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Interpreting the withdrawal clause of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): options within the 2010 NPT review cycle

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The actions of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2003, resulting in the first case of a state party exercising its sovereign right to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and its subsequent test of an explosive nuclear device in October 2006, have prioritised the need for a consolidated clarification of the duties, responsibilities, procedures and consequences associated with implementing Article X.1 of the NPT. Given the existing broad support for such a clarified interpretation amongst NPT state parties, the 2010 NPT review cycle presents an opportune juncture to provide such a consolidation of the Treaty's withdrawal provision.

Keywords: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT, withdrawal clause, peremptory norm, NPT review process, Article X1, treaty interpretation, multilateral treaties, 2010 NPT Review Conference, 2007 NPT PrepCom, subsequent agreement, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, North Korea

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