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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nobel Peace Prize Winners Urge Nuclear Powers to Sign UN Treaty

By VOA News December 10, 2017

Winners of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize warned that the world was "one impulsive tantrum" away from destruction, urging nuclear nations to adopt a U.N. treaty banning atomic weapons.

"Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?" Beatrice Fihn, who accepted the award on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), asked in her speech following the group's acceptance of the award.

Fihn warned that in particular, warlike threats exchanged between North Korea and the United States amid nuclear tests by Pyongyang were forcing the world to live "under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away."

The Geneva-based group, which received the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year, consists of about 500 organizations in more than 100 countries that are working toward global nuclear disarmament.

The Nobel committee praised ICAN's efforts toward securing the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. A total of 122 nations adopted the deal – but none of the nine known nuclear powers signed up.

In a break from tradition, the three western nuclear powers – the U.S., France and Britain – sent second-ranking diplomats rather than their ambassadors to Sunday's ceremony.

Receiving the award with Fihn was 85-year-old Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an ICAN campaigner, who described horrible scenes in the aftermath of the atomic bomb in 1945 when she was 13 years old.

"Listen to our testimony. Heed our warning. And know that your actions are consequential," Thurlow said during her speech at the ceremony.

The nine nations that have nuclear weapons boycotted the U.N. treaty negotiations, which began in February. They are Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

Nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the debate between disarmament versus deterrence is still being fought.

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