Participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Signed and ratified Acceded or succeeded Unrecognized state, abiding by treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) is a treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, opened for signature on July 1, 1968. There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People's Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council).
Only four recognized sovereign states are not parties to the treaty: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea. India and Pakistan both possess and have openly tested nuclear bombs. Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its own nuclear weapons program. North Korea acceded to the treaty, violated it, and later withdrew.
The treaty was proposed by Ireland, and Finland was the first to sign. The signing parties decided by consensus to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions upon meeting in New York City on May 11, 1995. The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although the concept of "pillars" appears nowhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as having three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
Five states are recognized by the NPT as nuclear weapon states (NWS): France (signed 1992), the People's Republic of China (1992), the Soviet Union (1968; obligations and rights now assumed by Russia), the United Kingdom (1968), and the United States (1968) (The U.S., UK, and Soviet Union were the only states openly possessing such weapons among the original ratifiers of the treaty, which entered into force in 1970). These five nations are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. These five NWS agree not to transfer "nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices" and "not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce" a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS) to acquire nuclear weapons (Article I). NNWS parties to the NPT agree not to "receive," "manufacture" or "acquire" nuclear weapons or to "seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons" (Article II). NNWS parties also agree to accept safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that they are not diverting nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (Article III). This has been cited as a major issue in the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement as India has not offered unrestricted access to its nuclear facilities.
The five NWS parties have made undertakings not to use their nuclear weapons against a non-NWS party except in response to a nuclear attack, or a conventional attack in alliance with a Nuclear Weapons State. However, these undertakings have not been incorporated formally into the treaty, and the exact details have varied over time. The U.S. also had nuclear warheads targeted at North Korea, a non-NWS state, from 1959 until 1991. The previous United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, has also explicitly invoked the possibility of the use of the country's nuclear weapons in response to a non-conventional attack by "rogue states". In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac of France indicated that an incident of state-sponsored terrorism on France could trigger a small-scale nuclear retaliation aimed at destroying the "rogue state's" power centers.
The NPT's preamble contains language affirming the desire of treaty signatories to ease international tension and strengthen international trust so as to create someday the conditions for a halt to the production of nuclear weapons, and treaty on general and complete disarmament that liquidates, in particular, nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles from national arsenals. The NPT's Article VI elaborates on the preamble's language, urging all State Parties to the NPT, both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
On the one hand, the wording of Article VI arguably imposes only a vague obligation on all NPT signatories to move in the general direction of nuclear and total disarmament, saying, "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament." Under this interpretation, Article VI does not strictly require all signatories to actually conclude a disarmament treaty. Rather, it only requires them "to negotiate in good faith."
On the other hand, some governments, especially non-nuclear-weapon states belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement, have interpreted Article VI's language as being anything but vague. In their view, Article VI constitutes a formal and specific obligation on the NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states to disarm themselves of nuclear weapons, and argue that these states have failed to meet their obligation. Some government delegations to the Conference on Disarmament have tabled proposals for a complete and universal disarmament, but no disarmament treaty has emerged from these proposals[footnote needed]. Critics of the NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states sometimes argue that what they view as the failure of the NPT-recognized nuclear weapon states to disarm themselves of nuclear weapons, especially in the post-Cold War era, has angered some non-nuclear-weapon NPT signatories of the NPT. Such failure, these critics add, provides justification for the non-nuclear-weapon signatories to quit the NPT and develop their own nuclear arsenals.
Peter Pella (Gettysburg College), a former William Foster Fellow who worked with the Arms Control Disarmament Agency on the NPT, maintained that countries will pursue nuclear disarmament as a goal only if they feel it is in their national interests to do so, and that the permanence of NPT along with other measures will enhance security and speed up the disarmament process.
Since very few of the nuclear weapons states and states using nuclear reactors for energy generation are willing to completely abandon possession of nuclear fuel, the third pillar of the NPT under Article IV provides other states with the possibility to do the same, but under conditions intended to make it difficult to develop nuclear weapons.
The treaty recognizes the inalienable right of sovereign states to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but restricts this right for NPT parties to be exercised "in conformity with Articles I and II" (the basic nonproliferation obligations that constitute the "first pillar" of the Treaty). As the commercially popular light water reactor nuclear power station uses enriched uranium fuel, it follows that states must be able either to enrich uranium or purchase it on an international market. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has called the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities the "Achilles' heel" of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. As of 2007 13 states have an enrichment capability.
