Originally issued May 25, 2009.

Pax Christi USA, national Catholic peace movement, condemns the provocative and destabilizing nuclear weapons test by North Korea today. As the world moves closer to a consensus that nuclear weapons must be eliminated, the North Korean test underscores the urgency of that view.

Pax Christi USA calls upon the North Korean government to abandon its drive for nuclear weapons and to rejoin the Nonproliferation Treaty as the only effective way to ensure continued security. Nuclear weapons provide no real security and instead offer only continued isolation from the international community and continued suffering for the people of North Korea who urgently need economic and social development, not weapons of mass destruction.

Pax Christi USA urges the Obama Administration to remain firm in its commitment to leading the world to a nuclear weapons-free future. The North Korean test is but another example of the dangers of proliferation and further evidence that in the 21st century all nations must relinquish their right to possess nuclear weapons or all nations will claim that right. The United States can most effectively lead the world in nonproliferation efforts by actively pursuing the nuclear weapons-free future outlined by President Obama in Prague in April 2009.

To that end, Pax Christi USA calls on President Obama to accelerate his efforts by:

  • committing to nuclear abolition as the only true path to U.S. security and operationalizing that commitment within the National Security Strategy of the United States;
  • aggressively pursuing a U.S./Russian agreement to dramatically reduce both nations’ arsenals, including a commitment to negotiations that involve all nuclear weapons states and that will agree to total eliminating all arsenals within a time-bound framework;
  • reducing the alert status of U.S. strategic nuclear forces and seeking a reciprocal reduction of the alert status of Russian strategic forces;
  • seeking and securing Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the end of this year.
  • Nations like North Korea who seek security in nuclear deterrence are responding to the decades-old lesson that the United States, Russia, and other nuclear weapons states have taught the world. Security based on nuclear deterrence is at best an illusion and at worst a provocative and dangerous example for a world ripe with nations like North Korea.

    As Catholics committed to a just peace in our world, we echo the long-held view of the Vatican that “nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century.”

    Leave a Reply