UNITED NATIONS, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The UN disarmament chief warned Tuesday that the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons is higher than it has been in generations.
Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the disarmament success of the post-Cold War era has come to a halt. "In its place, there is dangerous rhetoric about the utility of nuclear weapons and an increased reliance on these weapons in security doctrines."
"Expensive modernization programs that will make nuclear weapons faster, stealthier and more accurate have effectively announced the arrival of a qualitative nuclear arms race," she told a Security Council meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ahead of the 2020 Review Conference.
The NPT, signed in 1968 and effective since 1970, is the only treaty that contains legally-binding commitments to pursue nuclear disarmament. A total of 191 states have joined the treaty.
Recalling the "tangible security benefits" of the NPT, she said the treaty has proven "remarkably durable" but its durability should not be taken for granted.
"2020 -- the 50th anniversary of the NPT's entry into force and the 25th anniversary of its indefinite extension -- presents a golden opportunity to make the practical gains that will ensure the Treaty's continued viability," Nakamitsu said.
She encouraged creative thinking for "a successful outcome" of the 2020 Review Conference.
Since 1995, NPT review conferences have produced decisions, action plans, practical steps and measures to improve the effectiveness of the review process itself.
"In 2020, state parties need to consider what possible outcome can both ensure success and drive forward implementation of the treaty," Nakamitsu said.