Tracking Number:  229131

Title:  "MTCR and Proliferation Control for Today and the Future." The dangers of missile proliferation are highlighted in several hot spots in Asia, including North Korea, which has yet to sign the Missile Technology Control Regime, and India and Pakistan, whose arms race threatens the sanctity of the regime. (920527)

Date:  19920527

*EPF304 05/27/92 *

MTCR AND PROLIFERATION CONTROL FOR TODAY AND THE FUTURE (Last in series on Missile Technology Control Regime) (1620) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer The MTCR and Asia: Proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction remains a major concern in Asia.

Of special note is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), because it is now the only country in the world capable of producing complete MTCR-class missile systems which has not adopted the MTCR Guidelines for limiting missile proliferation. North Korea has exported MTCR-class missiles to instable regions; Syria and Iran are among North Korea's willing customers.

North Korea also appears willing to sell the equipment and technology necessary to permit other countries to build their own missile systems. Providing production capability makes it more difficult for the world community to stop missile programs in the recipient countries, and it encourages irresponsible suppliers hungry for hard currency to keep their indigenous missile efforts going.

In addition, North Korea is working on a long-range missile system in the 1000-kilometer class; Libya has already expressed an interest in obtaining it. If successfully completed, this system will allow North Korea to target all of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), most of Japan, as well as many parts of China, including Beijing.

South Asia is a concern primarily for nuclear proliferation reasons, but there is also the danger that India and Pakistan will compete in missile, chemical, and biological weapons.

Chinese missile and weapons sales have been a concern to the United States and other countries, but recently China has taken major steps to join the international effort to halt proliferation.

This year, China agreed to adhere to the MTCR Guidelines and parameters. It has also decided to participate in the Biological Weapons Convention, negotiations to conclude a Chemical Weapons Convention, and the five-power arms control effort for the Middle East. Of special importance, China on March 9 acceded to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Proliferation Concerns Outside of Asia: The collapse of the Soviet Union has focussed attention on the countries that inherited Soviet nuclear weapons deployed on their soil. Chief among these are the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. These newly-independent countries now appear commited to ridding their territories of nuclear weapons.

Although Russia has pledged to adhere to the MTCR guidelines, its interpretation of this Regime differs markedly from that of the United States and other MTCR members. For example, the Russian plan to sell some 200-million-dollars-worth of rocket engine technology to India caused the U.S. government to announce on May 11 that it would impose sanctions on trade with a Russian trading firm and an Indian space organization.

Although India said the rockets are needed to carry commercial satellites into space, U.S. officials noted that the rockets are also capable of carrying a nuclear warhead beyond the 300-kilometer limit established by the MTCR.

The United States, however, will continue its discussions with Russia and India on the matter. If both the Russian and Indian governments agree to terminate the deal, the United States could consider a waiver of sanctions.

International Nonproliferation Efforts The MTCR is just one element of an expanding international network of formal and informal proliferation control efforts that are gaining support from an ever-growing number of countries. Among these are:

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This treaty entered into force in 1970 and now has 148 signatories. Membership is expanding; powerful countries such as China and South Africa have joined, and France is about to join. The goals of this treaty are to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons, foster peaceful nuclear cooperation under safeguards, and encourage negotiations to end the nuclear arms race with a view to general and complete disarmament.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group. Twenty-seven member countries have agreed to require "full-scope safeguards" as a condition for nuclear export; that is, a country receiving any significant, new nuclear-related supplies must have safeguards on all its nuclear facilities. On April 3, the Group agreed to control a substantial list of dual-use nuclear equipment and technology. These steps will produce a stronger institutional framework for nuclear non-proliferation. They increase the obstacles to acquisition of nuclear technology by countries seeking nuclear weapons capabilities.

The Australia Group. Chaired by Australia, this group is an informal arrangement of 22 member states which have established common export controls for chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation purposes. The members have adopted a list of 50 chemicals that could be used for weapons and are adopting export controls on a list of chemical-weapons-related equipment as well. The Australia Group is in the process of establishing export controls on certain microorganisms, toxins, and equipment that could be used in biological weapons programs.

