‘Nuclear arms race is threatening World’

Foreign Desk Report

NEW YORK: The U.N. disarmament chief warned Wednesday that the specter of an unbridled nuclear arms race is threatening the world for the first time since the 1970s, the height of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Izumi Nakamitsu didn’t name any countries but she was clearly referring to the United States and Russia, and possibly China, when she told the U.N. Security Council that “relationships between states — especially nuclear-weapon states — are fractured.”
“So-called great power competition is the order of the day,” Nakamitsu said. “Division, distrust and a dearth of dialogue are increasingly the norm.”
Russia-U.S. relations have been at post-Cold War lows since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
Last year, Russia and the U.S. both withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the U.S. saying it pulled out because of Russian violations and the Kremlin denying breaching the treaty’s terms. Russia has said the U.S. also appears reluctant to extend the New START treaty, the only treaty governing the number of strategic nuclear weapons deployed by the two countries, which expires in 2021.
Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper touted a multibillion-dollar plan for a top-to-bottom modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal to keep up with Russia and outpace China. In late December, Russia’s defense minister reported to President Vladimir Putin that a new intercontinental weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound had become operational, bolstering the country’s nuclear strike capability.