WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The United States should continue to provide nuclear deterrence for its allies because failing to do so would lead some of them to build their own nuclear arsenals, according to a U.S. think tank.
“U.S. allies, including members of the NATO alliance, Australia, Japan and South Korea, depend on security assurances from the United States,” the Council on Foreign Relations said in a report released Tuesday.
“A component of these assurances is protection against nuclear attack,” it said. “Without the nuclear aspect of these assurances, some U.S. allies may decide in the future to acquire nuclear weapons.”
The 125-page report, titled “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy,” was compiled by an expert panel chaired by former Defense Secretary William Perry and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft.
The report’s release coincides with the U.S. Defense Department’s comprehensive review of nuclear policy following President Barack Obama’s recent call for a nuclear-free world.
The report calls on the Obama administration to “reaffirm U.S. commitment to security assurances, including extended nuclear deterrence, to allies.”
“Extended deterrence” refers to the idea that the U.S. would retaliate if its allies are attacked.
The report points to Japan’s ambivalence toward nuclear weapons. While a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament, Japan relies on U.S. nuclear arms for protection.
“Japanese leaders believe that the long-term sustainability of the nonproliferation regime depends on the nuclear weapon states following through on their commitments to pursue disarmament,” it says.
“Nevertheless, some Japanese officials have expressed concern about whether U.S. nuclear posture provides an effective umbrella for Japan, especially in regard to China.
The report recommends that Washington consult with its allies on their views “about the credibility of the nuclear role in security assurances” to assess whether to make any changes to nuclear and conventional capabilities.
Also, the report says it is necessary for the U.S. to keep its relatively small nuclear stockpile in Europe as long as it supports NATO’s political goals in reassuring allies and acts as a disincentive for NATO allies to build their own nuclear forces.
North resolution OK’d
The House of Councilors unanimously approved a resolution at a plenary session Wednesday condemning North Korea’s nuclear test.
The move followed the adoption of a similar resolution by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Upper House resolution states that “repeated nuclear tests (by North Korea) are a grave challenge to the international nonproliferation regime (and) buck the increasing momentum toward the eradication of nuclear arms.”
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