EDITORIAL

Backing up nuclear disarmament

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Science  11 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6389, pp. 581
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0693

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Summary

Who could have imagined the possibility of an inter-Korean Summit this year, let alone one between the United States and North Korea? Recent news that North Korea may suspend nuclear tests and dismantle its test site is a startling about-face, given the country's multitude of missile and nuclear weapons tests over the past decade. Those incidents increased tensions at a time when questions were being raised about the instruments, approaches, and mechanisms that nations collectively strive to use to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. At the end of this month, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will convene a symposium in Vienna to emphasize what brings real security to the world—negotiated agreements that are effectively verifiable and credibly enforceable. These include the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The issue is not whether such current institutions and instruments are failing, but rather, preserving their integrity and building further trust in and around them.