pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 04 – No. 05

Countering the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has always enjoyed a high priority among the nations of East Asia, as it has globally. There is nothing controversial about the idea that such weapons should be kept out of the hands of terrorists or nonstate actors who would be more inclined and not as easily deterred from using them. On this there is widespread agreement globally – witness the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 in April 2004, calling upon all member states “to take cooperative actions to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, their means of delivery and related materials.” While aimed at countering WMD proliferation in all its forms, the first two articles specifically highlight the need – indeed the obligation – to keep such weapons out of the hands of “non-state actors.”