Countries that have signed the treaty as Non-Nuclear Weapons States and maintained that status have an unbroken record of not building nuclear weapons. However, Iraq was cited by the IAEA and sanctioned by the UN Security Council for violating its NPT safeguards obligations; North Korea never came into compliance with its NPT safeguards agreement and was cited repeatedly for these violations, and later withdrew from the NPT and tested a nuclear device; Iran violated its NPT safeguards obligations by pursuing a clandestine enrichment program for nearly two decades; and Libya pursued a clandestine nuclear weapons program before abandoning it in December 2003. In 1991 Romania reported previously undeclared nuclear activities by the former regime and the IAEA reported this non-compliance to the Security Council for information only. In some regions, the fact that all neighbors are verifiably free of nuclear weapons reduces any pressure individual states might feel to build those weapons themselves, even if neighbors are known to have peaceful nuclear energy programs that might otherwise be suspicious. In this, the treaty works as designed.
Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said that by some estimates thirty-five to forty states could have the knowledge to acquire nuclear weapons.
Article I: Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.
Article II: Each non-NWS party undertakes not to receive, from any source, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices; not to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices; and not to receive any assistance in their manufacture.
Article III: Each non-NWS party undertakes to conclude an agreement with the IAEA for the application of its safeguards to all nuclear material in all of the state's peaceful nuclear activities and to prevent diversion of such material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Article IV: 1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
Article VI. The states undertake to pursue "negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament", and towards a "Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".
Article X. Establishes the right to withdraw from the Treaty giving 3 months' notice. It also establishes the duration of the Treaty (25 years before 1995 Extension Initiative).
See also: Nuclear proliferation
The impetus behind the NPT was concern for the safety of a world with many nuclear weapon states. It was recognized that the cold war deterrent relationship between just the United States and Soviet Union was fragile. More nuclear players reduced security for all, multiplying the risks of miscalculation, accident or unauthorized use, or through the escalation of a small nuclear conflict.
The NPT process was launched by Frank Aiken, Irish Minister for External Affairs, in 1958. It was opened for signature in 1968, with Finland the first State to sign. By 1992 all five then-declared nuclear powers had signed the treaty, and the treaty was renewed in 1995 (and followed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996). Several NPT signatories have given up nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons programs. South Africa undertook a nuclear weapons program, allegedly with the assistance of Israel in the 1970s, and may have conducted a nuclear test in the Atlantic ocean in 1979, but has since renounced its nuclear program and signed the treaty in 1991 after destroying its small nuclear arsenal. Several former Soviet Republics destroyed or transferred to Russia the nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet Union.
Main article: Nuclear sharing
At the time the treaty was being negotiated, NATO had in place secret nuclear weapons sharing agreements whereby the United States provided nuclear weapons to be deployed by, and stored in, other NATO states. Some argue this is an act of proliferation violating Articles I and II of the treaty. A counter-argument is that the U.S. controlled the weapons in storage within the NATO states, and that no transfer of the weapons or control over them was intended "unless and until a decision were made to go to war, at which the treaty would no longer be controlling", so there is no breach of the NPT. These agreements were disclosed to a few of the states, including the Soviet Union, negotiating the treaty, but most of the states that signed the NPT in 1968 would not have known about these agreements and interpretations at that time .
As of 2005, it is estimated that the United States still provides about 180 tactical B61 nuclear bombs for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey under these NATO agreements . Many states, and the Non-Aligned Movement, now argue this violates Articles I and II of the treaty, and are applying diplomatic pressure to terminate these agreements. They point out that the pilots and other staff of the "non-nuclear" NATO states practice handling and delivering the U.S. nuclear bombs, and non-U.S. warplanes have been adapted to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs which must have involved the transfer of some technical nuclear weapons information. NATO believes its "nuclear forces continue to play an essential role in war prevention, but their role is now more fundamentally political". 
See also: India and WMD, Israel and WMD, and Pakistan and WMD
Three states—India, Israel, and Pakistan—have declined to sign the treaty. India and Pakistan are confirmed nuclear powers, and Israel has a long-standing policy of deliberate ambiguity (see List of countries with nuclear weapons). These countries argue that the NPT creates a club of "nuclear haves" and a larger group of "nuclear have-nots" by restricting the legal possession of nuclear weapons to those states that tested them before 1967, but the treaty never explains on what ethical grounds such a distinction is valid.
