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    15 December 2009
Hiroshima Dome The Global Collaborative on
Denuclearization Design
to achieve and sustain Zero Nuclear Weapons
1st H-Bomb Test [1952]
You are at: HOME > GC.DD=ChronFile.2007-2009 Cite as    •  http://www.gcdd.net/GC.DD=ChronFile.2007-2009.html


CHRONOLOGY 2007

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

JANUARY 2007

2007.01.04    Thursday
Four prominent US public figures [former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn] issued a statement calling for US leadership in bringing an end to nuclear weapons. They wrote, in part:

“Reassertion of the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and practical measures toward achieving that goal would be, and would be perceived as, a bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage. The effort could have a profoundly positive impact on the security of future generations. Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible.

We endorse setting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and working energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal ... ”


•  George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal,
“A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”. 2007.01.04.
•  Michael Crowley, “The Stuff Sam Nunn’s Nightmares Are Made Of.” The New York Times Magazine, 2007.02.25.

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FEBRUARY 2007


2007.02.13    Tuesday
North Korea and the other countries in the Six Party Talks agreed to a package which would lead to staged, reciprocal measures—largely subject to further negotiations—including closure of North Korea’s nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. [But cf.
entry for 2005.09.19]

•  David Sanger, “Outside Pressures Broke Korean Deadlock,” The New York Times. 2007.02.14. • Joint statement following Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, as released by the People’s Republic of China. Washington Post, 2007.02.13.

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MARCH 2007
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APRIL 2007

2007.04.30    Monday
The 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting opened in Vienna. [For conclusion see
entry for 2007.05.11]

•  Rebecca Johnson, “Will They? Won’t They?” . Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. 2007.05.01.

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MAY 2007

2007.05.11    Friday
The 2007 NPT Prep Com, meeting 30 April - 11 May, concluded. A summary of positions, in the form of Chair Yukiyo Amano’s ‘Chair’s Paper’, was attached as a working paper to the Procedural Report, a device which accommodated reservations of some parties. [Detailed accounts of disagreements within the Prep Com are reported by Rebecca Johnson and available at the
Acronym NPT site.]

•  Rebecca Johnson, “NPT PrepCom Finally Adopts It’s Report.” Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. 2007.05.11.
•  2007 NPT Prep Com ‘Chair’s Paper’. [Unofficial text via the Acronym Insitute.] 2007.05.11.

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JUNE 2007

2007.06.25-26    Monday-Tuesday
The 2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference met in Washington, DC. The first plenary session was titled “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,”, and the luncheon keynote by then British Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket, addressing that theme. She spoke both of the aim of nuclear disarmament and it’s not yet being in view. This ambivalence was expressed in the question mark of her title, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons?” Becket said:

“What we need is both vision – a scenario for a world free of nuclear weapons – and action – progressive steps to reduce warhead numbers and to limit the role of nuclear weapons in security policy. These two strands are separate, but they are mutually reinforcing. Both are necessary. Both at the moment are too weak.

“Let me start with the vision because perhaps that’s the harder case to make. After all, we all signed up to the goal of the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons back in 1968. So what does simply restating that goal achieve today? More I think than you might imagine because -- and I’ll be blunt -- there are – I was going to say some, I think many – who are in danger of losing faith in the possibility of ever reaching that goal. That would, I think, be a grave mistake.

The judgment we made 40 years ago that the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons was in all of our interests is just as true today as it was then. For more than 60 years, good management and good fortune have meant that nuclear arsenals have not been used, but we cannot rely just on history to repeat itself.

“It would be a grave mistake for another reason, too. It underestimates the power that commitment and vision can have in driving action.”


•  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference. Sessions, many by video, audio, and transcript. 2007.06.25-26.
•  Margaret Becket, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons?” 2007.06.25.
•  The Guardian, “Beckett calls for cuts in US and Russian nuclear arsenals”. 2006.06.26.

