Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | June 14, 2018

Global Body Questions Kim Site Demolition



In an Deutsche Presse-Agentur interview, reported by SBS News, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, Lassina Zerbo, provided his insight on the demolition of the Punggye-ri test-site, stating that “International experts should inspect North Korea’s nuclear test site to verify whether the explosions that were carried out at the facility last month really destroyed it for good.”

Zerbo raised concerns with the demolition process of the Punggye-ri test-site, pointing out that, “reporters were allowed to stand only 500 meters away from the explosions, even though the blast should have been big enough to destroy the underground test facility… That’s an indication that the explosion wasn’t that big,” he said. “There is an opportunity still, should any expertise be required, to verify that the sites are indeed not usable.” Furthermore, Zerbo acknowledged that his organisation has not yet received any direct signals from any party on the negotiating table, but stated that “We stand ready” to carry out this work.”

Read the full interview here.


“Getting North Korea to join the CTBT may be a better start than any other proposal on the table,” says Stephen Herzog in a commentary piece for War on the Rocks. Herzog, a Ph.D. Candidate at Yale University and participant from the 2018 Science Diplomacy Symposium, argues that having North Korea ratify the CTBT would build “goodwill” for the DPRK, while serving as a national security win for the US. Indeed, doing so would “establish ties with the CTBTO, which is the most qualified organization to verify its test site dismantlement.”

While North Korea reportedly shut down its nuclear test site on 24 May, “a series of worrisome reports have emerged in the aftermath,” causing speculation over Kim Jong-un’s intentions to denuclearise. In this scenario, “if Kim is serious about the path toward disarmament, verification is sorely needed at the test site. Informal pledges simply will not cut it.” In light of this, Herzog is of the opinion that “of all the options on the table, CTBTO verification of the test site’s closure should be a top priority. It is well-developed, effectively proven, and the most likely way to comprehensively and impartially verify the elimination of a segment of Kim’s nuclear program in the near-term future. If Kim is hiding something at Punggye-ri, the CTBTO will find it.”



Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | June 11, 2018

RFI Debate — Nuclear Issues in Africa


Why is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty still not in force? What’s stopping this treaty, which was adopted in 1996, and already ratified by 153 states from coming into force? Which states refuse to ratify it, and for what reasons? As Africa celebrates 50 years of independence, these types of questions are increasingly far-reaching.

In this debate, Alain Foka of Radio France Internationale (RFI), tackles these questions by hosting the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, Lassina Zerbo, Ambassador Lotfi Bouchaara, the Ambassador of Morocco to Austria, and Michelle Ndiaye, the Director of the Peace and Security Program in Africa (APSP).

To hear these experts analyse the current situation on the African continent vis-a-vis international security, and offer their outlook of nuclear issues on the continent, click here to listen to the full interview in French.


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