India and Pakistan have publicly announced possession of nuclear weapons and have detonated nuclear devices in tests, India having first done so in 1974 and Pakistan following suit in 1998 in response to another Indian test. India is estimated to have enough fissile material for more than 150 warheads. Pakistan reportedly has between 80 and 120 warheads according to the former head of its strategic arms division.India is one of the few countries to have a no first use policy, a pledge not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. The main reason India cites for not signing the NPT and for possessing nuclear weapons is that China is one of the "nuclear haves." China and India have a longstanding border dispute, including a border war in 1962.
According to leaked intelligence, Israel has been developing nuclear weapons at its Dimona site in the Negev since 1958, and many nonproliferation analysts like David Albright estimate that Israel may have stockpiled between 100 to 200 warheads using the plutonium reprocessed from Dimona. The Israeli government refuses to confirm or deny possession of nuclear weapons, although this is now regarded as an open secret after Israeli low level nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu—allegedly later abducted and jailed by Israel—revealed the program to the British Sunday Times in 1986.
In early March of 2006, India and the United States finalized a deal, having critics in both countries, to provide India with US civilian nuclear technology. Proponents of the deal note that India will now classify 14 of its 22 nuclear facilities as being for civilian use, and thus open to inspection. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the IAEA at the time, welcomed the deal by calling India "an important partner in the non-proliferation regime".
However, attempts by Pakistan to reach a similar agreement have been rebuffed by the U.S. as well as the international community. The argument put forth is that not only does Pakistan lack the same energy requirements but that the track record of Pakistan as a nuclear proliferator makes it impossible for it to have any sort of nuclear deal in the near future. 
In December 2006, United States Congress approved the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act that was cemented during President Bush's visit to India earlier in the year. The legislation allows for the transfer of civilian nuclear material to India. Despite its status outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India was granted these transactions on the basis of its clean proliferation record, and India's unusually high need for energy fueled by its rapid industrialization and a billion-plus population.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Guidelines currently rule out nuclear exports by all major suppliers with very narrow exceptions for India, Pakistan, and Israel, since none of the three has full-scope IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities. The NSG is prepared to consider a broad exception for India, but is awaiting the conclusion of negotiations on an agreement for cooperation between the United States and India and a safeguards agreement between India and the IAEA before making a decision on such an exception. Several countries, including France, Russia and Australia, are discussing possible nuclear cooperation with India in case of such an exception to the NSG Guidelines.
On August 1, 2008, the IAEA approved the India Safeguards Agreement. The Nuclear Suppliers Group met on August 21-22 2008 to consider a draft waiver of export guidelines that would otherwise prohibit trading nuclear materials with non-NPT members. The meeting was inconclusive due to strong reservations from few NSG member countries, including New Zealand, Ireland, and Austria
See also: North Korea and weapons of mass destruction, 2006 North Korean nuclear test, and Six-party talks
North Korea ratified the treaty on December 12, 1985, but gave notice of withdrawal from the treaty on January 10, 2003 following U.S. allegations that it had started an illegal enriched uranium weapons program, and the U.S. subsequently stopping fuel oil shipments under the Agreed Framework which had resolved plutonium weapons issues in 1994 . The withdrawal became effective April 10, 2003 making North Korea the first state ever to withdraw from the treaty. North Korea had once before announced withdrawal, on March 12, 1993, but suspended that notice before it came into effect.
On February 10, 2005, North Korea publicly declared that it possessed nuclear weapons and pulled out of the six-party talks hosted by China to find a diplomatic solution to the issue. "We had already taken the resolute action of pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and have manufactured nuclear arms for self-defence to cope with the Bush administration's evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]," a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement said regarding the issue. Six-party talks resumed in July 2005.
On September 19, 2005, North Korea announced that it would agree to a preliminary accord. Under the accord, North Korea would scrap all of its existing nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities, rejoin the NPT, and readmit IAEA inspectors. The difficult issue of the supply of light water reactors to replace North Korea's indigenous nuclear power plant program, as per the 1994 Agreed Framework, was left to be resolved in future discussions. On the next day North Korea reiterated its known view that until it is supplied with a light water reactor it will not dismantle its nuclear arsenal or rejoin the NPT .
