Project News

Obama Pursuing a UN Security Council Resolution on Test Ban

U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking approval for a UN Security Council resolution to reinforce the norm against nuclear testing, in a move that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the United States signed in 1996.

The Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin quoted National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price as saying that while the administration would like to see the Senate ratify the CTBT, they are “looking at possible action in the UN Security Council that would call on states not to test and support the CTBT’s objectives. We will continue to explore ways to achieve this goal, being careful to protect the Senate’s constitutional role.”

The Democratic National Committee Platform and the CTBT

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform, which was released on July 21, says that Democrats "will strengthen the [nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty], push for the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and stop the spread of loose nuclear material."

This is modified slightly from the 2012 party platform which declares:

Leaders Convene to Push Test Ban Treaty

Foreign ministers and representatives from more than 69 states and international organizations gathered in Vienna on June 13-14 for a special meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and to explore options for advancing its entry into force. Following a visit from the head of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to Jerusalem on June 20, the Israeli government pledged to ratify the treaty “at the right time.”

In his welcoming remarks, Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the CTBTO Provisional Technical Secretariat, noted that “we cannot really approach the anniversary as a cause for celebration. Until it enters into force, the CTBT is unfinished business. Until we finish what we started, there is a risk that the world will backslide into nuclear testing.”

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CTBTO Youth Group Initiative Takes Flight

In addition to the diplomats and experts who attended the June 13 Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, the meeting also featured participation by a new CTBTO Initiative to engage youth called the "CTBTO Youth Group."

Members of this youth group took the opportunity at the "[email protected]: The Way Forward - The Role of Civil Society" panel discussion to present statements and ideas on how to spur action on the CTBT, either by proposing frameworks for dialogue between nations, or by painting a picture of a world in 20 years in which the CTBT is in force.

May 19 Event "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing"

On Thursday, May 19, 2016 at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences will host the conference: "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing."

The conference will be divided into a "Daytime Program" and an "Evening Program" that will both take place in Cambridge. However, the American Academy of Arts and Science will also be hosting a live-stream of the evening program in Washington, D.C. at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. 

To register for the conference, either in Cambridge or in Washington, please click on the following links:

North Korea Threatens More Nuclear Tests

As part of its response to tough new sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council following its fourth nuclear test explosion on Jan. 6, the Pyongyang regime has threatened a new round of nuclear tests and claims to have developed a warhead design small enough to load on a ballistic missile.

Many analysts doubt Pyongyang has fully developed such a capability and they underscore the importance of restarting negotiations to try to halt further nuclear and ballistic missile tests, particularly of the KN-08 missile, that could allow it to perfect such a capability. For further analysis, see:

U.S. Government Officials Continue CTBT Tour

Senior U.S. government officials have been touring different states to deliver addresses explaining the national security benefits of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty since October, with Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Adam Scheinman taking the lead.

Scheinman’s keynote address at the "Deterrence & Assurance Academic Conference and Workshop” at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on March 4 was covered in the Omaha World-Herald.

As part of her speaking tour in New Mexico, Gottemoeller was interviewed on Feb. 4 by the Albuquerque Journal on the CTBT.  In that article, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich went on the record in support of the treaty’s ratification.

Below is a compilation of remarks of key remarks released by the Department of State as the Obama administration works to reintroduce the CTBT:

Japan Presses Egypt on the CTBT

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for an official visit to Japan from Feb. 29-March 2. According to a joint statement issued Feb. 29, they discussed a range of bilateral and international issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament and the CTBT. On these issues, the statement says: