Related News

Home » World

Obama launches effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons

UNITED States President Barack Obama yesterday launched an effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, calling them "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" and saying the US has a moral responsibility to lead as the only nation to use one.

Obama said the US would "immediately and aggressively" seek ratification of a comprehensive ban on testing nuclear weapons. He said the US would host a summit within the next year on reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, and he called for a global effort to secure nuclear material.

"Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked ?? that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction," Obama told a crowd of more than 20,000 in an old square outside the Prague Castle gates.

"This fatalism is a deadly adversary," he said. "For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable."

Obama said in his speech the US will present Iran with "a clear choice" to join the community of nations by ceasing its nuclear and ballistic missile activity or face increased isolation.

He said the US will proceed with development of a missile defense system in Europe as long as there is an Iranian threat of developing nuclear weapons. If that threat is removed, he said, "The driving force for missile defense in Europe will be removed."

Obama coupled his call for a nuclear-free world with an assurance that America would not unilaterally give up nuclear weapons. Until there is a global agreement the US will maintain a big enough arsenal to serve as a deterrent. Few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. But a program to drastically cut the world atomic arsenal carries support from scientists and foreign policy experts.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed by former President Bill Clinton but rejected by the Senate in 1999. Over 140 nations have ratified the ban, but 44 states that possess nuclear technology need to sign and ratify it before it can take effect. Ratification of the test ban was one of several "concrete steps" Obama outlined as necessary to move toward a nuclear-free world.

Obama also emphasized priorities that closely match Europe's, such as promising to tackle climate change. But he also asked European nations to accept detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison and to bring in Turkey as a member of the European Union.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend