Bits From Abroad

September 2011

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister has temporarily boycotted  the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in protest at North Korea’s term as president.

An international meeting in Belgium this month to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East has shown some slight progress, but there are complaints that the US is not taking a leadership role.

Iran’s first nuclear power plant has been connected to the country’s power grid.

 In July, the US and Russian Foreign Ministers exchanged diplomatic notes to bring the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement between the two countries into force.

The United Statesis in talks with NATO to remove US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

The House of Representatives has approved spending legislation that would cut nearly $1 billion from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons and non-proliferation programmes.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty has entered into force. It requires the US and Russia to each reduce deployment of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and limits the number of warhead delivery platforms to 700.  It allows the two countries to carry out inspections of the other nation’s launch-ready nuclear weapons.

Turkey has agreed to have a radar base for the US missile defence system.

Japan‘s Prime Minister NaotoKan has called for his country to become nuclear-free, in response to public anger at the continuing crisis at the Fukushima plant.
In contrast, the Governor of Tokyo has said that Japan should not dismiss having nuclear weapons, in order to maintain its position in the world, as it is surrounded by nuclear states.
Some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities withheld damaging information and denied facts to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations  and to avoid public questioning of the powerful nuclear industry.