UN Chief Warns of Dangerous Nuclear Rhetoric

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a single misunderstanding could be catastrophic.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a single misunderstanding could be catastrophic.

Earlier this week, the United Nations held a conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a 50-year-old treaty intended to slow and eventually halt the proliferation of nuclear weaponry throughout the world. The meeting has been on the backburner for several years, as the representatives couldn’t meet due to COVID-19 concerns.

During the conference, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a stern warning to the world’s representatives about the escalation of nuclear rhetoric, citing nuclear threats from countries like Russia, China, and Iran. Guterres stressed that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”

Guterres said that the conference comes at an extremely important time, as international relations have been strained by a variety of factors like supply chain interruptions, pandemic disagreements, and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said that the conference is “an opportunity to hammer out the measures that will help avoid certain disaster, and to put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Guterres warned that countries are amassing nuclear weaponry at previously unprecedented rates, with an estimated 13,000 nuclear warheads held by the world’s powers. “All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening,” he said, “And when crises — with nuclear undertones — are festering from the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and to many other factors around the world.”

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