The goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons is strongly challenged by the actions of the three states that are outside the NPT (Israel, India and Pakistan), by the withdrawal from the treaty of North Korea and by the risks posed by Iran’s developing nuclear programme. These challenges can be grouped into three regional settings – South Asia, Northeast
Asia and the Middle East – and need to be addressed in the
context of political and security conditions within those regions. Ultimately, each regional challenge will need to be solved to reach the goal of nuclear zero, but it is not necessary to defer or postpone progress on global disarmament until the regional challenges are fully resolved. Both processes, regional and global, can proceed simultaneously. Progress in one arena will likely encourage progress in the other. The enhanced global cooperation that is needed to move towards general disarmament will help to reduce tensions in the regional settings, and
vice versa. Improved security cooperation in the Middle East
and in South and East Asia will make it easier for the nuclear-
weapons states to feel secure in reducing and ending their reliance on nuclear deterrence.