Biological Weapons Convention. This agreement entered into force in 1975 and now has more than 100 signatories. Signatories agree never to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire and retain agents or toxins for other than peaceful purposes, or the weapons, equipment, or means of delivering such agents or toxins. Existing materials and production facilities must be destroyed when a country agrees to adhere to the convention.

Chemical Weapons Convention. This proposed treaty is currently under negotiation among the 39 members of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament and the 42 observer countries. When completed, it will ban the development, acquisition, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. A number of issues are yet to be resolved. These include ensuring effective verification, monitoring civilian chemical industries to ensure that they do not produce chemical weapons, designing an organizational framework that would carry out the terms of the Convention, working out details on how destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities would be carried out, and protecting data acquired during inspections. The United States has assigned top priority to resolving these issues so that the Chemical Weapons Convention can be ready for signing this year.

Five-Power Conference for Middle East Arms Control.

President Bush launched this initiative on May 29, 1991, which is known in the United States as "ACME" (Arms Control Initiative for the Middle East). It calls for the five major suppliers of conventional arms to the Middle East -- the United States, France, Great Britain, China, and the countries of the former Soviet Union -- to establish guidelines for restraining destabilizing transfers of conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction, and related equipment and technology. The five have agreed, for the first time, to move toward more transparency and consultation and to abide by common guidelines concerning arms transfers.

Five-Power South Asia Nonproliferation Conference. This proposed conference would deal with proliferation concerns in South Asia. Four (Pakistan, China, the United States, and the Commonwealth of Independent States) of five proposed participants have agreed to the conference, and the United States continues to engage India with a view toward obtaining its participation as well.

Initiatives in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In order to assure that these countries do not become new sources of supply or brain power for countries seeking weapons of mass destruction, initiatives are underway to help strengthen export controls, improve nuclear material accountancy and control and physical protection, and redirect scientists in meaningful non-military endeavors. So far, U.S. contacts with these countries have been encouraging.

Is the MTCR the Wave of the Future? Adhering to MTCR guidelines has become an international norm for those countries that wish to be regarded as responsible members of the international community. Countries like North Korea which seek to circumvent the regime are working against internationally accepted norms.

Countries that associate themselves with the MTCR, either through formal membership or adherence to the Regime's Guidelines, do so voluntarily as sovereign states, and they reserve the sovereign right to decide on their own exports.

Over the years, more and more countries have joined the MTCR as they recognized the need to contain nuclear terror. They have also concluded that the limited profits from destabilizing missile exports do not outweigh the benefits of responsible membership in the international community. Far from being some sort of superpower invention, nonproliferation arrangements such as the MTCR have proven their benefits to the entire world community.

From the American viewpoint, nations which make such commitments demonstrate their commitment to world peace and stability. A country's full, effective implementation of its nonproliferation commitments will strengthen support for bilateral cooperation in the United States.

The interdependent world economy depends on rules to function effectively and safely. These rules are especially important to world stability in the area of technology transfer and dual-use items, and the MTCR is one example of a growing international consensus about how best to promote global peace.

Technology transfer, not the outright transfer of whole missiles, is becoming the main source of missile proliferation. To keep abreast of technological and trade developments, the MTCR Annex and Guidelines are subject to periodic review and updating. The Annex was updated in November 1991. The November 1991 Plenary decided to broaden the scope of the Regime to cover delivery systems for all weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons, in addition to nuclear weapons. The parties are actively discussing means to improve their ability to meet this commitment.

The dangers of missile proliferation were highlighted in the Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War, in which civilian populations were targeted by ballistic missiles. The threats of missile and weapons proliferation persist, especially in areas plagued by turmoil and instability such as the Middle East, South Asia, and Northeast Asia. The world community must not relax its efforts to control proliferation.