News / USA

Biden Argues for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Stresses No Unilateral Disarmament

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Obama administration remains committed to the nuclear test ban treaty and efforts to stop the spread of atomic weapons.  But, Biden stressed that the United States will not disarm unilaterally.

Ten months ago, President Barack Obama called for international action to create a world without nuclear weapons.

Since then, he has come under criticism from political opponents, who call his non-proliferation stand weak and naive.

Vice President Biden says they are missing the point and that the goals of disarmament and deterrence are intertwined.

"The spread of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat facing the country and, I would argue, facing humanity," said Vice President Biden. "And that is why we are working both to stop their proliferation and eventually eliminate them.  But until that day comes, we have to do everything in our power to maintain our arsenal."

Biden says the United States must be prepared to spend more to maintain its nuclear stockpile.  He notes that President Obama's proposed 2011 budget includes higher funding for scientists and laboratories that deal with nuclear readiness.

"We announced a new budget that reverses the last decade of dangerous decline," said Mr. Biden. "It devotes $7 billion to maintaining our nuclear stockpile and modernizing our nuclear infrastructure."

The vice president's remarks came in a speech at the National Defense University here in Washington.  Biden told a gathering of arms control experts, members of Congress and military personnel that threats remain and that the United States must be ready to meet them.

He specifically mentioned Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"We have tightened sanctions on North Korea's proliferation activities through the most restricted U.N. Security Council resolution to date," he said. "And the international community is enforcing those sanctions as we speak.  And now, we are working with our international partners to ensure that Iran also faces real consequences for failing to meet its obligations."

The speech was another sign that Biden - a champion of arms non-proliferation during his decades in the U.S. Senate - is becoming the Obama administration's chief spokesman for its nuclear policy.

The vice president is leading a White House campaign to win Senate approval of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  Biden says the accord is as important as ever, noting that issues that arose during the negotiation phase have been dealt with.

"We are confident that all reasonable concerns raised about the treaty back then - concerns about verification and the reliability of our own arsenal - have now been addressed," said Joe Biden.

Biden spoke at a time when arms control efforts are accelerating.  Negotiations with Russia on a new strategic arms reduction treaty are in their final phase and an international non-proliferation conference is scheduled to be held in Washington in May.  

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid