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Members of the U.N. Security Council convene a meeting on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty Members of the United Nations Security Council convene a meeting on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, at U.N. headquarters, Feb. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

The New Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Will Be an Early Trial for Biden

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

With support from nearly half the world’s nations, a new United Nations treaty banning the possession and use of nuclear weapons will take effect early next year. The U.N. confirmed last month that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or TPNW, had been ratified by the required 50 countries. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it “a tribute to the survivors of nuclear explosions and tests, many of whom advocated for this treaty.”

Many non-nuclear-armed states, as well as pro-disarmament activists and organizations like the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, have celebrated the agreement, which they see as a milestone in global efforts to prevent nuclear war. However, it has drawn strong opposition from nuclear-armed states, especially the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Trump administration has called on the treaty’s 84 signatories to back out of it. Its entry into force on Jan. 22, 2021, will pose a thorny diplomatic challenge for the incoming Biden administration. ...

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