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Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
Fact Sheets & Briefs

START I at a Glance

February 2019

Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Updated: February 2019

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) I was signed July 31, 1991, by the United States and the Soviet Union. Five months later, the Soviet Union dissolved, leaving four independent states in possession of strategic nuclear weapons: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. On May 23, 1992, the United States and the four nuclear-capable successor states to the Soviet Union signed the Lisbon Protocol, which made all five nations party to the START I agreement. START I entered into force Dec. 5, 1994, when the five treaty parties exchanged instruments of ratification in Budapest. All treaty parties met the agreement's Dec. 5, 2001 implementation deadline. START I expired on Dec. 5, 2009.

On 31 July 1991, the US President, George Bush (sitting on the left), and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev (sitting on the right), sign the START I Agreement for the mutual elimination of the two countries’ strategic nuclear weapons. (Photo: Susan Biddle/Bush Library)Basic Terms:

  • 1,600 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy (long-range) bombers for each side.
  • 6,000 "accountable" warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, of which no more than 4,900 may be on ICBMs and SLBMs, 1,540 on heavy missiles (the Soviet SS-18), and 1,100 on mobile ICBMs (RSM-12M Topol).
  • Ballistic missile throw-weight (lifting power) is limited to 3,600 metric tons on each side.

Counting Rules:

  • Heavy bombers equipped only with bombs or short-range attack missiles (SRAMs) are counted as carrying one warhead each.
  • U.S. heavy bombers may carry no more than 20 long-range air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) each. The first 150 of these bombers count as carrying only 10 ALCMs each.
  • Soviet heavy bombers may carry no more than 16 ALCMs each. The first 180 of these bombers count as carrying only eight ALCMs each.
  • No more than 1,250 warheads may be "downloaded" (removed from) and not counted on existing multiple-warhead ballistic missiles.

Other Provisions:

  • START I ran for 15 years with an option to extend for successive five-year periods. Based on commitments made at the March 1997 Helsinki Summit, the sides agreed in principle to negotiate an agreement making the START treaties unlimited in duration.
  • Separate "politically binding" agreements limit each side to 880 sea-launched cruise missiles with ranges above 600 kilometers and the Soviet Backfire bomber to 500 kilometers.

For more Nuclear Arms Control Agreements between the U.S. and Russia, see: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/USRussiaNuclearAgreements 

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

Country Resources:

The Missile Technology Control Regime at a Glance

July 2017

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: July 2017

The Missile Technology Control Regime Guidelines and Annex

Established in April 1987, the voluntary Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. The regime urges its 35 members,1 which include most of the world's key missile manufacturers, to restrict their exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500-kilogram payload at least 300 kilometers or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.2

Since its inception, the MTCR has been credited with slowing or stopping several missile programs by making it difficult for prospective buyers to get what they want or stigmatizing certain activities and programs. Argentina, Egypt, and Iraq abandoned their joint Condor II ballistic missile program. Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan also shelved or eliminated missile or space launch vehicle programs. Some Eastern European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, destroyed their ballistic missiles, in part, to better their chances of joining the MTCR.3 The regime has further hampered Libyan and Syrian missile efforts.

Yet, the regime has its limitations. Iran, India, North Korea, and Pakistan continue to advance their missile programs. All four countries, with varying degrees of foreign assistance, have deployed medium-range ballistic missiles that can travel more than 1,000 kilometers and are exploring missiles with much greater ranges. India is testing missiles in the intercontinental range. These countries, which are not MTCR members except India, are also becoming sellers rather than simply buyers on the global arms market. North Korea, for example, is viewed as the primary source of ballistic missile proliferation in the world today. Iran has supplied missile production items to Syria.

How the MTCR Works

Each MTCR member is supposed to establish national export control policies for ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, space launch vehicles, drones, remotely piloted vehicles, sounding rockets, and underlying components and technologies that appear on the regime's Material and Technology Annex. Members can add items to or subtract them from the annex through consensus decisions.

The annex is divided into two separate groupings of items, Category I and Category II. Category I includes complete missiles and rockets, major sub-systems, and production facilities. Specialized materials, technologies, propellants, and sub-components for missiles and rockets comprise Category II.

Potential exports of Category I and II items are to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Approval for Category I exports is supposed to be rare. The regime's guidelines, which set out criteria for weighing possible exports, instruct members that "there will be a strong presumption to deny" Category I transfers. No exports of production facilities are to be authorized. MTCR restrictions for Category II exports are less severe, largely because many items in the category also have civilian uses. Members, however, are still asked to exercise caution in making such deals. No member can veto another's exports.