On October 2, 2006, the North Korean foreign minister announced that his country was planning to conduct a nuclear test "in the future", although it did not state when. On Monday, October 9, 2006 at 01:35:27 (UTC) the United States Geological Survey detected a magnitude 4.2 seismic event 70 km (45 miles) north of Kimchaek, North Korea indicating a nuclear test. The North Korean government announced shortly afterward that they had completed a successful underground test of a nuclear fission device.
In 2007, reports from Washington suggested that the 2002 CIA reports stating that North Korea was developing an enriched uranium weapons program, which led to North Korea leaving the NPT, had overstated or misread the intelligence.
See also: Iran and weapons of mass destruction and Nuclear program of Iran
Iran is a signatory state of the NPT and has recently (as of 2006) resumed development of a uranium enrichment program. Iran states its enrichment program is part of its civilian nuclear energy program, which is permitted under Article IV of the NPT. In 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors found Iran in noncompliance with its NPT safeguards agreement in an unusual non-consensus decision, after which the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment.
In November 2003 IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that Iran had repeatedly and over an extended period failed to meet with its safeguards obligations, including by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program. After about two years of EU3-led diplomatic efforts and Iran temporarily suspending its enrichment program, the IAEA Board of Governors, acting under Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute, found in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions that these failures constituted non-compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement. Iran resumed its enrichment program after being referred to the Security Council.The United States concluded on this basis that Iran violated its Article III NPT safeguards obligations, and further argued based on circumstantial evidence that Iran's enrichment program was for weapons purposes and therefore violated Iran's Article II nonproliferation obligations. The November 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) later concluded that Iran had halted an active nuclear weapons program in fall 2003 and that it had remained halted as of mid-2007. Iran states it has a legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the NPT, and further says that it "has constantly complied with its obligations under the NPT and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency".
The IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, and is continuing its work on verifying the absence of undeclared activities. As recently as October 2007, IAEA Director General ElBaradei reported that IAEA inspections had not found any evidence that Iran was making nuclear weapons.  Russia further said in November 2007 that it had not seen any evidence of Iran trying to build a nuclear weapon. In February 2008, the IAEA reported that all declared nuclear material remained accounted for. However, the IAEA also reported that it was working to address "alleged studies" of weaponization, based on documents provided by certain Member States, which those states claimed originated from Iran. Iran rejected the allegations as "baseless" and the documents as "fabrications." In May 2008, the IAEA reported that these alleged studies remained "a matter of serious concern" and requests for clarification from Iran remained outstanding. The IAEA further reported that it had "not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies" and that Iran had agreed to address the alleged studies.
The Non-Aligned Movement has welcomed the continuing cooperation of Iran with the IAEA and reaffirmed Iran's right to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the continued dialogue between Iran and the IAEA, and has called for a peaceful resolution to the issue.
See also: South Africa and weapons of mass destruction
South Africa also deserves a special mention as the only country that developed nuclear weapons by itself and later dismantled them - unlike the former Soviet states Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which inherited nuclear weapons from the former USSR), which also acceded to the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states.
During the days of apartheid, the white South African government developed a deep fear of both a black uprising and the threat of communism. This led to the development of a secret nuclear weapons program as an ultimate deterrent. South Africa has a large supply of uranium, which is mined in the country's gold mines. The government built a nuclear research facility at Pelindaba near Pretoria where uranium was enriched to fuel grade for the nuclear power plant at Koeberg as well as weapon grade for bomb production.
In 1991, after international pressure and when a change of government was imminent, South African Ambassador to the United States Harry Schwarz signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1993, the then president Frederik Willem de Klerk openly admitted that the country had developed a limited nuclear weapon capability. These weapons were subsequently dismantled prior to accession to the NPT. South Africa then opened itself up to IAEA for inspection. In 1994 the IAEA completed its work and declared that the country had fully dismantled its nuclear weapons program.
Libya signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in October of 2003 was caught in violation of it when the United States intercepted the illegal transport of Pakistani-designed centrifuge parts sent from Malaysia as part of A. Q. Khan's proliferation ring. Libya then admitted to possessing an illegal nuclear weapons program in violation of the treaty and simultaneously announced its intention to end it and dismantle all existing weapons of mass destruction to be verified by unconditional inspections.
