Australia, Japan in nuclear rift

Daniel Flitton, 4/9/09; (2 Items)

Australia and Japan are at loggerheads over the use of nuclear weapons in war, with Japan – the only country to have suffered atomic attack – determined, for now, to keep a broad deterrent role for the world’s deadly arsenal. The split has emerged in talks at the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a panel of experts put together by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last year and jointly sponsored by Tokyo to chart ways to rid the world of nuclear arms.At issue is the ”first use” nuclear posture, under which nations such as the US declare the circumstances in which they would unleash a nuclear strike. The Age believes most of the 15-member commission, including Australia’s co-chairman, former foreign minister Gareth Evans, plan to call on nuclear-armed states to change their defence doctrine and declare they will only use atomic weapons when faced with direct nuclear attack.


Disarmament: words don’t match actions
Daniel Flitton; 4/9/09
Australia‚Äôs reliance on the US weakens its push to get rid of nuclear weapons. The ambassador from Iran surged to his feet in protest – and nobody paid much attention. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith had just wrapped up a speech on Australia’s efforts to promote worldwide nuclear disarmament and the crowd gathered beneath the glass atrium of Canberra’s foreign affairs building was keen to partake of the drinks and canapes on offer afterwards. Mahmoud Movahhedi’s complaint went unheard. What had upset him, he told me later, was that Australia had lumped Iran in the same category as North Korea as a nuclear rogue state. Smith had said: ”The actions of North Korea and Iran are highly destabilising for regional and global security and represent significant challenges for the cause of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.” Movahhedi insisted this connection was unfair. North Korea had secretly built and tested an atomic weapon. Pyongyang was accused of selling this technology to others. Iran had done none of this.