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JULY 2007

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AUGUST 2007


2007.08.03
   Friday
The United States and India released the text of a proposed nuclear cooperation agreement. Critics charge that the agreement, which must obtain further approvals to enter into effect, rewards India despite India’s choice to remain outside the NPT framework. The agreement’s effect could be, they say, to free domestic Indian supply of fissile material from its civil sector to its nuclear weapon program. The Arms Control Association released an assessment titled “A Bad Deal Gets Worse,” which outlines the steps ahead:

“Several more difficult hurdles must be cleared before Congress formally considers the agreement. First, India and the IAEA must negotiate and the IAEA Board of Governors must approve an Indian-IAEA safeguards agreement. Then, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group must approve by consensus changes to its guidelines that currently restrict trade with non-nuclear-weapon states, such as India, that do not accept safeguards on all their nuclear activities. The rotating chair of the NSG is currently held by South Africa. The NSG is due to hold a "consultative group" meeting in Vienna this autumn. Germany will take over the chair when the NSG meets for its full Plenary session in the spring of 2008.”

•  Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (123 Agreement). Full text [pdf]. Full text [.html]. 2007.08.03.
•  Daryl Kimball and Fred McGoldrick, “U.S. Indian Nuclear Agreement: A Bad Deal Gets Worse.” Arms Control Association. 2007.08.03.

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SEPTEMBER 2007

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OCTOBER 2007

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NOVEMBER 2007
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DECEMBER 2007

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CHRONOLOGY 2008

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

JANUARY 2008

2008.01.15    Wednesday
The four prominent US public figures [former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn] who a year earlier called for an end to nuclear weapons repeated and expanded on their call. [See
2007.01.04] They wrote that

“Progress must be facilitated by a clear statement of our ultimate goal. ... Without the vision of moving toward zero, we will not find the essential cooperation required to stop our downward spiral.”

•  George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal, “Toward A Nuclear Free World”. 2008.01.15.

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FEBRUARY 2008

2008.02.05    Tuesday
The British Secretary of State for Defense, Des Browne, told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva that the UK would propose that the N5 initiate discussion of “technical challenges” of verifying nuclear disarmament:

“For the first time, I am proposing to host a conference for technical experts from all five recognised nuclear states, to develop technologies for nuclear disarmament.
“At the centre of this offer are the skills and expertise of UK scientists at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Those skills will form the basis of pioneering technical research into nuclear disarmament - to become a ‘nuclear disarmament laboratory’. ...

“Despite significant reductions in stockpiles since the Cold War, there remain thousands of nuclear warheads worldwide. The proliferation of nuclear material, technology and weapons represents a grave threat to international security.

“These challenges require a global solution. The international architecture to promote disarmament and counter proliferation is extensive, but still not sufficient. So we must continue to address these threats internationally.

Every nation, both with and without nuclear weapons, needs to contribute to this effort. Nuclear Weapons States must show forward commitment to disarmament in order to maintain broad support from the Non-Nuclear Weapons States on countering proliferation.

“As one of the five recognised nuclear weapons states, the UK has made a significant contribution to countering proliferation, but this cannot be a unilateral approach. In the current circumstances, we cannot undermine our own national security. In renewing our own nuclear deterrent, we clearly set out our position in the 2006 White Paper as maintaining ‘minimum deterrence’.

The UK is determined to have a world free of nuclear weapons. But to get there we must first create an international environment that better supports disarmament. The UK has and will continue to pursue this until nuclear weapons no longer exist.”


•  United Kingdom. Ministry of Defense. Des Browne, UK Secretary of State for Defense, remarks to the Conference on Disarmament.
“Laying the Foundations for Nuclear Disarmament”. 2007.02.05.

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MARCH 2008

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APRIL 2008

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MAY 2008

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JUNE 2008

2008.06.30    Monday
Three former British Foreign Secretaries, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, and David Owen, and a former NATO General-Secretary, George Robertson, urge steps toward nuclear disarmament and abolition. They describe the initiative of Shultz, Kissinger, Perry and Nunn as an “influential project”, and declare that

“Substantial progress towards a dramatic reduction in the world’s nuclear weapons is possible. The ultimate aspiration should be to have a world free of nuclear weapons. It will take time, but with political will and improvements in monitoring, the goal is achievable. We must act before it is too late, and we can begin by supporting the campaign in America for a non-nuclear weapons world.”

• Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, David Owen, and George Robertson, “Start worrying and learn to ditch the bomb. It won’t be easy, but a world free of nuclear weapons is possible.” Times [London], 2008.06.30.

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JULY 2008

2008.07.17    Thursday
The Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Armed Services Committee, US House of Representatives heard testimony on 17 July 2008 concerning the future of the US nuclear weapon labs. Panelists represented the labs and their managers, and the US Government Accountability Office; panelists also included a former lab director and a private critic.

