Early on the morning of 15 September, North Korea conducted another missile test. Although the payload of the missile is not yet known, the range of the test demonstrates that North Korea could reach Guam with this missile.
This comes a few weeks after North Korea’s testing of what has been reported as a Hydrogen bomb — also known as a thermonuclear weapon — the most destructive type of nuclear weapon.
“The test shows that North Korea continues to develop its capacity to use nuclear weapons on cities, and slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in a few seconds. This is unacceptable behaviour and recently outlawed by the international community through a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons” say Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The recent threats of nuclear attack on North Korea by the United States has not solved the situation, it has instead increased the risk of nuclear war between these two countries. Any use of nuclear weapons on a populated area, such as Pyongyang, Seoul, Tokyo or Los Angeles would have catastrophic consequences and could lead to over a million civilian deaths through the blast, fires, and radiation.
“Threatening with nuclear war, which is what nuclear deterrence is all about, has done nothing to stop North Korea. On the contrary, it seems that it has only emboldened them to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. Entering into negotiations with North Korea must be an immediate priority, but for a lasting and sustainable solution to the North Korea crisis and to prevent other future nuclear-proliferators, the international community must strongly reject any threats to kill civilians with nuclear weapons” continues Fihn.
On 20 September, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will open for signature. Signing this treaty will be a powerful way for states to show that the idea of using weapons of mass destruction to threaten civilian populates is unacceptable and will now be illegal under international law.
“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a clear alternative to the reckless saber-rattling which the United States and North Korea are currently engaged in”, says Beatrice Fihn. “It can change the way the global community understands and sees nuclear weapons, revealing them for the inhumane, unacceptable weapons that they are.”
"The Treaty was not developed as a response to the North Korean nuclear programme; it does not provide a quick solution to the current crisis. But it does provide a way for states to clearly reject and prohibit this behaviour, a beginning to the end of reliance on nuclear weapons"