Beatrice Fihn had a stark warning about nuclear war while accepting her Nobel Peace Prize Sunday.
The executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said the world is closer to atomic warfare than it may realize.
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“The deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away,” Fihn warned while in Oslo, Norway, to accept the group’s award.
ICAN is a coalition of 468 grassroots non-governmental groups that campaigned for the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations in July. The treaty doesn’t apply to countries with nuclear weapons — such as the United States, North Korea and Russia.
On Sunday, the Nobel winner once again urged the remaining countries to sign the treaty.
“It provides a choice. A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she said.
If countries don’t abandon their weapons, Fihn painted a bleak future, explaining that this time the potential for damage is far worse than it was during the Cold War.
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“Unlike the Cold War, today we face many more nuclear-armed states, terrorists and cyberwarfare,” she said. “A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego, could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.”
Fihn’s warning comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. The two countries have exchanged insults and threats, while North Korea has carried out missile tests. This month, an unnamed North Korean official claimed that a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if.
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The winner also told the crowd that such threats, and nuclear weapons, don’t make anyone safer.
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“If you are not comfortable with Kim Jong Un having nuclear weapons, then you are not comfortable with nuclear weapons,” she said. “If you’re not comfortable with Donald Trump having nuclear weapons, then you are not comfortable with nuclear weapons.”
— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press