A Nuclear Risk Wake-Up Call the World Cannot Ignore
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A Nuclear Risk Wake-Up Call the World Cannot Ignore



7 February 2023

This week, APLN contributors reflect on the symbolic importance of the famous Doomsday Clock moving closer to midnight, propose ways to move nuclear disarmament talks forward, and look at the risks a new North Korean nuclear weapons test may pose to China.

Gareth Evans warns that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ decision to set the hands of its famous Doomsday Clock to just 90 seconds to midnight, the closest they have ever been in the clock’s history, is a wake-up call the world cannot ignore.

Also, Sylvia Mishra calls on the nuclear-weapon states to focus on nuclear weapons risk reduction measures as an interim way to regain the trust of the non-nuclear-weapon states. Doing so not only would enhance security, but it would also help revive multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation talks, she argues.

And in a new Korea Times column, Yun Sun argues that a new nuclear weapons test by North Korea would be a provocation aimed at the US and its allies, but it could prove to be an even bigger problem for China. She explains that a nuclear test would widen the rift between China and South Korea, the opposite of what Beijing is trying to achieve in the region. We also highlight members’ activities below.

A Wake-Up Call the World Cannot Ignore

Gareth Evans, APLN Board member and former Foreign Minister of Australia, warns that it’s highly probable that nuclear weapons will be used again at some point in the future; thus, the decision by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move the hands of its famous Doomsday Clock to just 90 seconds to midnight is a wake-up call for the world to finally rid itself of these weapons.

Read the Commentary

The Nuclear Risk Reduction Approach:
A Useful Path Forward for Crisis Mitigation and Building Bridges

Sylvia Mishra, Senior Nuclear Policy Associate at the Institute for Security and Technology, argues that in the midst of weakening nuclear disarmament initiatives and the rising risk of proliferation, the nuclear-weapon states must focus on risk reduction measures as a necessary and progressive way forward. Focusing on risk reduction, she says, fosters greater trust while preventing crises among nuclear-weapon states from escalating.

Read the Commentary

2023: Upcoming Crisis for China’s Policy Toward the
Korean Peninsula

Yun Sun, Senior Fellow and Director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, argues that a new nuclear weapons test by North Korea could result in negative geopolitical consequences for China. As Sun explains, up to now China has taken a nuanced view of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, acknowledging that it’s problem but one that conversely provides some strategic leverage for China. More recently, however, Sun says China’s views are changing. Beijing, she argues, must now worry that further nuclear provocations by the North will only draw South Korea and the US (and Japan) closer together, ultimately damaging China’s strategic security goals and national interests.

Read the Korea Times column

Balanced Leadership Needed for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, writes for The Hankyoreh on the need for balanced leadership on the Korean peninsula, arguing that “robust national security and the willingness to wage war are not enough to guarantee peace”. 

Testing Times Ahead for Beijing

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, writes for The Japan Times and examines how China’s domestic political economy, its relationship with the US, and the impact of the US-China relationship on other countries will evolve in 2023. 

Public Seminar – Japan Fukushima Nuclear Issue

Rhea Moss-Christian, former Chair of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission, moderated a panel discussion on the legacy of Fukushima nuclear waste disposal and shared concerns regarding Japan’s plans to discharge nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean in 2023. 

Sharif’s Talks Offer Serious But Poorly Phrased; J&K Biggest Hurdle to India’s Rise

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator from Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan, argues that the status quo in Indian Occupied Kashmir is “untenable and unacceptable” and speaks about how “Kashmir is the biggest impediment to India’s rise” in an interview with Karan Thapar at The Wire.

Understanding Japan’s Nuclear Dilemma

Manpreet Sethi, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi, analyses Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s overtures towards nuclear disarmament and the Japanese government’s planned new defence build-up and modernisation of its conventional forces.

The Un-love Triangle

C. Raja Mohan, Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, writes for The Indian Express on the state of the China-Russia alliance and its implications for India. 

Is the Pakistan-China Partnership as Relevant as Ever in a Multipolar World?

Salman Bashir, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India, writes for Arab News on the Pakistan-China relationship. He argues that the reality of duopoly and the imperatives of the US-China strategic competition will take a toll on Pakistan’s relevance to China in the foreseeable future.

Is South Korea Considering Nuclear Weapons? 

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, writes for The Diplomat on recent reports speculating on South Korea’s possible plans for nuclear weapons acquisition. She says the debate is demonstrative of the fact that the role of nuclear weapons is gaining greater importance in the national security thinking of many states in the Indo-Pacific. 



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