• Hearing on “Nuclear Weapons Complex Modernization,”, US House of Representatives, House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. 17 July 2008. An agenda with links to prepared testimony was seen in July 2008 at the House website. For convenience GC.DD has combined the prepared texts into a single pdf file (about 1MB), in alphabetic order by name of presenter.

2008.07.22-23    Tues-Wed
A key step in the US Congressional appropriations process is presentation of reports, including recommended expenditures by category, by the respective House and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittees. These reports incorporate assessments of proposed programs. The American Institute of Physics summarises key points in documents available on its website, and includes pointers to the Subcommittee documents themselves:

“Senate Report 110-416 ... accompanies S. 3258; see page 120-129 of the PDF version of the report that can be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html for the complete text. ...

“The National Nuclear Security Administration, an independent agency within the Department of Energy, designs, produces, and tests nuclear weapons, and provides the Navy's nuclear propulsion plants. NNSA also has jurisdiction over the nation's nonproliferation program.  The total FY 2009 Department of Energy request was $25 billion, of which $9.1 billion was for NNSA programs.  Within this budget, $6.6 billion was requested for the weapons program. ... ”


AIP quotes the [then unfiled] committee report as saying, about the ‘Reliable Replacement Warhead,’

“That said, the Committee remains to be convinced that a new warhead design will lead to these benefits. The Committee will not spend the taxpayers’ money for a new generation of warheads promoted as leading to nuclear reductions absent a specified glide path to a specified, much smaller force of nuclear weapons. Similarly, the Committee finds no logic in spending the taxpayers’ money on a new generation of warheads promoted as avoiding the need for nuclear testing, while the Secretary of State insists that ‘the Administration does not support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.’ ”

• [Senate] FYI The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 80: July 22, 2008 Web version:
http://www.aip.org/fyi/2008/080.html (Recommended). “FY 2009 Senate Appropriations Language: DOE Nuclear Weapons Program.” 2008.07.22.

• [House] FYI The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 81: July 23, 2008 Web version:
http://www.aip.org/fyi/2008/081.html (Strongly Recommended). “House FY 2009 Funding Bill: DOE Nuclear Weapons Program.” 2008.07.23


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AUGUST 2008

2008.08.13    Wednesday
The Arms Control Association revealed a US government draft on nuclear cooperation with India which the United States will propose to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Consent of the NSG, and of the US Congress, is required if the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement is to take effect. ACA judges that

“Generally speaking, any India-specific exemption from NSG guidelines would erode the credibility of the NSG's efforts to ensure that access to peaceful nuclear trade and technology is available only to those states that meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards. India has not agreed to abide by the standards and commitments expected of other responsible states, including full-scope IAEA safeguards, a meaningful Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement, a legally-binding ban on nuclear testing, and a halt to the production of fissile material for weapons.”

• Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India [Text of Draft U.S. Proposal to NSG, August 2008]

• Arms Control Association. Note for Reporters. “U.S. Proposal for India-Specific Exemption from Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines Circulated August 2008.” Daryl G. Kimball (202-463-8270 x107). 2008.08.13.

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SEPTEMBER 2008

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OCTOBER 2008

2008.10.24    Friday
In New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the East-West Institute. His title: “The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.”In his remarks he offered a “five-point proposal”:

“First, I urge all NPT [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon States, to fulfil their obligation under the Treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament.

“Second, the [P5] should commence discussions ,... on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process. They could unambiguously assure non-nuclear-weapon States that they will not be the subject of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The Council could also convene a summit on nuclear disarmament. Non-NPT States should freeze their own nuclear-weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments. ...

“[Third] ... We need new efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, and for the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material treaty immediately, without preconditions. ...

“[Fourth] accountability and transparency. ... The nuclear Powers could also expand the amount of information they publish about the size of their arsenals, stocks of fissile material and specific disarmament achievements. The lack of an authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons testifies to the need for greater transparency.

“[Fifth] ... complementary measures [including] elimination of other types of WMD; new efforts against WMD terrorism; limits on the production and trade in conventional arms; and new weapons bans, including of missiles and space weapons. The General Assembly could also take up the recommendation of the Blix Commission for a “World Summit on disarmament, non-proliferation and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Ban also said that “ The very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly, in London in 1946, called for eliminating “weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” Actually, the resolution created a United Nations Atomic Energy Commission and mandated the Commission to make “specific proposals” inter alia “[c] for the elimination from national armament of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” Not quite the same thing.

