pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights – Charting a roadmap for multiparty confidence and security building measures, risk reduction, and arms control in the Indo-Pacific

Written By

  • David Santoro President
  • Miles Pomper Senior Fellow, Washington DC office of CNS


Building Confidence & Security in the Indo-Pacific: Pacific Forum


The practice of strategic dialogue, confidence-building measures (CBMs), risk reduction, and arms control has its roots in the nuclear revolution and the Cold War. It thus developed in the Euro-Atlantic because of the realities of the US-dominated, Eurocentric security environment of the time; recall that the United States had just fought the Second World War with a Europe-first strategy. That practice developed primarily in two directions: between the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and between the United States and the Soviet Union, the two superpower enemies.

The goal of strategic dialogue between the United States and NATO, still in place today, has been to build deterrence of adversaries and defense of the “free world,” and an important by-product has been reassurance of weaker NATO allies by the much stronger United States. To do so, Washington and allied capitals have engaged at many levels, including in the strategic nuclear domain, where they have established shared roles and responsibilities over forward-deployed US nuclear weapons.1

Strategic dialogue between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia, meanwhile, developed in the context of bilateral arms control discussions. After they built the nuclear capabilities to assure their mutual destruction, and after the Berlin and Cuban crises of 1961 and 1962 when they flirted with nuclear confrontation, the United States and the Soviet Union sought to stabilize their relationship by preserving mutual deterrence. This was achieved through negotiations, which began in the early 1960s and first culminated in a hotline agreement in 1963. This agreement created a direct communication link between Washington and Moscow for use in time of emergency. It was followed by several rounds of talks that led to agreements imposing limits and, later, reductions on US-Soviet/Russian nuclear arsenals.

In the late 1990s, US-Russia arms control discussions expanded into the NATO context. Under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council, at least until the 2010s, the United States, other NATO allies, and Russia explored the requirements of strategic stability in an ongoing dialogue and worked to improve the relationship between the West and Russia.

Download the full volume here.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Multiparty Confidence and Security Building Measures, Risk Reduction, and Arms Control in the Indo-Pacific | David Santoro
1.Learning From Europe? | Miles Pomper and Michiru Nishida
2.ASEAN Institutions and Mini-Lateral Arrangements: A Stronger Regional Security Architecture
| Mely Caballero-Anthony
3.Confidence-Building Measures for Mitigating Regional Missile Risks| Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress & Nobumasa Akiyama
4.Maritime CSBMS in the Indo-Pacific: Whiter the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea? | Collin Koh
5.More Risks, Less Confidence: Safety, Security, and Defense in the Indo-Pacific Underwater Domain
| Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto
6.Next Steps for Nuclear Weapons Management and Nuclear and Radiological Security in the Indo-Pacific | George M. Moore
7.A Regional Effort Towards Nuclear Disarmament: The SEANWFZ Experience | Karla Mae G. Pabeliña
8.Measures to Enhance Chemical and Biological Security in the Indo-Pacific | Allison Berke
9.Science Diplomacy Initiatives in the Indo-Pacific | Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress
Conclusion | Key Findings and Recommendations | Michiru Nishida

About the Authors

Dr. Akiyama Nobumasa is the Dean and Professor of the School of International and Public Policy at Hitotsubashi University. He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at Japan Institute of International Affairs. Before appointed to the current position, he served as Minister-Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna and Special Advisor to Ambassador on Nuclear Security.

Dr. Allison Berke is the Director of Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and a bioengineer. She previously directed technology policy research at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Stanford Cyber Initiative.

Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony is Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, and holds the President’s Chair in International Relations and Security Studies. Her latest publication includes Nuclear Governance in the Asia- Pacific (London: Routledge, 2022).

Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress is a Scientist-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and a recent author of Nuclear Choices for the Twenty-First Century (MIT Press). He was a member of the SNO Collaboration that won the Nobel Prize in 2015 and received a share of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Previously, he worked at Princeton, Gran Sasso, and Max Planck Institute of International Studies.

Dr. Collin Koh is Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, based in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests focus on maritime security and naval affairs in the Indo-Pacific, especially Southeast Asia.

Dr. George M. Moore is a Scientist-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is a former staff member at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Dr. Nishida Michiru is a Professor at School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences of Nagasaki University. He specializes in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation. He is the author of “Nuclear Transparency: Practices of US-USSR/Russia and NPT as well as their Potential Applicability to China” and co-author of “NPT: The Global Governance of Nuclear Weapons.” He has worked as a Special Advisor for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Ms. Karla Mae G. Pabeliña is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network. She is a recipient of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Women Scholarship for Peace (Global South: Asia- Pacific), as well as the 2017 United Nations Fellowships on Disarmament. She has been actively involved in Track II dialogues on Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the Asia-Pacific through the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr. Miles Pomper is a Senior Fellow in the Washington DC office of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at Pacific Forum. He is the author of numerous book chapters, papers and articles on NATO’s nuclear deterrence and arms control policies including recently serving as lead author of Everything Counts: Building a Control Regime for Nonstrategic Nuclear Warheads in Europe.

Dr. David Santoro is the President and CEO of the Pacific Forum. He specializes in deterrence, arms control, and nonproliferation. His current interests focus on great-power dynamics and US alliances, particularly the role of China in an era of nuclear multipolarity. His latest volume US-China Nuclear Relations – The Impact of Strategic Triangles was published by Lynne Rienner in 2021. Previously, Santoro worked in France, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto is a Lecturer with the Department of International Relations at Universitas Indonesia. Previously, he was a maritime security researcher with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Relations at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and a fellow with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra. His numerous works on maritime security include Naval Modernisation in Southeast Asia: Problems and Prospects for Small and Medium Navies with Geoffrey Till.