HUMANITY is on the brink of “nuclear annihilation” with the threat reaching its highest boiling point in forty years, a top UN chief has warned.
The nuclear arms race has the globe teetering “unacceptably close” to mass atomic destruction, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
He urged nations that have “stockpiled nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons” to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to avoid an international crisis.
It comes as wealthy countries continue to show off a string of advanced destructive arms that could result in catastrophic conflict.
He addressed the issue in a powerful tweet pleading with global powers.
“Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good, eliminate nuclear weapons from our world, and usher in a new era of trust and peace,” he wrote.
The recent alliance formed between the US, UK and Australia has only heightened fears World War Three could erupt.
The United Nations boss previously raised concerns about the likes of China, North Korea and the US, among a string of other countries, not yet endorsing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
“We have remained in this state of limbo for too long”, he said earlier.
Guterres put pressure on nations to take heed of the US and Russia’s decision to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty.
Both states agreed to extend the agreement for five more years back in January, without renegotiating its terms.
It is the only arms control arrangement between two countries that remains in force.
UN Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu echoed Guterres’ fears, suggesting all nuclear powers will soon have to sit down and discuss the control of weapons.
“At some point, if you are really serious about eliminating nuclear weapons, then, of course, all the other nuclear weapon possessing countries will have to come to the table and think about how to go about it”, he told Sputnik.
The global appeal for peace comes as a top Chinese diplomat warned his country to re-examine their promise to only use nukes in retaliation, in response to the new alliances forming in the region.
Beijing’s former ambassador to the UN, Sha Zukang said China must make the first nuclear strike against the US if Joe Biden continues to defend Taiwan.
He said: “The unconditional no first use is not suitable . . . unless China-US negotiations agree that neither side would use [nuclear weapons] first, or the US will no longer take any passive measures to undermine the effectiveness of China’s strategic forces.
“The strategic pressure on China is intensifying as (the US) has built new military alliances and as it increases its military presence in our neighbourhood.”
The threat came ahead of a meeting between the US, India, Japan and Australia – dubbed the Quad, in Washington, host by Joe Biden.
During a meeting of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing last week he said: “The policy not to be the first to use nuclear weapons unconditionally has given China the moral high ground internationally.
“But for some time in the future, the US will see China as its main competitor and even its enemy. Can this policy be re- examined and fine-tuned?”
“A WORLD DIVIDED”
China became a nuclear power in 1964 and adopted the policy four years later.
The country is constructing nearly 300 new nuclear missile silos, while it is thought to possess around 320 nuclear warheads, report the Times.
Additionally, the comments follow the announcement of the Aukus alliance, which has angered China despite the countries leaders did not mention the country’s imposing power – but hinted at their intentions behind the move by discussing “democracy, freedom of navigation, and security.”
Biden said: “We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones, whether through changes to territory by force, economic coercion, technical exploitation or disinformation.
“But we’re not seeking — I’ll say it again — we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”
Meanwhile, tensions have been mounting with China sending fighter jets to Taiwan after the self-governing island announced its intention to join an 11-nation Pacific trade group that Beijing has also applied to join.
Yesterday China sent 19 war planes into Taiwan airspace before sending five more in a second surge later the same day, prompting fears of World War 3.
Taiwan staged chilling biowarfare defence drills amid fears China is creating weaponised coronaviruses.
“The Chinese Communists have continued to invest heavily in national defence budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace,” Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said.
“In the face of severe threats from the enemy, the nation’s military is actively engaged in military building and preparation work, and it is urgent to obtain mature and rapid mass production weapons and equipment in a short period of time.”
Deputy Defence Minister Wang Shin-lung said the new arms would all be made domestically – although the United States will probably remain important parts and technology provider.
Taiwan has been keen to demonstrate it can defend itself, especially amid questions about whether the United States would come to its aid if China attacked.
The weapons Taiwan aims to buy include cruise missiles and warships, the ministry said.
Taiwan has already unveiled a class of highly agile stealth warships, which it refers to as an “aircraft carrier killer”, and it’s also developing its own submarines.