Asia and Nuclear Weapons
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The development of nuclear weapons programs in Asia began during the Cold War. America and the Soviet Union were building up large arsenals of nuclear weapons so other countries felt the need to develop there own nukes. The first country in Asia to make a nuclear weapon was China in 1964. This created a domino-effect with other countries such as India and Pakistan following soon after due to the need to protect themselves. Asia has 3 of the 4 countries that are not members of the NPT treaty and have nuclear weapns (India, Pakistan, North Korea). We chose this topic because we believe due to the great deal of instability and historical conflict in the region the spread of nuclear weapons in Asia will be a huge issue in the future.
Countries with Nuclear weapons
China began its nuclear weapons program with its first tested weapon in 1964. Since then its arsenal has been constantly expanding. It is currently the only member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that is still expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal. This is a violation of the Treaty and has brought China much critisicm.
Pakistan has around 70-90 nuclear weapons making it one of the largest nuclear powers in the world. Its first nuclear test was on May 28, 1998. Many experts say that Pakistan currently has the fastest growing nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. Its bad relations with India as well as its instability as a country has caused much concern in the international community. The security of Pakistan's nuclear stockpile is the biggest concern because people worry that if the government collapses the nuclear weapons could end up in the hands of a terrorist group.
North Korea has one of the most controversial nuclear weapons programs in Asia. They conducted their first nuclear weapons test in 2006 and were widely condemned by the international community for it. Currently it is known that North Korea has 5 nuclear facilities, 1 nuclear testing site, 3 missile facilities, and 3 uranium mining facilities. It is widely thought that the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il ordered the mass production of nuclear weapons. Currently North Korea has been testing long range missiles which has concerned the US because of the threat it pose to South Korea as well as the west coast of America.
India's nuclear weapons program date back to the 1970's when it conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 1974. It has since tested nuclear weapons on two different occasions in 1998 and in 2006. They are not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The main concern in this country is its historically bad realtions with Pakistan.
How Can the US Help?
The US has already shown a great effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. It has signed treaties with various countries to agree to shrink its nuclear weapons arsenal. As part of the Moscow Treaty America agreed to shrink its nuclear weapons arsenal to 1700 by 2012. The US government should intervene in this region by using diplomatic strategies to get countries in Asia to stop the production of nuclear weapons. If the US government continues to build up the militaries of its allies in the region as a way to protect themselves from powers such as China it will only create greater instability in the region. If countries like China feel insecure they will be more likely to attack other countries and with their large nuclear arsenals they may choose to use nuclear weapons as the means of attack. With all that being said America's government should continue to shrink the number of its nuclear weapons in order to set an example for this region while also attempting to deter other countries in Asia from acquiring nuclear weapons.