40-50 states signed a legally binding nuclear weapons ban treaty on Wednesday.
As the signature event began, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that “we cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future.”
In principle, the Treaty was adopted on July 7 by 122 nations, but boycotted by all nuclear nations. The treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, manufacturing, or possession of nuclear explosive devices.
In theory, the Treaty enters into force in three months (90 days).
The treaty may affect other international treaties, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which recognizes the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK as the sole nuclear powers. By now, there are an additional four “de facto” nuclear powers, namely India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, which also boycotted the treaty.
None of the NATO member states signed the treaty, except the Netherlands. Even the traditionally pacifist Switzerland reserved the right to “reflect” on its initial endorsement, which was not binding.
Washington places an emphasis on strengthening the 50 years old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the context of aspirant nuclear powers, such as North Korea. North Korea has been conducting a series of nuclear tests, asserting itself as a nuclear power. During his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” N. Korea if pressed to defend itself or its allies.