China, Iran hit for nuke secrecy

by Jun Hongo

Shedding light on China and Iran’s secretive nuclear arms programs is key to advancing global disarmament, Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said Monday in Tokyo.

During a speech delivered to “show Japan’s will to lead and propel global nuclear disarmament,” Nakasone welcomed the recent agreement between the United States and Russia aimed at reducing their atomic arsenals.

But the foreign minister said the secretive nuclear weapons programs in some countries generate fear and create a vicious circle in the arms race.

“China’s strategic direction is unclear and it continues to modernize its nuclear armaments, without cutting down its nuclear weapons. It hasn’t released any information” regarding its capabilities, Nakasone said.

In urging all nuclear states to reveal the size of their arsenals, Nakasone also touched on Iran’s atomic program, describing it as “an urgent matter” and calling on Tehran to answer the global call for more transparency.

Nakasone also lashed out at North Korea’s nuclear test and recent missile launch, saying the tension caused by these events spread beyond Asia to the entire global community.

Echoing U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks on nuclear disarmament at Prague earlier this month, Nakasone’s speech laid out 11 guidelines of conduct to pursue the goal of a nuclear-free world.

These include promoting permanent disarmament, establishing verification systems to check nuclear facilities and pushing for safe and secure use of atomic energy.

Nakasone pledged to aid countries seeking to take advantage of peaceful nuclear programs, saying Japan is ready to help train personnel and sponsor the building of facilities in appropriate states.

He also revealed plans to hold early next year an international conference on global nuclear disarmament to discuss the threats of proliferation and offer countermeasures.

To demonstrate his concern about the spread of “an off-beam awareness” regarding nuclear weapons, Nakasone referred to a scene from the Hollywood movie “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in which the main character survives an atomic blast by hiding inside a refrigerator.

Nakasone reiterated that Japan, as the only country to have experienced nuclear bombings, is obliged to convey the true nature of such weapons.