•  Ban Ki-moon, “The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World”, as delivered, New York. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sgsm11881.doc.htm 2008.10.24.

•  UNGA Resolution 1 (I), by link from http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/1/ares1.htm 1946.01.24.



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NOVEMBER 2008
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DECEMBER 2008

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CHRONOLOGY 2009

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

JANUARY 2009

2009.01.20    Tuesday
China issued China’s National Defense in 2008, a general and unrevealing overview of military forces and security policies. À propos denuclearization, the report inscribes declaratory policies that may continue to guide China’s posture should other nuclear weapon states broach significant reductions or serious consideration of nuclear zero. Salient excerpts:

“[China] will persist in pursuing the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and advocating the settlement of international disputes and hotspot issues by peaceful means.”

“China has formulated a military strategic guideline of active defense for the new period … This guideline lays stress on deterring crises and wars. … It calls for the building of a lean and effective deterrent force and the flexible use of different means of deterrence. China remains committed to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, pursues a self-defensive nuclear strategy, and will never enter into a nuclear arms race with any other country. ”

“The submarine force possesses … some nuclear counterattack capabilities.”

“The Second Artillery Force is a strategic force under the direct command and control of the CMC, and the core force of China for strategic deterrence. It is mainly responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and for conducting nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

“The Second Artillery Force sticks to China’s policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, implements a self-defensive nuclear strategy, strictly follows the orders of the CMC, and takes it as its fundamental mission the protection of China from any nuclear attack. In peacetime the nuclear missile weapons of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country. But if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China. If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will use nuclear missiles to launch a resolute counterattack against the enemy either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services. The conventional missile force of the Second Artillery Force is charged mainly with the task of conducting medium- and long-range precision strikes against key strategic and operational targets of the enemy.”

“China holds that all nuclear-weapon states should make an unequivocal commitment to the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, undertake to stop research into and development of new types of nuclear weapons, and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policy. The two countries possessing the largest nuclear arsenals bear special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament. They should earnestly comply with the relevant agreements already concluded, and further drastically reduce their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner, so as to create the necessary conditions for the participation of other nuclear-weapon states in the process of nuclear disarmament.”

China has always stayed true to its commitments that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstances, and will unconditionally not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or in nuclear-weapon-free zones.”

“China attaches great importance to military transparency, and makes unremitting efforts to enhance military transparency and promote mutual trust with other countries in the military sphere.”

Note the highly-qualified character-ization of China’s strategic submarine capability.

Some links below go to Chinese sites. For your convenience we have also assembled, and selectively highlighted, a version with both the English and Chinese texts, and a pdf version of the appendices.


• People’s Republic of China. State Council.
China’s National Defense in 2008.. 2009.01.20.
• 中华人民共和国国务院. 2008年中国的国防. 2009.01.20.
• 中华人民共和国国务院. Appendices. 2008年中国的国防. 附 錄. 2009.01.20.
• 中华人民共和国国务院. Appendices. 2008年中国的国防. 附 錄. [pdf] 2009.01.20.
• People’s Republic of China. State Council. 中华人民共和国国务院. 2008年中国的国防. [pdf] English and Chinese texts, with GC.DD’s selective highlighting as annotation of the English text, in a single file. [Does not include appendices.] 2009.01.20.

2009.01.30    Friday
The New York Times today called editorially for several key steps on nuclear weapons: negotiate 1991 START Treaty follow-up, reduce US and Russian weapons [‘deployed weapons’?] to 1000, dealert, ratify CTBT, resume FMCT negotiations, and abandon pursuit of the so-called ‘reliable replacement warhead’.

• Editorial “The Rules of the Game.”. The New York Times. 2009.01.30.

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FEBRUARY 2009

2009.02.04    Wednesday
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband today issued a paper titled
LIFTING THE NUCLEAR SHADOW: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons. A summary of the paper’s main points was also posted on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

The paper is simply worded, a summary of UK declaratory policy on nuclear disarmament. It continues the position outlined by then Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket speaking in Washington in June 2007. [See Becket remarks.] Abolition of nuclear weapons is treated as an objective, but an ‘ultimate’ goal, before which a number of daunting prerequisites must be met. The paper also paraphrases positions which illustrate the range of different views among specialists and public, enabling it to suggest complexity withut being required to resolve it. The paper’s helpfulness is in setting out three general conditions and a number of germane steps which could be taken in endeavoring to meet obstacles. The three conditions:

“There are three main sets of such conditions and six specific steps to help create them which are potentially attainable within the next few years.

