The news comes as major global superpowers increase their rhetoric surrounding nuclear proliferation, with Moscow continually threatening the use of such weapons in regular state TV broadcasts. Russia has also announced it is to increase its naval nuclear capability with hypersonic missiles set to be delivered within several months according to a report published by Express.co.uk.
The UN chief issued the dire warning during a conference of signatory members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which came into force in 1970.
Referring to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Mr Guterres said global tensions have not been witnessed at such as a scale for decades and stated the world is in “a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, although not present at the meeting, issued a written statement to participants.
It read: “We proceed from the fact that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community.”
Fellow signatory member, Iran has also stated it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon, insisting its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
The Head of Iran’s nuclear programme, Mohammed Eslami, said that although Iran possesses the technology and expertise needed to build a nuclear weapon, “such a programme is not on the agenda.”
China appears to be expanding its nuclear facilities following the revelation of a new nuclear test site according to recently released satellite photos.
The site at Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region appears to have been reactivated following a hiatus of 25 years.
The images reveal excavation work of a new tunnel in a mountain, along with unpaved white roads that coming from a command post at the Lop Nur nuclear test site.
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Yet the largest threat comes from fears the US and Russia could engage with each other over the Ukraine war.
According to Dave DeCamp from Antiwar: “The chances of such a conflict are heightened as the US and its NATO allies are funding a war in Ukraine on Russia’s border and are shipping billions of dollars worth of weapons into the war zone.”
The US has also inflamed tension with China over the ongoing status of Taiwan, and security in the Indo-Pacific region, in particular with the announcement of the AUKUS deal which will see nuclear-powered submarines produced in the region.
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Last week, British National Security Advisor Stephen Lovegrove warned that the risk of nuclear war was higher today than during the Cold War due to the lack of communication the West has with Russia and China.
He said during the Cold War, there was an “understanding of the Soviet doctrine and capabilities — and vice versa because they kept more negotiation channels open.
“This gave us both a higher level of confidence that we would not miscalculate our way into nuclear war.”
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