North Korea Current Affairs
According to updated count by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the number of nuclear warheads with nine nuclear countries has reduced from 14,935 at start of 2017 to 14,465 at start of 2018. These nine countries are United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. SIPRI is an independent think tank that uses open sources to compile such data since 1966.
SIPRI’s report Highilgihts
Out of 14,465 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2018, 3750 are actually deployed. This compared with 14,935 warheads at the start of 2017. Russia (with 6850 nuclear warheads) and US (with 6450 warheads) hold 92% of world’s total nuclear warheads. However, they have long-term programmes under way to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads and nuclear weapons production facilities.
World’s nuclear powers are reducing their nuclear arsenals but they are also modernising, putting fresh and worrying focus on strategic deterrence. The reduction is due to arms control commitments by US and Russia in 2010 Treaty on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty).
Britain has 215 nuclear warheads, France has 300, China has 280, India 130-140, Pakistan 140-150, Israel 80 and North Korea 10-20. These countries are either deploying or planning to deploy new nuclear weapons system. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems for delivery of its nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary meeting took place on in Jurmala, Latvia after Latvia assumed chairmanship of NSG for 2018-19. With this, Latvia became first Baltic state to chair the NSG. There was no headway in India’s application for NSG entry in this plenary meeting. India had applied for NSG membership at 2016 Seoul plenary session, but it was objected by few member countries of NSG including China.
Key Highlights of meeting
Participation Non-NPT States: NSG member states continued discussions on issue of technical, legal and political aspects of participation Non-NPT States of in NSG initiated at its 2016 Seoul plenary. There was no headway this time for considering India’s membership despite thaw in relationship with China. There was no specific reference to Pakistan’s application to the NSG.
Waiver to India: NSG continues to consider all aspects of implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India (or NSG waiver for India) and discussed NSG relationship with India.
On North Korea: Participating Governments of NSG reconfirmed their commitment to UN Security Council resolutions 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), 2397 (2017) and previous relevant UNSC resolutions, which reaffirm that North Korea will immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. They noted that supply of all controlled items to North Korea is prohibited according to above resolutions. They noted with encouragement the recent Inter-Korean summits and North Korea-US summit.
On Iran: They acknowledged continued implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Iran by E3/EU+2 (United Kingdom, France, Germany + Russia, China) and Iran. JCPOA is nuclear deal between P-5 (US, UK, Russia. China, France) + 1 (Germany) and Iran.
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
NSG is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be used for development of nuclear weapons. It was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s first successful nuclear tests (code name Smiling Buddha conducted on 18 May 1974) to stop so called misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. Currently, NSG has 48 members.