Risk of nuclear war now highest since WW2, U.N. arms research chief says

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Published on May 22, 2019 - Duration: 01:16s

Risk of nuclear war now highest since WW2, U.N. arms research chief says

Senior U.N.

Security expert Renata Dwan says the risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest since World War Two.

Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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Risk of nuclear war now highest since WW2, U.N. arms research chief says

ROUGH CUT.

NO REPORTER NARRATION.

The risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest since World War Two, a senior U.N.

Security expert said on Tuesday (May 21), calling it an "urgent" issue that the world should take more seriously.

Renata Dwan, director of the U.N.

Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), said all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernization programs underway and the arms control landscape is changing, partly due to strategic competition between China and the United States.

Traditional arms control arrangements are also being eroded by the emergence of new types of war, with increasing prevalence of armed groups and private sector forces and new technologies that blurred the line between offense and defense, she told reporters in Geneva.

With disarmament talks stalemated for the past two decades, 122 countries have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, partly out of frustration and partly out of a recognition of the risks, she said.

The nuclear ban treaty, officially called the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was backed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

The treaty has so far gathered 23 of the 50 ratifications that it needs to come into force, including South Africa, Austria, Thailand, Vietnam and Mexico.

It is strongly opposed by the United States, Russia, and other states with nuclear arms. Cuba also ratified the treaty in 2018, 56 years after the Cuban missile crisis, a 13-day Cold War face-off between Moscow and Washington that marked the closest the world had ever come to nuclear war.

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