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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 24, New Delhi, May 30, 2020

Absolutely Unacceptable: Resumed Nuclear Explosive Testing - Statement of the Annual Meeting of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Saturday 30 May 2020, May 23, 2020

Resumption of nuclear explosive testing is absolutely unacceptable. Even discussing nuclear testing again is dangerously destabilizing. Yet according to news reports [1] such discussions have recently been held in the Trump White House. US resumption of nuclear testing would lead to testing by other states – possibly China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and DPRK. It would accelerate the emerging nuclear arms race, and damage prospects for nuclear arms control negotiations. A nuclear explosive test is itself a kind of threat. Testing would generate fear and mistrust and would entrench reliance on nuclear arms. It would move the world away from rather than towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Nuclear explosive testing must not happen, and there must not even be signals of its possibility. Instead the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty should be brought into legal force.

This episode comes in the context of ongoing upgrading of nuclear forces by the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is supported by extensive laboratory research and experimentation which in part serves as a substitute for functions once served by nuclear explosive testing. So, even as we demand that such testing not be resumed, we must recognize the dangers inherent in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise. Those dangers are now mostly out of sight of the public and subject to little media scrutiny, but they are real. They too must be addressed, which in the end will require the global abolition of nuclear arms.

Drafted on behalf of the AGM by:

John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
Daniel Ellsberg, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner Andrew Lichterman, Senior Research Analyst, Western States Legal Foundation

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