Posted: 15th June 2021
Please find today’s press round up below. Thank you to all for their continued help and support.
SIPRI has published its estimates of trends in global nuclear weapons today.
Global Nuclear Weapons
The Stockhom International Peace Research Institute has published its annual Year Book today, which estimates that global stockpiles of nuclear weapons stood at 13,080 at the start of 2021. By their calculation, this is a slight decrease from the equivalent 2020 figure. While the U.S. and Russia are expected to stay stagnant, increases from the UK and China are expected to boost the figure in the coming year.
China has responded to the fallout from the NATO summit.
China and NATO
The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration regards the Brussels NATO summit as a major victory in its policy of getting a more confrontational approach from the alliance towards China. In a press conference in London yesterday, the President had tried to frame the coming contests of the twenty-first century as between liberal democracies and autocracies. Biden also declared that, after four years of Donald Trump, the U.S. ‘was back’.
China has condemned what it sees as belligerent rhetoric from NATO, according to the Guardian. In a statement issued yesterday, the NATO countries said that ‘China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security’. In response, the Chinese Mission to the European Union said that ‘the number of Chinese nuclear weapons is by no means in the same league with NATO member states such as the United States. According to think tanks from Sweden and the US, NATO member states have nearly 20 times more nuclear warheads than China’. (Its full statement can be found here.)China had also come under the spotlight at the G7 on issues like Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Activists have blockaded the Birmingham factory of a company involved in both Grenfell Tower and supplying arms to Israel whilst Biden and Putin prepare for their meeting tomorrow.
UK Arms Trade with Israel
Palestine Action protestors have occupied the Birmingham site of the firm Arconic, which made the inflammable cladding on Grenfell Tower as well as parts for the Israeli air force’s fleet. The Morning Star reports that the activists have pledged to remain on the roof till forcibly removed.
Al Jazeera looks at what both sides might aiming at ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin. The U.S. apparently first began working for the bilateral talks in April, the same point at which Russian diplomats were being expelled over accusations of electoral interference. Topics under discussion are likely to include cyber-hacking activity, electoral interference, Ukraine and Alexei Navalny. Prominent Russianist Richard Sakwa says that both sides might be open to further arms controls talks, after the revival of the New START earlier this year.