Below is some information on three new papers from SIPRI on proliferation concerns in North Korea, Pakistan and Syria.
North Korean proliferation challenges: the role of the European Union
Non-Proliferation Papers no. 18
The bête noire of the global non-proliferation regime, North Korea has defeated every effort to rein in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons and illicit arms trade. Neither sanctions, incentives nor ‘strategic patience’ have succeeded in bringing about anything more than a temporary stall in the development of these weapon systems. There appears to be no prospect that North Korea would barter its nuclear arsenal for diplomatic or economic gain. Having fewer stakes in North East Asia than the actors in the Six-Party Talks process, the European Union (EU) has played, at most, a supporting role, providing aid when incentives were called for and applying sanctions when that was in the script, while consistently promoting human rights. Yet if North Korea, under new leadership, moves towards market reforms in order to overcome its poverty trap, there may be opportunities for a greater EU role. Whether in conjunction with the EU’s closer relations with South Korea or through finally establishing a delegation office in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, a more direct application of European soft power would better position the EU to assist the Korean Peninsula in future crises and to benefit from any positive turn of events. Download the paper.
Pakistan’s nuclear and WMD programmes: status, evolution and risks
Non-prolifeartion papers no. 19
Pakistan is estimated to have about 100 nuclear weapons and 200 ballistic missiles, and it is expanding its nuclear force. It has set up a system of institutions and procedures aimed at preventing the unauthorized use, theft or sale of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), related materials and technology. Nevertheless, the international community has legitimate security concerns regarding Pakistan’s WMD, in particular the possible theft of a nuclear weapon or a radical change in government policies. The main risks today are those of deliberate use of or loss of control of the nuclear complex in wartime. In the longer term, a weakening of state authority over Pakistan’s territory or a radicalization of current policies towards the West should not be discounted. The European Union (EU) has many stakes in ensuring WMD security and safety in Pakistan, but its means of direct action to mitigate those risks are limited. Download the paper.
Syria’s Proliferation Challenge and the European Union’s Response
Non-Proliferation Papers no. 20
Michael Elleman, Dina Esfandiary and Emile Hokayem
Syria’s desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is shaped by the perceived imbalance of power with Israel but also by a volatile regional environment. As a result, Syria has overcome resource scarcity and other structural constraints to build a significant chemical weapons arsenal, develop missile capabilities and, to the surprise of many, build a nuclear reactor. The European Union (EU) has attempted to offer economic and political incentives to encourage a gradual Syrian shift away from WMD as part of a greater effort to moderate Syria. However, Syrian strategic thinking, concerned with the regional balance of power and confrontation with the United States and Israel, appears to have largely ignored the EU. Download the paper.