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Issues & Insights Vol. 17 – No. 12 – Countering Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

This paper assesses the status of adherence to key instruments of the biological, chemical, and nuclear nonproliferation, security, and safety regimes in the Asia Pacific. This is timely given that chemical and biotechnology industries are rapidly expanding, countries in the region have expressed interest in exploring nuclear power programs and the risk of an inadvertent release of biological agents is emerging.

The focus is on instrument adherence. The countries assessed in this paper are all members of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP): Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Countries have been divided into sub-regional groups: Southeast Asia; Northeast Asia; South Asia; and Australasia.

The paper shows that while much progress has been achieved in recent years, there is still a considerable amount of work needed, particularly in nuclear safety and security.