Article X allows a state to leave the treaty if "extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country", giving three months' (ninety days') notice. The state is required to give reasons for leaving the NPT in this notice.
NATO states argue that when there is a state of "general war" the treaty no longer applies, effectively allowing the states involved to leave the treaty with no notice. This is a necessary argument to support the NATO nuclear weapons sharing policy, but a troubling one for the logic of the treaty. NATO's argument is based on the phrase "the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war" in the treaty preamble, inserted at the behest of U.S. diplomats, arguing that the treaty would at that point have failed to fulfill its function of prohibiting a general war and thus no longer be binding. Many states do not accept this argument. See United States-NATO nuclear weapons sharing above.
North Korea has also caused an uproar by its use of this provision of the treaty. Article X.1 only requires a state to give three months' notice in total, and does not provide for other states to question a state's interpretation of "supreme interests of its country". In 1993, North Korea gave notice to withdraw from the NPT. However, after 89 days, North Korea reached agreement with the United States to freeze its nuclear program under the Agreed Framework and "suspended" its withdrawal notice. In October 2002, the United States accused North Korea of violating the Agreed Framework by pursuing a secret uranium enrichment program, and suspended shipments of heavy fuel oil under that agreement. In response, North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors, disabled IAEA equipment, and, on January 10, 2003, announced that it was ending the suspension of its previous NPT withdrawal notification. North Korea said that only one more day's notice was sufficient for withdrawal from the NPT, as it had given 89 days before. The IAEA Board of Governors rejected this interpretation.. Most countries held that a new three-months withdrawal notice was required, and some questioned whether North Korea's notification met the "extraordinary events" and "supreme interests" requirements of the Treaty. The Joint Statement of September 19, 2005 at the end of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks called for North Korea to "return" to the NPT, implicitly acknowledging that it had withdrawn.
The inclusion of (civilian) nuclear power in the July 2005 Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate is politically sensitive, as India, which tested its first atomic bomb in 1974, refuses to sign the NPT. Prior to the announcement of the Asia-Pacific Partnership, on 18 July 2005, US President George W. Bush had met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and declared that he would work to change US law and international rules to permit trade in US civilian nuclear technology with India.  Some, such as British columnist George Monbiot, argue that the U.S.-India nuclear deal, in combination with US attempts to deny Iran (an NPT signatory) civilian nuclear fuel-making technology, may destroy the NPT regime, while others contend that such a move will likely bring India, an NPT non-signatory, under closer international scrutiny.
Every five years, there is a Review Conference on the treaty. At the seventh Review Conference in May 2005, there were stark differences between the United States, which wanted the conference to focus on proliferation, especially on its allegations against Iran, and most other countries, who emphasized the lack of serious nuclear disarmament by the nuclear powers. The non-aligned countries reiterated their position that NATO's nuclear sharing arrangement violates the treaty.
Gamal Abdel Nasser once said "basically they did whatever they wanted to do before the introduction of NPT and then devised it to prevent others from doing what they had themselves been doing before". In addition, some argue that the NWS have not fully complied, in practice, with their commitments mentioned in NPT. Article VI of the treaty requires NPT parties to "pursue negotiations" on an end to the arms race, nuclear disarmament and total and complete towards disarmament. Yet thousands of nuclear weapons remain, some on high alert, long after the end of the cold war. In January 2002, a report by the Defense Department following the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review recommended the development of nuclear weapons designed to destroy hardened and deeply-buried targets, but the resulting Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator never gained full Congressional support and was canceled in 2005. The representative of Ghana, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group said disarmament and non-proliferation were complementary and mutually reinforcing and that, "Without tangible progress in disarmament, the current emphasis on non-proliferation cannot be sustained."
The United States responds to criticism of its disarmament record by pointing out that since the end of the Cold War it has eliminated over 13,000 nuclear weapons and eliminated over 80% of its deployed strategic warheads and 90% of non-strategic warheads deployed to NATO, in the processing eliminating whole categories of warheads and delivery systems and reducing its reliance on nuclear weapons. The U.S. Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation agreed that that nonproliferation and disarmament are linked, that they can be mutually reinforcing but also that growing proliferation risks create an environment that makes disarmament more difficult. The United Kingdom,, France  and Russia  likewise defend their nuclear disarmament records, and the five NPT NWS issue a joint statement in 2008 reaffirming their Article VI disarmament commitments.
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named