The MTCR identifies five factors that members should take into account when evaluating a possible export of controlled items:

  • Whether the intended recipient is pursuing or has ambitions for acquiring weapons of mass destruction;
  • The purposes and capabilities of the intended recipient's missile and space programs;
  • The potential contribution the proposed transfer could make to the intended recipient's development of delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction;
  • The credibility of the intended recipient's stated purpose for the purchase; and
  • Whether the potential transfer conflicts with any multilateral treaty.

MTCR members are asked to obtain an assurance from the intended recipient that it will only use the export for the purpose claimed when requesting the deal. Members are also to secure a pledge from the intended recipient that it will not transfer the requested item or any replicas or derivatives to a third party without permission.

Because the regime is voluntary and the decision to export is the sole responsibility of each member, the MTCR has no penalties for transfers of controlled items. However, U.S. law mandates that Washington sanction entities-individuals, companies, or governments (whether they are MTCR members or not)-exporting MTCR-controlled items to certain countries identified as proliferators or potential threats to U.S. security. Sanctions may also be levied if the United States judges the transfer contrary to the MTCR. Typically, Washington prohibits the charged entity from signing contracts, receiving aid, or buying arms from the U.S. government for a period of two years. Sometimes the penalties can be imposed for longer lengths of time or extended to commercial imports and exports as well.

Outside the MTCR

Several countries have pledged to abide by the MTCR without joining it. Israel, Romania, and the Slovak Republic have all committed to maintaining export controls consistent with the regime.

After several years of the U.S. curtailing its sale of missiles and missile technologies, China announced in November 2000 that it would not help other countries build ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Beijing, which was a key contributor to Pakistan's missile development, and has in the past provided sensitive technology to countries like North Korea and Iran, also pledged that it would issue a comprehensive list of controlled items requiring government approval before export. That list, however, was not published until August 2002. In 2004, China applied for MTCR membership, and, at the time, voluntarily pledged to follow the regime's export control guidelines. Although China no longer sells complete missile systems and has tightened its export controls, its membership was rejected due to concerns that Chinese entities continued to provide sensitive technologies to countries developing ballistic missiles, such as North Korea.

In 2008 India voluntarily committed to following the MTCR export control guidelines, since that time the United States has been working to secure India's membership in the regime. India's announcement was made shortly before the Nuclear Suppliers Group granted an exemption to India. New Delhi continues to develop its own ballistic missile program. In June 2015, India formally applied for membership in the regime, but Italy blocked consensus on its application during the October 2015 plenary. Nine other countries applied as well in 2015, none of which were admitted into the regime. India was later admitted in June 2015. 

Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation

MTCR members spearheaded a voluntary November 2002 initiative, the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (formerly known as the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation), calling on all countries to show greater restraint in their own development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and to reduce their existing missile arsenals if possible. The aim of the initiative is to establish a norm against missiles that could be armed with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. As part of the initiative, participating countries are to annually exchange information on their ballistic missile and space launch vehicle programs, as well as provide advance notice of any launches of ballistic missiles or space launch vehicles. The Hague Code of Conduct has 138 member states, including all MTCR members except Brazil. Brazil has expressed concerns about how the initiative might affect its space program.

Notes:

1. MTCR members, followed by the year they joined the regime, are: Argentina (1993), Australia (1990), Austria (1991), Belgium (1990), Brazil (1995), Bulgaria (2004), Canada (1987), the Czech Republic (1998), Denmark (1990), Finland (1991), France (1987), Germany (1987), Greece (1992), Hungary (1993), Iceland (1993), India (2015), Ireland (1992), Italy (1987), Japan (1987), Luxembourg (1990), the Netherlands (1990), New Zealand (1991), Norway (1990), Poland (1998), Portugal (1992), Russia (1995), South Africa (1995), South Korea (2001) Spain (1990), Sweden (1991), Switzerland (1992), Turkey (1997), Ukraine (1998), the United Kingdom (1987), and the United States (1987).

