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Nobel award highlights Asia's nuclear challenge

Recognition of activist group is reminder of need to tackle regional nuclear proliferation

| China
ICAN and its supporters need to join other peace movements, civil groups and policymakers to lessen political frictions and threat perceptions.   © Reuters

The award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is a pat on the back for transnational activists striving for a world free of atomic bombs. ICAN's fervent advocacy for the disarmament of the nine countries that together account for 15,000 nuclear bombs and for dissuading wannabe states from acquiring them has kept alive the elusive goal of "Global Zero," which has remained a mission impossible due to strategic compulsions.

The anti-nuclear movement's moral and humanitarian case against the possession and use of atomic weapons runs into a brick wall of geopolitical calculations that have kept alive both vertical proliferation (nuclear weapons states adding more bombs to their existing arsenals) and horizontal proliferation (previously non-nuclear weapon states conducting tests and entering the club).

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