The global number of nuclear warheads dropped last year, but it seems China, India, North Korea, and Pakistan are expanding the size of their atomic arsenals, a Swedish arms watchdog said Thursday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that as of January 2017, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea together had about 14,935 nuclear weapons, down from 15,395 a year earlier. SIPRI listed North Korea as not having any deployed warheads but with 10 to 20 "other warheads" which include "operational warheads held in storage and retired warheads awaiting dismantlement." The watchdog said the North Korean figures were uncertain, reports the AP.
More generally on global security issues, SIPRI noted positive developments such as the entry into force of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, and a United Nations General Assembly resolution to start negotiations in 2017 on eliminating nuclear weapons. But in its view, one issue remains a major challenge to human security: forced displacement. The institute said Africa and the Middle East "together currently host over two-thirds of the world's displaced population," adding the number of people displaced last year has "increased significantly" to more than 60 million. Armed conflicts were the main reason for the displacement crises, SIPRI said in its 48th edition of its annual yearbook. (Read more nuclear weapons stories.)