2. Originally, the MTCR was limited to stopping the proliferation of nuclear-capable missiles, which was defined as a missile able to travel at least 300 kilometers with a 500-kilogram payload. Five hundred kilograms was considered the minimum weight of a first generation nuclear warhead, while 300 kilometers was believed to be the minimum distance needed to carry out a strategic strike. Members agreed in the summer of 1992 to expand the regime's objective to also apply to missiles and related technologies designed for chemical and biological weapons. That change took effect in January 1993. The move effectively tasked members with a making a more difficult and subjective assessment about an importer's intentions, as opposed to denying a specific capability (a missile able to deliver a 500-kilogram payload at least 300 kilometers), because many more missiles and unmanned delivery vehicles could be adapted to deliver lighter chemical and biological weapons payloads.

3. Prospective MTCR members must win consensus approval from existing members. U.S. policy is that new members that are not recognized nuclear-weapon states must eliminate or forgo ballistic missiles able to deliver a 500-kilogram payload at least 300 kilometers. The United States, however, made an exception in 1998 for Ukraine, permitting it to retain Scud missiles. Three years later, Washington also agreed to let South Korea develop missiles with ranges up to 300 kilometers to secure its membership in the MTCR. Seoul previously agreed in 1979 to limit its missile development to those with ranges less than 180 kilometers. South Korea was granted another extension in October 2012. Seoul and Washington reached an agreement allowing South Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to 800 kilometers with a 500 kilogram payload. This extension will allow Seoul to target all of North Korea. South Korea tested a ballistic missile with a range of 500 km in June 2015 and announced in October 2015 that it would deploy systems with an 800 km range in 2017.

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

Ukraine, Nuclear Weapons, and Security Assurances At a Glance

March 2014

Contact: Kingston ReifDirector for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

Updated: March 2014

At the time of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine held the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, including an estimated 1,800 strategic warheads, 176 long-range ballistic missiles, and 42 strategic bombers. By 1996, Ukraine had returned all of its nuclear warheads to Russia in exchange for economic aid and security assurances, and Ukraine became a non-nuclear weapon state party to the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The last strategic nuclear delivery vehicle in Ukraine was eliminated in 2001 under the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). It took years of political maneuvering and diplomatic work, starting with the Lisbon Protocol in 1992, to remove the weapons and nuclear infrastructure from Ukraine.

1990 Declaration of Sovereignty

Partly in an effort to gain international recognition, Ukraine’s pre-independence movement supported efforts to join the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. With Ukraine’s July 16, 1990 Declaration of Sovereignty, Ukraine pledged “not to accept, produce, or acquire nuclear weapons." However, despite this public commitment, Ukrainian politicians were not entirely united by the idea. Some felt that Russia was a still a threat and that they should keep the weapons as a deterrent.

1991 Minsk Agreement on Strategic Forces

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States signed the Minsk Agreement on December 30, 1991, agreeing that the Russian government would be given charge of all nuclear armaments. However, as long as the weapons remained in Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, the governments of those countries would have the right to veto their use. The target date for dismantling the weapons was set for the end of 1994.

1992 Lisbon Protocol

Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol on May 23, 1992. The protocol sought to return the nuclear weapons in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to Russia. All states were to join START and the NPT. However, within Ukraine, there was little motion towards the ratification of START, joining the NPT, or overall denuclearization. The protocol required that Ukraine adhere to the NPT as quickly as possible, but it gave the country up to seven years to follow through.

By late 1992, the Ukrainian parliament was vocalizing more pro-nuclear views. Some believed that Ukraine was entitled to at least temporary nuclear weapon status. Perhaps optimistically, the U.S. government promised Ukraine $175 million in dismantlement assistance. Instead, the Ukrainian government began implementing administrative management of the nuclear forces and claimed ownership of the warheads.

In late April 1993, 162 Ukrainian politicians signed a statement to add 13 preconditions for ratification START, frustrating the ratification process. The preconditions required security assurances from Russia and the U.S., foreign aid for dismantlement, and compensation for the nuclear material. Additionally, they stated that Ukraine would dismantle only 36% of its delivery vehicles and 42% of warheads, leaving the rest under Ukrainian control. Russia and the U.S. criticized these demands, but Ukraine did not budge. In May 1993, the U.S. said that if Ukraine were to ratify START, the U.S. would provide more financial assistance. This began subsequent discussions between Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S. over the future of Ukrainian denuclearization.

1993 Massandra Accords

Ukrainian and Russian officials reached a set of agreements, including protocols on nuclear weapons dismantlement, procedure, and terms of compensation. However, the two sides could not agree on the final document, and the summit ultimately failed. 

