Tracking Number:  136153

Title:  "NPT 'Real Cornerstone' to International Security." Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Brad Gordon predicts renewed interest in the 1970 Nucear Non-Proliferation treaty. (900416)

Date:  19900416


04/16/90 1Ac Re NPT "REAL CORNERSTONE" TO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY (Gordon predicts renewed interest in treaty) (1070) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Writer

Washington -- A senior U.S. arms control official says the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) serves as "a real cornerstone in international security" and predicts that the rapidly changing world environment will bring about a "renewed interest" in the treaty.

Brad Gordon, assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for Nuclear and Weapons Control, said South Africa "has indicated that it is seriously considering adhering" to the treaty, and China for the first time plans to send an observer delegation to the next five-year NPT Review Conference in August. He called this "a step in the right direction."

Gordon, in an April 16 interview, described the NPT as "the most successful arms control treaty in history." There are now 140 countries which are party to the treaty designed to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons, foster peaceful nuclear cooperation according to specific safeguards, and to encourage negotiations to end the nuclear arms race.

"There has been tremendous progress on the arms control front," according to Gordon, which will benefit the NPT. "For the first time in history the United States and the Soviet Union are actually getting rid of nuclear weapons," he said,noting there is "great promise" for additional progress. If the two countries sign protocols for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty to limit nuclear testing it will have positive feed back for the NPT, the official suggested.

"As the superpowers begin to reduce their arsenals of nuclear weapons," Gordon said, "it is an odd irony that others would seek to acquire them."

In South Asia, he said, it would be hard to imagine how a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan would further the national security of either country. "From our perspective, it would do injury to their own national security," he added. The official said there are a number of incentives for nations to adhere to the NPT. There also are specific programs of nuclear cooperation "which are only open to NPT parties," he said. These include export controls and guidelines established under the Missile Technology Control Regime (to thwart technology which could contribute to the delivery of nuclear weapons).

Non-nuclear weapons possessing countries which are party to the NPT have agreed to open their facilities to

GE 2 POL107 inspections and adhere to safeguards promulgated by the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA). Gordon said he believes the IAEA inspection standards are sufficient to deter diversion of nuclear materials needed to produce weapons.

If a country tries hard enough to divert materials, he conceded it may succeed, but noted it will also risk international exposure. For the vast majority of countries, however, IAEA inspections will reassure nations worried about their neighbors intentions, Gordon said.

"In the end, it comes down to a national decision that countries are better off, more secure, by not having nuclear weapons," the official said, "than by having them." It is a decision which a great majority of states already have made, he added. The United States is seeking universal adherence to the treaty and believes the NPT can be strengthened if all countries adhere to it.

In 1995 the nations obligated to the NPT will meet to decide whether to extend the period of adherence to the treaty indefinitely or whether to do so for a fixed period(s) of time. Gordon said he hopes the parties will extend it for "a long period," since it would be difficult to imagine an world in which the NPT ceased to exist.

Beginning April 23 the NPT preparatory committee will meet in Geneva for the third and last time before the official Review Conference in mid-August. They are expected to examine some procedural matters as well as issues which are expected to come up during the full review.

The Review Conference in Geneva will examine the "workings of the treaty over the last five years" probably article-by-article, the official said. It is an important review since it is the fourth and final one before nations will be deciding to extend the treaty's lifetime. More than 60 nations participated in the 1985 review.

Gordon said the United States believes that it is "premature to get into the details of an extension" this summer since there will be ample time to do so before 1995.

The August Review will explore ways to achieve universal treaty adherence. It also will review arms control progress in recent years. If a S.T.A.R.T. (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) "agreement in principle" were achieved by the upcoming U.S.-Soviet summit, Gordon said, it would be "a major positive element in the review."

He said the participants are likely to examine a proposal which would give non-nuclear weapons states assurances that they will not be attacked by those who possess them in a legally binding document.

As the superpowers make increasing arms control progress, Gordon said the Non-Aligned countries should "look at problems in their own backyard." Proliferation concerns are found primarily in the non-aligned world, he said. "It's time for the non-aligned world to begin to address that problem seriously," he added.

Other thorny political issues are expected to arise such as what to do about non-parties which have

GE 3 POL107 unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and whether or not to single out specific countries for criticism.

The official also said the Review Conference should be prepared to criticize countries which are not NPT parties and have unsafeguarded facilities. Gordon said he is prepared "to name names," but he urges that all transgressors be identified.

North Korea, for example, signed the NPT nearly five years ago, but has not yet addressed the issue of international inspections. "The treaty, itself, gives you 18 months (to comply), so they are nearly three-and-a-half years late, and in violation of the treaty obligations," Gordon said.

Some Iraqi citizens were arrested recently for allegedly trying to smuggle nuclear trigger devices into their country, which is a party to the NPT. Gordon said the Iraqi example will likely be discussed as well as other countries which may not be "living up to the spirit of the treaty." NNNN