+ “Condition 1: watertight means to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading to more states or to terrorists at the same time as nuclear energy is expanding;”
+ “Condition 2:  minimal arsenals and an international legal framework which puts tight, verified constraints on nuclear weapons.”
+ “Condition 3:  finding solutions to the challenges of moving from small numbers of nuclear weapons to zero in ways which enhance security.”

To see the associated steps, please go to the sources cited below. And “over the longer term” the UK calls for three more reaching conditions to be satisfied:

+  improved politial relations between key states;
+  ensuring that “limiting or banning” nuclear weapons doesn’t provoke compensatory arms racing in other weapons;
+  collective security arrangements, both to enforce ZNW and maintain international security.


[GC.DD editor’s comment:] The FCO giveth and taketh away. Yes, the aim is zero. But, the conditions pose severe obstacles. A nuclear weapon state could, if it judged it to be in its interest, hide behind the difficulties those obstacles represent. Still, they are and should be the concerns of governments and publics, so they must be addressed. It is useful to have them set out so straightforwardly. [End comment.]

And the paper concludes on a high note, in effect offering a challenge to design and negotiation:

We need to build a global coalition around not only a shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons but also of how we are going to work together to make it happen. We need to make a clean break from current perceptions that in this field everything is a zero sum game and instead work to establish virtuous circles in which progress on non-proliferation, disarmament and political and security conditions reinforce each other, enabling breakthroughs in areas which for many years have seemed intractable. We must find common cause and move from a decade of deadlock to a decade of decisions. We face a long hard road. But the dream of those early pioneers who first tried to ban nuclear weapons can yet be made a reality.”

• United Kingdom. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. LIFTING THE NUCLEAR SHADOW: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons. 2009.02.04.

• United Kingdom. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Summary. 2009.02.04.

2009.02.06    Friday
An op-ed by Henry Kissinger on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was published on this day in the International Herald Tribune. (A fuller version appeared the next day in Newsweek, with a 2009.02.16 hardcopy publication date.)

Kissinger is one of the four ‘former statesmen’ who published op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal, in January 2007 and January 2008, advocating steps to bring about nuclear abolition. To my knowledge the four did not publish a joint appeal in January 2009, so we may understand Kissinger’s op-ed as the third in a series. As there has been speculation that Kissinger was the least enthusiastic about abolition of the four, there has been curiosity about what his sole position might be.

In short, Kissinger supports ”ultimately’ going to zero, insists that the approach must be “step-by-step”, and applauds some modest immediate steps which are among those advocated by the four. He stresses dangers of proliferation, challenges to non-proliferation by Iran and North Korea, and the need to maintain a nuclear deterrent as along as others have nuclear weapons. Still, he reports that “we reaffirm the objective of a world without nuclear weapons.” My reading of Kissinger’s op-ed is that he is less convinced than his three compadres of the need for prompt zero. But Reader can compare the texts and be his or her own judge. GC.DD has prepared a side-by-side presentation of the two versions just published, with highlighting to show differences between the texts and some sentences judged especially salient.

• George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”. 2007.01.04.[See 2007.01.04]

• George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal, “Toward A Nuclear Free World”. 2008.01.15. [See 2008.01.15]

• Henry A. Kissinger, “Containing the Fire of the Gods,”, International Herald Tribune, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”. 2009.02.06.

• Henry A. Kissinger, “Our Nuclear Nightmare”. Newsweek. Online 2009.02.07. Issue of 2009.02.16.

• The two versions of Kissinger’s op-ed side-by-side. 2009.02.06.

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MARCH 2009

2009.03.17    Tuesday
British PM Gordon Brown delivered a speech on nuclear policy promising to release “Road to 2010” proposals in the coming summer, a “credible roadmap towards disarmament by all the nuclear weapon states.” But Brown emphasises conditions to be met before reaching “the ultimate ambition of a world free from nuclear weapons.

“So in the coming months Britain—working with other countries—will be setting out a ‘Road to 2010’ Plan with detailed proposals on civil nuclear power, disarmament and non-proliferation, on fissile material security and the role and development of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We will be seeking the widest possible international engagement and consultation around this plan.

