We must rid ourselves of nuclear weapons

11 March 2019

We must rid ourselves of nuclear weapons

Two developments  which have emerged during the last few days –  the prematurely ended summit between US and North Korean top men Trump and Kim, and the heightening tensions between India and Pakistan – are making it all the clearer why it is of the utmost importance that the international community, including the Netherlands, take serious steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.

- By Sadet Karabulut

Recent days have seen shelling in the border region between India and Pakistan, both of which have dozens of nuclear bombs at their disposal. At the centre of the problem is the disputed area Kashmir. Planes have been shot down. Harsh words have been exchanged, including threats to deploy nuclear weapons, despite warnings from scientists that even a so-called limited nuclear war could lead to a nuclear winter, or indeed an unprecedented catastrophe reaching far further than the theatre of conflict itself.

Maximum restraint must be insisted upon, and de-escalation is needed now. The SP calls on the government to suspend the sale of arms to both countries, as the trade is simply inflaming the situation.

Then there was the summit between President Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un. Expectations before the meeting were high, but the results fell short. No deal was reached, and the summit even came to a premature end. Allegedly the whole thing fell to bits because the dictator Kim wanted to see the removal of all sanctions,but was not prepared to offer complete denuclearisation in return. As things stand, however, much remains unknown.

North Korea could, like India and Pakistan, have dozens of nuclear weapons at its disposal and all the infrastructure needed to make more, as well as the rockets to fire them, so it's excellent that last year Trump broke the stalemate and now, for the first time in years, serious negotiations have been held between the two sides. It's greatly to be hoped that during an ensuing round of talks serious steps can be taken towards a world in which the permanent threat of total annihilation by insane weapons is to some extent reduced.

It would also be marvellous if the Netherlands were to do something to further this, for example by sending the American nuclear weapons based in our country back to the US and by signing the UN treaty banning all such armaments. I'll be continuing to press for this in Parliament. Together, we need to strive for a world free of nuclear arms. That's not going to happen of its own accord, and nor can we leave it to men like Trump, Kim Jong-un or Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok.

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