
up to verify the CTBT after it has entered into force—raised
questions about the CTBT verification capabilities, especially among
those critical of the treaty. However, most scientists agree that the
system in fact worked well and will work even better in the region if
or when India and Pakistan decide to adhere to the CTBT and provide IMS
seismic stations on their territories.

Shannon N. Kile