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UN Sec-Gen Calls Nuclear Arms Race ‘Madness’ As North Korea Threatens War

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday against a new nuclear arms race that would threaten the world with “annihilation,” as North Korea claimed its peninsula was on the verge of nuclear Armageddon.

With nuclear-armed states increasing and modernising their arsenals, the UN Secretary-General urged for a renewed push to diminish, and eventually eliminate, such weapons.

“A frightening new arms race is brewing.” “The number of nuclear weapons may rise for the first time in decades,” Guterres said on the final day of the General Assembly’s annual session.

“Any use of a nuclear weapon — anytime, anywhere and in any context — would unleash a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions,” he stated.

“Nuclear sabres are being rattled once more.” This is insane. “We must change course,” he remarked.

Russia and the United States have by far the largest arsenals, but China’s is rapidly expanding. North Korea has also challenged the international community with its nuclear programmes and numerous missile launches.

North Korea accused the US of dragging the peninsula “closer to the brink of nuclear war” in its own speech, one of the last of the week-long marathon of September’s UN General Assembly.

North Korea’s UN envoy, Kim Song, slammed South Korea’s activities under President Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who has pushed to strengthen ties with both the US and its historic adversary Japan.

“Due to its sycophantic and humiliating policy of depending on outside forces,” Kim stated, “the Korean peninsula is in a hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war.”

He cited the Nuclear Consultative Group, through which the US seeks to better integrate its nuclear capability with South Korea’s conventional forces, with the two partners enhancing intelligence exchange and contingency planning.

Kim claimed the organisation was “committed to the planning, operation, and execution of a preemptive nuclear strike against the DPRK,” the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Increasing nuclear investment

An envoy from South Korea, formally known as the Republic of Korea, took the floor to object to the remarks by North Korea, which routinely lashes out at the United Nations.

“Do you really believe, as the DPRK pretends, the Republic of Korea together with the United States conspires to provoke a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula without reasons that will cause catastrophic casualties: he asked.

Hours earlier South Korea staged its first military parade in a decade, with some 4,000 troops marching through a rainy Seoul.

“If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, its regime will be brought to an end by an overwhelming response from the ROK-US alliance,” Yoon warned at an air base north of Seoul as he hailed the expansion of US ties.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) reported in June that the world’s nuclear powers, and China in particular, increased investment in their arsenals for a third consecutive year in 2022.

While the total number of nuclear warheads held by Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States had fallen by about 1.6 per cent to 12,512 warheads over the previous year, Sipri said the declining trend was on the cusp of a reversal.

Excluding warheads slated for dismantling, the number of usable nuclear weapons had actually increased, according to Sipri.

The bulk of the increase was in China, which increased its stockpile from 350 to 410 warheads.

Guterres warned that nuclear powers are making their arsenals faster, more accurate and more difficult to detect and called for the strengthening of treaties.

“The world has spent too long under the shadow of nuclear weapons. Let’s step back from the edge of disaster,” Guterres said.

Info source – AFP

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