The Political Reckoning in a Post-Nuclear Use Landscape
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The Political Reckoning in a Post-Nuclear Use Landscape



29 June 2024

This week, we feature two new reports focusing on reducing the risk of nuclear weapons in Northeast Asia. Rabia Akhtar examines the political ramifications of potential nuclear use in Northeast Asia, and Adam Mount writes on the value of No First Use in reducing US-China nuclear risks. These reports come against the backdrop of intensifying nuclear threats highlighted by recently released analyses by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on the escalating nuclear arms race and the alarming increase in nuclear spending by the world’s leading powers.

We also share the recording of the webinar for our recent Pacific Islands project webinar. As always, we share recent activities from our network, including analysis on the China-Korea-Japan trilateral summit, nuclear crisis communications and risk reduction, and more. 

In this report, Rabia Akhtar provides analysis of the multifaceted challenges posed by nuclear weapons in Northeast Asia, including the good, the bad, and the ugly scenarios post-nuclear use and how nuclear weapons are perceived in the new normal. She offers valuable recommendations to policymakers to prevent nuclear use, emphasizing the need for substantive dialogues on arms control and conflict resolution.

Read the Special Report

One way to understand the evolving risks of nuclear escalation in a US-China conflict is through the ongoing debate on No First Use (NFU). In this report, Adam Mount argues that although NFU declaratory statements are unlikely to directly affect the incentives of the United States and China in a future crisis, they can still play an indirect role in reducing the risk of nuclear use and help both countries avoid a nuclear war.

Read the Special Report


Last week, we hosted a webinar on the findings from our “Voices from Pacific Island Countries: Nuclear Disarmament and the Anthropocene” project. The panelists discussed the interlinkages of climate change, nuclear policies and practices, and geopolitical dynamics in the Pacific. The full recording of the event is now available on our website.

Watch the recording

APLN has over 150 members from 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Each week we feature their latest contributions
to global and regional security debates.

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Shaping Northeast Asia’s Security Dynamics: Charting an East Asian Community

Marty Natalegawa, APLN Chair, wrote a commentary on the China-Korea-Japan trilateral summit and argued that it is not beyond Northeast Asia to gently begin the process of regional cooperation to widen the ASEAN community to an East Asia community.

No Light at the End of the N-Tunnel

C. Uday Bhaskar, Director of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), New Delhi, wrote on the findings of two major reports released by ICAN and SIPRI, highlighting that the world has drifted from reasonably robust deterrence to one of fragile fecklessness.

Resilient Nuclear Crisis Communications: India’s Experience

Manpreet Sethi, APLN Senior Research Adviser, examined how the existing hotlines have been used in the India-Pakistan dyad, and identified challenges posed to these channels and explained how these need to be overcome, arguing that the resilience of crisis communication needs to be built around three factors: political, procedural, and technical.

Pakistan: Mitigating Nuclear Risks Through Crisis Communications

Rabia Akhtar, founding Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore, wrote about the use of crisis communication mechanisms by India and Pakistan and urged the development of a multilateral crisis mechanism in South Asia to enhance regional stability and security.

China: Nuclear Crisis Communications and Risk Reduction

Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was interviewed by Sylvia Mishra from The Institute for Security and Technology. He shared his insights on China’s approach to crisis communications, highlighting that timely communication is crucial to reducing nuclear risks and managing emerging challenges in technologies like cyber and AI.

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