Fewer but more modern nuclear weapons in the world

The planet’s nuclear powers are once again investing more in their nuclear arsenals, according to peace researchers. The number of nuclear weapons worldwide fell by just under four percent last year, according to the stockholm peace research institute sipri.

But nuclear powers are again more keen to modernize their weapons, he said. "Frankly, this is a negative trend," sipri nuclear weapons expert shannon kile told the german press agency. The decline in nuclear weapons has slowed decisively in recent years and can only be attributed to the USA and russia discarding weapons they no longer need.

In total, as of january 2019, there were an estimated 13.865 nuclear weapons in the world, according to sipri’s 2019 annual report, released on monday. A year earlier, the number of nuclear weapons was about 14.465 have been. At the height of the cold war in the mid-1980s, there were once some 70.000 nuclear warheads on the planet.

According to sipri, over 90 percent of them are now in the possession of the u.S. And russia. The two countries are estimated to have 6185 and 6500 nuclear warheads, respectively. However, the other three UN veto powers, great britain (200), france (300) and china (290), as well as israel (80-90) and the states of india (130-140) and pakistan (150-160), which are involved in an internal conflict, also possess such weapons. India, pakistan and also china had gradually expanded their arsenals in recent years, according to kile.

Peace researchers estimate the number of nuclear weapons in north korea’s possession at 20 to 30 – up from 10 to 20 a year earlier. Only nuclear warheads from the u.S., russia, the uk and france are considered ready for immediate use in some cases.

The governments of all nuclear powers are also in the process of modernizing their nuclear arsenals, kile said. "What we see is that nuclear weapons are becoming more important again in national security and military strategies."Under the administration of president donald trump, the u.S. Is pursuing a comprehensive modernization strategy. "This includes weapons as such as well as bombers, submarines, marching bodies and production capacities," said the expert. A similar trend could be observed in russia. A world free of nuclear weapons is thus still not in sight, warned kile.

Just a week ago, federal minister heiko maas (SPD) warned that the crisis in efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation posed a threat to world peace. After a meeting with ministers from 15 other countries without nuclear weapons in stockholm, he criticized the fact that the issue of disarmament is not currently on the political agenda at all. But that is where it belongs without question. The exchange of views in sweden is now to go into the next round in berlin at the beginning of 2020, after the stockholm conference had made clear in its closing declaration: "our common goal is a world without nuclear weapons"."

The importance of nuclear diplomacy can be seen in several places at the moment: immediately before the stockholm meeting, maas spoke out in tehran in favor of saving the international nuclear agreement with iran. However, no concrete progress was made in the process. U.S. Diplomacy in the nuclear dispute with north korea also falters. The question of extending the new start treaty on the control of nuclear offensive weapons, which expires in february 2021, is also pending between russia and the u.S. Sipri expert kile said that negotiations on a successor treaty were at an impasse due to political and military differences. "The outlook is bleak."

The peace researchers obtained their data for the 50. The first edition of its annual report is again based on public sources, including governments. Not all states were transparent about their arsenals, complained in stockholm.

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