Australia Fails To Grasp Anti-nuclear Opportunity: Expert

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24th March 2010, 06:28pm - Views: 800

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Australia fails to grasp anti-nuclear opportunity: expert

Australia has missed a crucial opportunity in the fight to rid the world of nuclear

weapons in its joint submission with Japan to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Review Conference, RMIT University’s Professor Richard Tanter says.

The Australian-Japanese submission will follow many of the recommendations of

the report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and

Disarmament (the Evans/Kawaguchi report), co-chaired by the two countries.

Professor Tanter, Director of the Nautilus Institute at RMIT, said he welcomed

many of the proposals in the joint submission but was disappointed the Federal

Government had failed to support Japan’s push to include a recommendation that

would strictly restrict the use of nuclear weapons.

“Japan wanted to head off the use of nuclear weapons to respond to conventional

attacks, or chemical and biological attacks, with a recommendation that the sole

purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

“Support for the Japanese initiative would be consistent with our declared reliance

on US nuclear protection in the face of nuclear threats – the ‘nuclear umbrella’. 

“But the Rudd Government did not share the vision and courage of its Japanese

partner to press the US for this important restriction on the use of nuclear

weapons, and it was omitted from the final draft of the joint submission.

“A joint approach from two of America’s most important allies in the region would

have had an important effect on the contest within the Obama Administration over

nuclear weapons policy.

“Australia has lost an important chance to influence its biggest ally.” 

Why is it important for Australia and Japan to take cooperate and take a lead on

disarmament issues?

Why did Australia fail to support the Japanese proposal?

And why is there a fight inside the Obama Administration over these issues? 

Professor Tanter has worked on peace, security and environment issues in East

and Southeast Asia as an analyst, policy advocate and activist since the 1970s.

He is available for expert comment on nuclear disarmament and issues related to

the joint Australian-Japanese submission to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Review Conference, being held in New York in May.

For interviews: RMIT University’s Professor Richard Tanter, 0407 824 336.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

24 March, 2010

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