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2013年6月23日 (日)

米核軍縮提案 中国の核増強にも目を向けよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 23, 2013
Obama's call for U.S., Russian N-cuts should help boost stability in Asia
米核軍縮提案 中国の核増強にも目を向けよ(6月22日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal for Russia to start new negotiations to reduce both sides’ nuclear weapons should lead to enhancement of security in Asia amid a growing mood for nuclear disarmament.

In Berlin, Obama recently made a speech seeking such negotiated cuts with Russia.

Obama said he wants to reduce the maximum number of U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads by one-third from 1,550--set under the New START, which stands for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty--to about 1,000 each.

He also intends to target smaller, tactical nuclear weapons, which are less powerful, for the proposed cuts.

The U.S. president appears to have used the speech to express his willingness to continue to pursue nuclear disarmament during his second term in office after achieving the conclusion of the New START in his first term.

Prospects of N-talks unclear

However, Russia has given the cold shoulder to Obama’s call, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin saying Moscow “can’t take such a proposal seriously.”

Russia is strongly concerned that U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Europe could weaken its nuclear deterrent capability.

Therefore, prospects of the proposed nuclear disarmament negotiations are dim. But the United States and Russia, both nuclear superpowers, in particular bear responsibility for ensuring world stability.

At present, there are reportedly more than 10,000 nuclear weapons in the world, of which 95 percent are owned by these two countries. It is not convincing if they urge other countries to refrain from having nuclear weapons or to reduce their nuclear arsenals without making any reductions themselves. We hope the both countries will keep that point in mind and sincerely work on nuclear reductions.

In making the proposal, Obama also said his country would work together with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to seek cuts in U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

N-weapons spreading in Asia

Meanwhile, the ability of Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his vision and work to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” likely will be tested over his future efforts in Asia, where nuclear weapons have spread.

Currently, China has about 250 nuclear warheads. China, India and Pakistan have been building up their nuclear arsenals while North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, pressing ahead with its efforts to develop nuclear missiles.

In Japan, which depends on the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” amid such circumstances, some people may worry that Washington’s push for nuclear reductions could have adverse effects on regional stability in Asia.

However, Obama said in the Berlin speech, “I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent,” even if the United States and Russia reduce their nuclear weapons in line with Obama’s proposal. Such remarks are reassuring.

Meanwhile, we urge China to promote nuclear reductions in tandem with the United States and Russia. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama have agreed to push for North Korea’s denuclearization. To urge Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapons, however, Beijing should scale down its own nuclear capability.

Also, to allow the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to come into force as early as possible, Washington and Beijing should work together to build support in their countries to ratify it.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 22, 2013)
(2013年6月22日01時33分  読売新聞)


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