Arms Control and International Security: U.S. Nuclear Arms Control Policy and Security in the Asia-Pacific
Thank you all very much for welcoming me here today. For over fifty years, Japan Institute of International Affairs has advanced research and dialogue on major regional and global security issues, so I’m very pleased to join you to continue to share in and advance those discussions.
I’m also particularly honored to speak with this audience so early in the calendar year, as 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. At the U.S. Department of State, we have been working with our Japanese partners to commemorate the successes of the decades-long partnership that’s followed.
So as mentioned, my name is Anita Friedt, and I am the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy at the U.S. Department of State.
Today, I’d like to discuss the United States’ nuclear arms control and deterrence policies, particularly as they relate to regional security in the Asia-Pacific.
U.S. Nuclear Arms Control
Let me begin by providing a brief update of U.S. arms control policy, taking stock of where we left things at the end of 2014.
Last December, my boss – Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller – attended the Prague Agenda 2014 Conference where she reiterated U.S. commitment to achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. We continue to pursue nuclear disarmament and we will keep faith with our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, prominent among them, Article VI.
Our responsible approach to disarmament has borne fruit in the form of major reductions in nuclear weapons, fissile material stocks, and infrastructure. These efforts have led us to reduce our nuclear arsenal by approximately 85% from its Cold War peak. In real numbers, that means we have gone from 31,255 nuclear weapons in our active stockpile in 1967 to 4,804 in 2013. Through our Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and follow-on study, we have reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy. Additionally, it is the policy of the United States to not develop new nuclear warheads.
We want to do more.
As we consider future reductions, our focus must be on achievable and verifiable measures that all interested parties – both nuclear and non-nuclear states – can trust. Our past experience – both successes and shortcomings – must inform our next steps if we if we are to succeed in forming an irreversible path towards nuclear disarmament.
In December, I attended the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) with Ambassador Adam Scheinman. The potential human toll of nuclear weapons use drives our daily efforts to combat the threat of nuclear weapons – from ensuring that countries with nuclear weapons reduce and eliminate them, nations that don’t have nuclear weapons never acquire them, and that such weapons never fall into the hands of extremists bent on causing colossal destruction.
The Vienna Conference reaffirmed the growing political resolve to pursue a practical disarmament agenda. We know there are voices out there calling for the negotiation of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The United States cannot and will not support such efforts. A divisive, amorphous nuclear weapons convention or the false hope of a fixed timeline for the elimination of all nuclear weapons will not result in the actual elimination of nuclear weapons.
What can help us achieve our shared goal is the creation of verification and monitoring tools. Verification will become increasingly complex at lower numbers of nuclear weapons, while requirements for accurately determining compliance will dramatically increase. That is why next month, the United States will host the first meeting of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification in Washington, DC. The goal of this partnership between experts from both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states is to better understand the technical problems of verifying nuclear disarmament agreements, and to develop solutions.
The United States is committed to a practical and responsible pursuit of our disarmament goals, and we are grateful to have a partner in Japan who shares these goals. We cannot and will not accept a world that remains forever under the shadow of nuclear war or nuclear terror. Therefore, the United States has been striving, and will continue to work, to create the conditions for such a world with the aid of the various tools, treaties and agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.
Extended Deterrence and Security Alliances
That said, we must acknowledge that not every nation is ready or willing to pursue serious arms control and nonproliferation efforts.
We are seeing new and enduring pressures on the NPT – pressures that threaten global stability. We are seeing a few nations turn away from cooperation, turn away from the common good of nonproliferation efforts, and cling ever more tightly to their nuclear arsenals.
As we work to get those nations to accept their own global and ethical responsibilities, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal.
Our commitment to the security of Japan will not waiver.
The United States remains fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves, Japan, and the peace and security of the region, with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces.
As the United States considers arms control and nonproliferation priorities, we will continue to consult closely with our allies and partners every step of the way. This Administration has placed the utmost importance on strengthening our relationships with allies. We recognize the need to continue to promote and deepen our extended deterrence dialogues and to enhance our alliance in wide-ranging areas of common interest in order to address the changing security environment.
A central component of this effort is the work we do with Japan through the Extended Deterrence Dialogue. In fact, I was here in Japan this past week to attend this bilateral dialogue. I have had the privilege of co-chairing these extended deterrence dialogues for a couple of years now, and I can personally attest to how these discussions have strengthened our bilateral security alliance. These dialogues have enabled candid exchanges on our respective nations’ views and concerns about deterrence and the challenges of the 21st century.
With regards to trilateral cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the ROK, I would like to emphasize what Assistant Secretary Frank Rose said a few weeks ago while he was in Seoul: Developing an interoperable regional missile defense architecture is an important future area of focus in light of the increasing nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea. We believe that future trilateral cooperation between the United States, the ROK, and Japan can positively impact our deterrence efforts against North Korean aggression and send a powerful message of deterrence to the DPRK. I would also add how pleased we are with the recent signing of the Trilateral Information-Sharing Arrangement among our respective defense establishments. We look forward to building on this success, and to broadening and deepening trilateral cooperation with our two strongest allies in Northeast Asia.
The United States has made clear that we are prepared to engage Russia on the full range of issues affecting strategic stability and that there are real and meaningful steps we should be taking towards a more predictable, safer security environment. Given that the United States and Russia continue to possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, we have a special responsibility to do so.
In June 2013 in Berlin, President Obama stated U.S. willingness to negotiate a reduction of up to one-third of our deployed strategic nuclear weapons from the level established in the New START Treaty. Progress, of course, requires a willing partner and a conducive strategic environment.
With specific regard to the Russian INF violation, we will continue engaging the Russian government to resolve U.S. concerns. The INF Treaty benefits the security of the United States, our allies and the Russian Federation. The United States is committed to returning Russia to compliance to ensure the continued viability of the Treaty. We are also consulting with Allies and reviewing a range of appropriate options should Russia persist in its violation.
Despite our serious concerns about Russia’s compliance with the INF Treaty, New START has proven durable and continues to enhance security and strategic stability between the United States and Russia. Both nations are now faithfully implementing the Treaty, including its onsite inspection regime. Current tensions with the Russian Federation highlight the value of the verification regime and the important confidence that is provided by data exchanges and on-site inspections under the Treaty, as well as the security and predictability provided by verifiable mutual limits on strategic weapons.
Despite these security challenges, the United States has no intention of diverting from our active efforts to reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons, increase confidence and transparency, strengthen regional defense architectures, prevent proliferation, and address compliance challenges. We will do so pursing all available and practical avenues.
Let me stop there to allow time for questions. Thank you again for your kind invitation, and I look forward to our discussion.