[LETTERS to the editor]Nuclear weapons: a threat for all

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[LETTERS to the editor]Nuclear weapons: a threat for all

The issue of nuclear weapons has been controversial for decades due to their destructive power; their existence is a significant threat to the whole world.

There are only five countries including the United States and Russia that are officially recognized to possess nuclear weapons and a few more countries which have potential for these weapons [or have them, but are outside the international nuclear regime].

Although these so-called Nuclear Weapons States assert that having nuclear weapons is for the prevention of wars and securing world peace, they in fact cause tensions among countries, especially on non-nuclear weapons states through implicit threat of nuclear attack.

Furthermore, there exists a great risk that these weapons could fall into the hands of non-state groups, such as terrorists. Simply because of the negative aspects - creating tensions among nations and the possibility of misuse - nuclear weapons should be eliminated.

Nuclear weapons cause tensions among nations.

Nations with nuclear weapons ultimately would look out for each other as they are greatly aware of the fact that these weapons are destructive. It was only propaganda that these states, to protect their own interests, claim that nuclear weapons prevent hot wars; the Cold War itself carried great dangers.

In 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was a confrontation between the United States and Russia, occurred as the U.S. installed nuclear bases in Turkey in order to threaten Russia, which in turn set about building missile bases in Cuba.

The tension between these two countries almost resulted in a third world war though it was at last eased by negotiation between the two states.

Nuclear weapons not only bring about tensions among nuclear-armed states but also among those without nuclear arms.

The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signatures in 1968 instructing the nuclear states to eliminate the weapons and the rest not to develop any such weapons.

However, as the nuclear states did not keep the promise on the pretext that they possessed weapons in order to secure peace, those with no nuclear weapons had their efforts to develop weapons prevented by the nuclear weapons states. They claim to be implicitly threatened with destruction by existing nuclear weapons.

These make it quite clear that nuclear weapons bring about tensions among nations.

Moreover, there exists a possibility that nuclear weapons might be misused. If nuclear weapons are not eliminated, various non-state groups including terrorists or illicit weapons dealers could gain access to them. When nuclear weapons are in the hands of terrorists, the whole world would be in peril. There are many suicide-attackers among terrorists and these people are not afraid to die or inflict death.

Illicit weapons dealers could bring about more catastrophic problems by proliferating these destructive weapons internationally.

Another point about the misuse of nuclear weapons is, for example, the president of the U.S. has the sole discretionary control over using the nation’s nuclear weapons. A small miscalculation by the president could lead to great tragedy in the world, killing millions of innocent people.

These examples show that the risk of misuse of nuclear weapons is significant.

In conclusion, nuclear weapons that currently exist in the world must be eliminated or nearly eliminated for the sake of world peace.

Nuclear weapons create tensions among nations and also hold a great possibility of being misused.

Possessing nuclear weapons is a means of trying to have power over other countries. It is extremely unreasonable and inhumane. For these reasons, nuclear weapons should be eliminated completely.

Chung Eun-Jee, Sookmyung Girls’ High School

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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