Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Ratified

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) is a treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, opened for signature on July 1, 1968.

There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People's Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council).

Only four recognized sovereign states are not parties to the treaty: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea. India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons. Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its own nuclear weapons program. North Korea acceded to the treaty, violated it, and withdrew it in 2003.

The treaty was proposed by Ireland and Finland and they were the first to sign.

The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although the concept of "pillars" appears nowhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as a three pillar system, with an implicit balance among them:

1. non-proliferation,
2. disarmament, and
3. the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.[1]

The treaty is reviewed each five years in meetings called Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In addition, Sessions of the Preparatory Commitee for the Review Conference take place on the intermediate years.

Even though the treaty was originally conceived with a limited duration of 25 years, the signing parties decided by consensus to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions during the Review Conference in New York City on May 11, 1995.

Unless there is substantial progress – evidence in the nuclear disarmament field – we are going to have very serious erosion of the confidence of states parties to the Treaty. This could be quite dangerous for the future, and so I would hope that the nuclear-weapon states in particular and the other supporters of the indefinite extension of the Treaty . . . would bear this in mind and work together with other states parties to ensure that the objectives of the Treaty are fulfilled, and soon.”

— Jayanatha Dhanapala, President of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference