Aug 1, 2022 - World

UN chief says humanity is "one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation"

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to the media at the start of the 10th annual review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at UN headquarters on Aug. 1. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The world is in a state of nuclear danger "not seen since the height of the Cold War," UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday.

Driving the news: Guterres, speaking at the 10th review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), urged countries to diminish nuclear stockpiles and reinforce the norm against the use of nuclear weapons.

  • The goal of the NPT, which first entered into force in 1970, is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

What he's saying: "Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," Guterres said.

  • "The clouds that parted following the end of the Cold War are gathering once more," he said. "We have been extraordinarily lucky so far, but luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict.
  • "States are seeking false security in stockpiling and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on doomsday weapons that have no place on our planet," he added, noting that almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are currently held in arsenals around the world.
  • "Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used," Guterres said.

The big picture: Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has increased tensions between the U.S. and its former Cold War foe — both of which have nuclear weapons.

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