US President Donald Trump waits to speak during a proclamation signing in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The administration of US President Donald Trump says it has no plan to sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is backed by this year’s Noble Peace Prize winners.
"Today's announcement does not change the US position on the treaty: the United States does not support and will not sign the 'Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,'" a US State Department spokesman told AFP on Friday.
The comments came shortly after the Noble Peace Prize was handed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which played a key role in the treaty's adoption by 122 countries at the UN in July.
In a tweet to congratulate ICAN, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Now more than ever we need a world without nuclear weapons.”
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that “at a time when nuclear anxieties are at the highest level since the Cold War, the secretary-general calls on all countries to show vision and greater commitment for a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Washington, however, said the treaty “risks undermining existing efforts to address global proliferation and security challenges.”
“This treaty will not make the world more peaceful, will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, and will not enhance any state’s security,” the spokesman said.
The accord remains symbolic because all the eight countries known for having nuclear weapons – the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea – plus the Israeli regime refused to sign the treaty.
Upon receiving her $1.1 million prize, ICAN's Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said Trump's presidency has put a "spotlight" on the risks of nuclear weapons.
In his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary.
Referring to Pyongyang and Washington’s exchange of nuclear threats over the past months, Fihn said Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should know that "Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop."

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