World Biden administration reveals number of nuclear weapons in US stockpile
NKorea accuses US of hostility, continues weapons tests
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday accused the United States of hostility and demanded the Biden administration to permanently end joint military exercises with South Korea even as it continued its recent streak of weapons tests apparently aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear diplomacy. North Korean Ambassador Kim Song’s comments on the last day of the U.N. General Assembly came shortly after South Korea’s military said the North fired an unidentified projectile into its eastern waters.
In a reversal from the Trump administration, the State Department revealed the number of nuclear weapons in the US stockpile for the first time in four years on Tuesday.
The US has 3,750 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and 2,000 are waiting to be dismantled, according to a, which emphasized the importance of transparency.
The release of the "Transparency in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile" fact sheet comes as the Biden administration is conducting a review of its nuclear weapons policy and capabilities ahead of a 2022 meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, where the US and other nuclear powers who are party to the Treaty will review each signatory's disarmament commitments.
With Naming of New Atomic Chief, Is a Nuclear Taliban Possible?
"There has been no decision so far on the development of nuclear weapons," one Taliban official told Newsweek on the condition of anonymity. But a number of observers took notice last week when a list of official postings for the Taliban's interim government decreed by Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and shared by the group's spokespersons identified "Engineer Najeebullah" as "Head of Atomic Energy.
"Increasing the transparency of states' nuclear stockpiles is important to nonproliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons, including deployed and non-deployed, and strategic and non-strategic," the State Department said.
Arms control experts welcomed the announcement.
"The Biden administration's decision to declassify updated information on the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is a welcome step that reverses an unwise decision by the Trump administration to classify this information," the Arms Control Association said in a statement Wednesday. "It also puts pressure on other nuclear armed states that maintain excessive secrecy about their arsenals."
'Neglected danger': Nukes not in forefront in speeches at UN
NEW YORK (AP) — It was the Marshall Islands' turn to speak, and the president wanted to remind world leaders of a cause the United Nations has espoused since its founding. “No effort should be spared," President David Kabua told the U.N. General Assembly this month, "to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear risk." It might seem like a must-discuss topic in countries' big speeches at the annual meeting of presidents, prime ministers and other top officials — perhaps especially in a year when a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty take effect, though without participation from nuclear-armed nations.
Video: China acts more aggressive abroad as it cracks down at home (CNN)
The ACA noted that "progress toward serious nuclear weapons stockpile reductions have stalled in recent years, and some states, particularly China and Russia, appear to be increasing the size and/or diversity of their arsenals."
Daryl Kimball, the ACA's executive director, told CNN that Wednesday's announcement could put pressure on Russia and China to be more forthcoming about their stockpiles. The Biden administration hopes to pursue further talks with Moscow to reach new agreements that supersede the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. "To do that we need the Russians to be a little bit more transparent than they are," Kimball said.
The Chinese also "need to provide some basic information, which they have as a matter of their own policies through the decades, not provided."
Why we need a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy
If assumptions that underlie nuclear weapons policy were wrong during the Cold War, time likely hasn't fixed the problem.This move to force out a proponent of new ideas is disappointing because the need for a fundamental, realistic reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy is unmistakable - not because recent policies were obviously flawed, although they do seem to have failed to avert a second nuclear arms race. The problem goes back to the origins of nuclear weapons policy and the peculiar fact-free nature of the field.
'Strong, credible deterrent'
"So what the Biden administration is trying to do here is lead by example," Kimball said, "put some pressure on the other major nuclear armed countries to be more forthcoming about the nuclear weapons they have."
During the, then-candidate Joe Biden that the US doesn't need new nuclear weapons and that his "administration will work to maintain a strong, credible deterrent while reducing our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons."
After Biden's first budget request, however, critics rapped the President for proposing to continue all parts of the spending plans left by the Trump administration, including "the controversial additions made by President Trump to the Obama-era program, such as additional, more usable lower-yield nuclear capabilities," the ACA.
The ACA called Biden's budget request inconsistent with his "stated desire to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy and seek new risk reduction and arms control arrangements with Russia and perhaps China."
US reveals nuclear bomb numbers after Trump blackout
The US State Department published on Tuesday the number of nuclear warheads the country stockpiles for the first time in four years, after former president Donald Trump placed a blackout on the data. As of September 30, 2020, the US military maintained 3,750 active and inactive nuclear warheads, down by 55 from a year earlier and by 72 from the same date in 2017. The figure was also the lowest level since the US nuclear stockpile peaked at the height of the Cold War with Russia in 1967, when the total was 31,255 warheads.
In Tuesday's release, the State Department said there are 3,750 nuclear warheads in the US nuclear stockpile as of September 2020, an 88 percent decrease from its maximum number of 31,255 in 1967, according to the department.
The US also dismantled 11,683 nuclear warheads from 1994 to 2020, including 711 nuclear warheads since September 30, 2017. Two thousand nuclear warheads are retired and waiting to be dismantled, the department also said.
In 2010, the Obama administrationthe US had 5,113 nuclear warheads in the stockpile as of September 30, 2009. , the US had 4,717 nuclear warheads in the stockpile as of September 2014.
This story has been updated with additional details Wednesday.
The AUKUS deal says more about US plans to take on China than Biden will admit .
The AUKUS pact raises serious questions about the future relationship between the United States and most of its European allies. While Australia, Britain, and the United States were negotiating this agreement, they decided to keep Paris in the dark since it involved cancelling France's previous submarine deal with Canberra.French President Emmanuel Macron was so infuriated with what he viewed as deception that he recalled France's ambassadors to both Australia and the United States, escalating the diplomatic rift created by the deal.