Nuke states up­grade war­heads against global trend

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Nu­clear armed states con­tinue to up­grade their stock­piles de­spite an in­ter­na­tional trend to­ward dis­ar­ma­ment, the Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute re­ported Mon­day.

Be­tween 2010 and 2015 the num­ber of war­heads fell from 22,600 to 15,850 ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tute’s an­nual dis­ar­ma­ment re­port, which said the U.S. and Rus­sia rep­re­sented the bulk of the re­duc­tion.

The in­sti­tute also pointed to “ex­ten­sive and ex­pen­sive long-term mod­ern­iza­tion pro­grams” in the world’s two largest nu­clear pow­ers which ac­count for 90 per­cent of the weapons.

“De­spite re­newed in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est in pri­or­i­tiz­ing nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment, the mod­ern­iza­tion pro­grams un­der way in the nu­clear weapon-pos­sess­ing states sug­gests that none of them will give up their nu­clear ar­se­nals in the fore­see­able fu­ture,” SIPRI re­searcher Shan­non Kile said in a state­ment.

The other three nu­clear armed states legally rec­og­nized by the 1968 Nu­clear Non- Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty — China (260 war­heads), France ( 300 war­heads), the UK (215 war­heads) — are “ei­ther de­vel­op­ing or de­ploy­ing new nu­clear weapon sys­tems or have an­nounced their in­ten­tion to do so” ac­cord­ing to the Stock­holm-based peace in­sti­tute.

China was the only state among the five global nu­clear pow­ers to have a “mod­est” in­crease in the size of its ar­se­nal.

While the re­main­ing nu­clear states — In­dia (90 to 100 war­heads), Pak­istan (100 to 120 war­heads) and Is­rael ( 80 war­heads) — have con­sid­er­ably smaller stock­piles, In­dia and Pak­istan con­tinue to in­crease their ar­se­nals while Is­rael has tested long-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

North Korea is be­lieved to be de­vel­op­ing its ar­se­nal of six to eight war­heads but SIPRI said “tech­ni­cal progress” was dif­fi­cult to as­sess.

Re­li­able in­for­ma­tion on nu­clear stock­piles var­ied greatly be­tween states with the U.S. get­ting top marks for trans­parency in the re­port, while the UK and France were more re­stric­tive and Rus­sia di­vulged noth­ing of­fi­cially, ex­cept in bi­lat­eral con­tacts with the U.S.

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