WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The United States should launch a full dialogue on nuclear issues with Japan, parallel to Washington’s efforts to hammer out a new atomic arms limitation deal with Moscow, according to a congressional report released Wednesday.
The report by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture calls on the U.S. to lead the way in helping to achieve nuclear disarmament, but acknowledges the country will need to maintain its nuclear deterrence capability for years to come.
The commission, chaired by former Defense Secretary William Perry, unveiled the report to put forward recommendations to the administration of President Barack Obama on the future shape of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.
The 158-page report, titled “America’s Strategic Posture,” singles out the need for the Obama administration to “establish a more extensive dialogue” with Japan on nuclear issues.
The recommendation reflects the commission’s belief that the U.S. must closely consult with its allies as it negotiates a new nuclear accord with Russia that would replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, due to expire in December.
Noting that bilateral talks on nuclear issues have been “limited only by the desires of the Japanese government,” the report says, “Such a dialogue with Japan would also increase the credibility of extended deterrence.”
In addition to dialogue with Japan, the report also calls for close consultations with major regional powers, including China and India.
“There must also be robust dialogues with other parties interested in strategic stability, including especially Beijing and Delhi,” it says.
The report pins high hopes on the U.S. to contribute to a global nuclear disarmament drive by successfully concluding a new nuclear deal with Russia this year and taking a leadership role at a review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty next year.
While taking note of Obama’s goal of creating a nuclear-free world, the report admits there is no other choice but to maintain U.S. nuclear deterrence capability for years to come.
“It is clear that the goal of zero nuclear weapons is extremely difficult to attain and would require a fundamental transformation of the world political order,” it says.
“So long as nuclear dangers remain, (the United States) must have a strong deterrent that is effective in meeting its security needs and those of its allies,” it says.
The report pointedly recommends that Washington continue to provide nuclear deterrence to its allies, including Japan and South Korea, even if it pursues disarmament. “All allies depending on the U.S. nuclear umbrella should be assured that any changes in its forces do not imply a weakening of the U.S. extended nuclear deterrence guarantees,” it says.
“Extended deterrence” refers to the theory that the U.S. would retaliate in the event its allies are attacked.
Alluding to Japan and other nations, the report also cautions that the U.S. must not allow its friends and allies to pursue nuclear armaments.
“A quick survey of the potential nuclear candidates in Northeast Asia and the Middle East brings home the point that many potential proliferation candidates are friends and even allies of the United States,” it says.
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