Asia & the Pacific

101 Items

People at Seoul Train Station watch a a local news program reporting about a North Korean missile launch. Aug. 30, 2017 (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press).

Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

Journal Article - The RUSI Journal

North Korea’s Missile Programme and Supply-Side Controls: Lessons for Countering Illicit Procurement

| Oct. 17, 2018

Despite one of the most extensive sanctions regimes in history, including an embargo on missile technologies, North Korea has taken huge steps forward in its ballistic missile programme. Daniel Salisbury explores the limitations of, and challenges of implementing, supply-side approaches to missile nonproliferation. Considering North Korea’s recent progress and efforts to evade sanctions, the article highlights the continuing need to strengthen efforts to counter illicit trade in missile-related technologies.

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Solving the Jurisdictional Conundrum: How U.S. Enforcement Agencies Target Overseas Illicit Procurement Networks Using Civil Courts

| September 2018

Over the past two decades, the United States has increasingly turned to targeted sanctions and export restrictions, such as those imposed against Iran and North Korea, in order to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction. One vexing problem, however, is how to contend with jurisdictional hurdles when the violations occur overseas, in countries that are unable or unwilling to assist US enforcement efforts. To solve this problem, US prosecutors are turning to strategies with significant extraterritorial implications—that is, exercising legal authority beyond national borders. One such tool is to use civil legal procedures to seize assets linked to sanctions or export-control violations in jurisdictions that lack cooperative arrangements with US enforcement agencies. While this may be an attractive strategy to bolster enforcement efforts against overseas illicit procurement, using such tools is not without consequence. This article explores the political, legal, and technical implications of enforcing extraterritorial controls against overseas non-state actors by exploring the recent uses of civil-asset forfeiture against Iranian and North Korean procurement networks.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Azharsofii/Wikimedia).

Azharsofii/Wikimedia

Journal Article - European Journal of International Security

Exploring the Use of 'Third Countries' in Proliferation Networks: The Case of Malaysia

| Aug. 10, 2018

‘Third countries’ are frequently exploited by those involved in networks to transfer proliferation-sensitive technologies, allowing procurement agents to obscure the end user or vendor located in the proliferating state, and to deceive industry, export licensing officials, and intelligence services. While ‘third countries’ frequently feature in illicit transactions, the academic literature exploring the roles played by entities in these jurisdictions is limited. Building on the sanctions busting literature, this article proposes a loose typology considering the ways in which third countries can be exploited by proliferation networks. The typology is illustrated using three cases involving entities based in Malaysia – A. Q. Khan’s nuclear black market network, and Iran and North Korea’s efforts to procure and market WMD-related and military goods. These cases are used to generate insights into proliferators’ selection of ‘third country’ hubs. The article argues that while exploitation of third countries by proliferation networks is a similar, but distinct phenomenon to trade-based sanctions busting, hubs of both activities share characteristics. Furthermore, the article argues that other factors beyond the lax regulatory environment, such as level of development, and personal connections, are often as important in driving the decisions of proliferation networks. The article concludes with implications for nonproliferation policy.

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

Rahm Emanuael/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

| June 18, 2018

Early in Richard Rhodes’s new book, “Energy: A Human History,” we hear of a prominent citizen using colorful language to lament the state of his polluted city and urge his government to shut down industry or move it elsewhere: “If there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano [on] a foggy day.” Though this could easily apply to modern-day Beijing, the speaker here is John Evelyn, a wealthy horticulturalist and one of the founders of the scientific Royal Society of London — and he’s complaining about London in 1659.

A 2014 meeting between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Netherlands

US Embassy, The Hague

Analysis & Opinions

Shunning Beijing's infrastructure bank was a mistake for the US

| June 7, 2015

The Obama administration’s negative response to China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was a strategic mistake. Though some Chinese moves might be destabilising and require US resistance, this initiative should have been welcomed.

The US should be careful about opposing ventures that are popular and likely to proceed. Losing fights does not build confidence. Moreover, the new bank’s purpose — to develop infrastructure in Asia — is a good goal. The world economy needs more growth. Many emerging markets are eager to boost productivity and growth by lowering costs of transportation, improving energy availability, enhancing communications networks, and distributing clean water.

The AIIB offers an opportunity to strengthen the very international economic system that the US created and sustained. The AIIB’s designated leader, Jin Liqun, a former vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, sought advice in Washington. He engaged an American lawyer who was the World Bank’s leading specialist on governance. He also reached out to another American who had served as World Bank country director for China and then worked with the US embassy.

If the AIIB was indeed threatening the American-led multilateral economic order, as its opponents seemed to believe, then its Chinese founders chose a curiously open and co-operative way of doing so.

Analysis & Opinions - European Leadership Network

On the Road to Nowhere? New Proposals on the Middle East WMD-Free Zone May Backfire

| May 11, 2015

"One of the dramas playing out this month in New York at the 2015 Review Conference for parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concerns the future of discussions on establishing the weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East..."

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Uranium Supplies: A Hitch to China’s Nuclear Energy Plans? Or not?

| May 6, 2015

China will triple the number of nuclear power plants it has in operation by 2020 according to official plans, and the country’s nuclear fleet will increase 20-fold by 2050 under some not-yet-approved proposals. But how and where will China get the uranium to fuel them all? Will China need to resort to breeder reactors and reprocessing, with all the proliferation problems they incur? Or is there another way? In this journal article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang suggests that between China’s domestic uranium mining, uranium purchased on the international market, and uranium mined by Chinese-owned companies overseas, China could meet even the most ambitious target, thus avoiding the troublesome and dangerous path of reprocessing.