The current tense situation on the Korean peninsula and the emerging debate on nuclear armament between East and West shows all too clearly how much we need disarmament, arms control and initiatives for a world without nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Gabriel warns of the dangers of a heavily armed world and calls for a new trend towards global disarmament.
Situation on the Korean peninsula: A danger for the whole world
The most recent developments on the Korean peninsula reveal the potential for escalation when individual states start trying to get access to nuclear weapons. Should North Korea succeed in doing so, there will be repercussions for the entire south-east Asian region. “And once that happens, another part of the world, too, will wonder whether its government can be protected and defended by procuring nuclear weapons,” said Foreign Minister Gabriel. “But then,” he went on, “we would be living in a world that is more dangerous than back in the days of two blocs, East and West”.
Concern about the possible erosion of the INF Treaty
The United States has on several occasions publicly stated that Russia is violating the INF Treaty on the elimination of land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles. The German Government is concerned about the danger of the erosion of this Treaty, which is a central element of the existing disarmament and arms control architecture. A debate was emerging, Gabriel said: “This very quickly leads to the question of whether there is a need to develop new nuclear strategies in Europe.”
Heading into a Cold War 2.0?
The world was currently heading into a Cold War 2.0, said Foreign Minister Gabriel, quoting the Deep Cuts Commission. All nuclear disarmament and arms control treaties concluded by Gorbachev and Reagan were in grave danger. Europe again faced the threat of having to host large numbers of nuclear missiles, he continued.
Launch a new trend towards global disarmament now
Foreign Minister Gabriel said he feared that “the worst mistakes of the Cold War” were being repeated. To prevent this, he said, it was time to “launch a new trend towards global disarmament”. In this context, he went on, Germany in particular must raise its voice as a force for peace and work to prevent an arms race.
Take a lead and adhere to treaties
If Russia and NATO were to take a lead and put arms control and nuclear disarmament back on the agenda, it could release strong forces to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons in many other countries, said the German Foreign Minister. Looking to shape a fairer, peaceful world, Gabriel appealed to all in positions of responsibility not to abandon existing arms control treaties, and to help bring about a new trend towards disarmament.
Talks with Henry Kissinger: How to stop the spread of nuclear weapons?
The question of how to stop the spread of nuclear weapons was one Foreign Minister Gabriel also discussed with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during his trip to the United States (28 August). Henry Kissinger has been campaigning for a world without nuclear weapons for many years with the Global Zero Initiative. “We should all support this Initiative”, stressed Gabriel. After all, “unfortunately, the risks Kissinger describes are more than realistic”.