Preparatory Committee for NPT Review Conference: U.S. submits report on disarmament

Declares possession of 4,804 nuclear warheads

China avoids disclosure

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

New York – The nuclear weapons states have submitted reports on their disarmament efforts to the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) being held at United Nations headquarters here. While the United States and other nuclear powers disclosed the sizes of their arsenals, China, noted for its recent military buildup, avoided revealing the number of warheads it possesses.

The submission of disarmament reports by the five nuclear powers allowed to possess nuclear weapons under the NPT was included in the final statement agreed upon at the previous review conference in 2010. The five nations adopted a standardized form in prior discussions. It includes 14 items such as “Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Arms Control (including Nuclear Disarmament) and Verification” and “Transparency and Confidence-building Measures.”

According to the reports prepared by the nuclear weapons states, as of the end of September 2013, the U.S. had 4,804 nuclear warheads (excluding those awaiting dismantling). This represents a decline of 309 from four years ago and a cut of about 85 percent from the peak in 1967, highlighting the results of the nation’s disarmament efforts.

The United Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal, which peaked at more than 400 warheads in the late 1970s, has declined to fewer than 225 today. The report reiterated the view that the nation will cut its nuclear arsenal to fewer than 180 warheads by the 2020s.

While advocating declarations of no first use of nuclear weapons, China’s report simply stated that the number of its nuclear warheads was “limited to the minimum level required for national security.”

(Originally published on May 1, 2014)