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UN finalizes treaty to ban nuclear weapons

Mary Altaffer / AP

The UN finalized a treaty today that would ban all nuclear weapons, destroy existing weapons, and prohibit their use forever, per NYT. Its negotiation stems in part from some nations' disappointment that the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has not led to disarmament.

Although 130 countries' negotiators participated, none were from the world's nine nuclear-armed countries (U.S., Russia, North Korea, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel.)

The U.S. has called it misguided and reckless, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley noted: "We have to be realistic…Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?"

What's next: Countries will be able to start signing on to the ban September 20 at the annual General Assembly. Disarmament hopefuls want to use evidence of public acceptance to pressure the nine nuclear-armed countries to eventually sign on.