“We will also host a recognised nuclear weapons state conference on nuclear disarmament issues and confidence building measures, including the verification of disarmament.”


• British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “Speech on nuclear energy and proliferation”. Transcript [check against delivery]. 2009.03.17.
http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page18631


Tuesday
In a major editorial The New York Times cites President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges to resume arms control negotiations with Russia and seek deep cuts—in the Times words—“in pursuit of an eventual nuclear-free world.” The editorial calls for prompt talks on START I verification rules, due to expire before year’s end, and quick Senate confirmation of Rose Gottemoeller, the designated negotiator, and other measures.

• Editorial. “Watershed Moment on Nuclear Arms.” The New York Times. 2009.03.24.

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APRIL 2009

2009.04.01    Wednesday
A “Joint Statement by President Dmitriy Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of the United States of America” issued after their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 conference in London committed to nuclear abolition, but declared it a “long-term” goal.

We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world, while recognizing that this long-term goal will require a new emphasis on arms control and conflict resolution measures, and their full implementation by all concerned nations.”

A return to negotiated control was marked, however, by their agreeing to address the forthcoming end of the START I treaty:

“We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty. We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.”

• 
“Joint Statement by President Dmitriy Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of the United States of America”. 2009.04.01.

2009.04.05    Sunday

US President Barack Obama declared his administration’s policy on nuclear proliferation and nuclear abolition in a speech delivered in Prague. Excerpts:

The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that existed for centuries, that embodied the beauty and the talent of so much of humanity, would have ceased to exist.”

“Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point where the center cannot hold.”

“ Now, understand, this matters to people everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city -– be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague –- could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be -– for our global safety, our security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival.”

“ Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked -– that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”

“ Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. (Applause.) And as nuclear power –- as a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.”

“ So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’ (Applause.)”

“ Now, let me describe to you the trajectory we need to be on. First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies –- including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.”

•  “Remarks of President Barack Obama, Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic”. 2009.04.05.


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MAY 2009

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JUNE 2009

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JULY 2009

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AUGUST 2009

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SEPTEMBER 2009`

2009.09.14    Sunday

The Middle Powers Initiative issued a statement to the UN Security Council calling for measures “to advance the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons.” Excerpts:

“The Council should also reaffirm that all UN members must fulfill their disarmament obligations; express support for the Secretary- General’s October 2008 five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament; and call on all states to shape their policies in light of the objective of reaching a nuclear-weapon free world. ...

“The Council should finally consider development of its own role in achieving and sustaining the verified and enforced elimination of nuclear weapons. A first step would be to establish a subsidiary body to this end.”

•  MPI
Statement on the 24 September Security Council Summit. 2009.09.14.

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OCTOBER 2009



2009.10.09    Friday

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” And further:

“The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations.

• 
Nobel Committee announcement. 2009.10.09.

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NOVEMBER 2009

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DECEMBER 2009

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2009.12.15    Tuesday

The ambitious and thoughtful Report of the International Commission on Non-proliferation and Disarmament was issued in Tokyo today: Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers.

Commission website:
http://www.icnnd.org/
The Commission explains that


“What makes this report distinctive is, hopefully, its timeliness; comprehensiveness; global consultative reach; attention to pragmatic realities as well as ambitious ideals; intended accessibility to non-specialist policymakers; and strong action orientation, reflected in the short, medium, and longer term action agendas that bind together its specific policy proposals.” [Report, p. xvii]

The only complete solution to the problem of nuclear weapons is to achieve their complete elimination - to create a world in which no state possesses nuclear weapons, where there are no unsafeguarded stockpiles of the highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium on which they depend, and where we can be confident that no new nuclear threats will emerge. The problem has been a long time in the making, and its solution - beginning with all the existing nuclear-armed states renewing or pledging their commitment to elimination, and meaning what they say - will be long and complex in the delivery. Moreover, as the history of disarmament and non-prolifelration efforts over the last twenty years starkly remins us, one cannot assume that new momentum for change will be readily sustained: gains hard won can be rapidly lost. But there is now a new opportunity, matching that of the immediate post-World War II years and the early 1990s, to halt and reverse the tide once and for all.” [Report, p. 5]

• International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Report. Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers.. 2009.12.15.