1994 Trilateral Statement

The Massandra Accords set the stage for the ultimately successful trilateral talks. As the U.S. mediated between Russia and Ukraine, the three countries signed the January 14, 1994 Trilateral Statement. Ukraine committed to full disarmament, including strategic weapons, in exchange for economic support and security assurances from the United States and Russia. Ukraine agreed to transfer its nuclear warheads to Russia and accepted U.S. assistance in dismantling missiles, bombers, and nuclear infrastructure. Ukraine’s warheads would be dismantled in Russia, and Ukraine would receive compensation for the commercial value of the highly enriched uranium. Ukraine ratified the START treaty in February 1994, repealing its earlier preconditions, but it would not accede to the NPT without further security assurances.

1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

To solidify security commitments to Ukraine, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. A political agreement in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Accords, the memorandum included security assurances against the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territory or political independence. The countries promised to respect the sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine. Parallel memorandums were signed for Belarus and Kazakhstan as well. In response, Ukraine officially acceded to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on December 5, 1994. That move met the final condition for ratification of the START treaty, bringing the treaty into force for Ukraine

2009 Joint Declaration by Russia and the United States

Russia and the United States released a joint statement in 2009 confirming that the security assurances made in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum would still be valid after the START Treaty expired in 2009.

2014 Russian Annexation of Crimea

Following months of political unrest and the abrupt departure of President Yanukovych of Ukraine, Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine in March 2014. On March 18, over the protests of the acting government in Kiev, the UN Security Council, and Western governments, Russia declared the annexation of Crimea. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine called the action a blatant violation of the security assurances in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. However, according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the security assurances were given to the legitimate government of Ukraine but not to the forces that came to power following the coup d'etat.”

Timeline

  • July 16, 1990: Ukraine’s Declaration of Sovereignty
  • July 31, 1991: The United States and the Soviet Union signed START.
  • Dec. 26, 1991: The Soviet Union officially dissolved, delaying entry into force of START.
  • Dec. 30, 1991: Minsk Agreement on Strategic Forces
    • The Commonwealth of Independent States agreed that strategic forces would be under the joint command of the former Soviet Union states.
  • May 23, 1992:  Lisbon Protocol
    • Signed by Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the United States
    • The protocol sought to return nuclear weapons in three formerly Soviet states to Russia.
    • All states were to be added to the START treaty and to join the NPT.
  • Jan. 14, 1994: The Trilateral Statement
    • Signed by Ukraine, Russia, and the United States
    • Ukraine committed to full disarmament, including strategic offensive weapons, in exchange for economic support and security assurances from US and Russia.
  • Sept. 4, 1993 Massandra Accords
    • Failed summit between Russian and Ukrainian governments
  • Dec. 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances
    • Signed by Russia, Ukraine, United States, and the United Kingdom
    • Included security assurances against the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territory or political independence.
  • Dec. 5, 1994: Ukraine submitted its instrument of accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state.
    • The five START parties exchanged instruments of ratification for START, which entered into force.
  • June 1, 1996: Ukraine transferred its last nuclear warhead to Russia
  • October 30, 2001: Ukraine eliminated its last strategic nuclear weapon delivery vehicle.
  • Dec. 4, 2009: Joint Statement by Russia and the United States
    • The two countries confirmed that the security guarantees made in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
  • March 18, 2014: Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula

Research by Ashley Luer

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

Subject Resources:

IAEA Investigations of Iran's Nuclear Activities

July 2017

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: July 2017

Ali Akbar Salehi (left), the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA, sign a framework agreement in Tehran on November 11, 2013. (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first publicly outlined its concerns about Iranian activities related to the development of a nuclear weapon in an annex to its November 2011 quarterly report on Iran's nuclear program. The report laid out 12 main areas for investigation, discussed in detail below. These issues became known as the possible military dimensions, or PMDs, of Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA’s concerns about these activities pre-dated the public report, and little progress was made to resolve these issues until 2013. 

In November 2013, Iran and the IAEA announced a Joint Framework for Cooperation in which Iran agreed to take several steps to address the IAEA’s concerns, including providing information and access to research reactors and production plants. The IAEA added additional steps in 2014. Before Iran completed all of the steps, the 2013 Framework for Cooperation was superseded by the 2015 Roadmap for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program, which required Iran to provide information on all the concerns the IAEA had identified in the 2011 report.

The 2015 Roadmap was announced concurrently with the nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States). Sanctions relief in the nuclear deal was contingent upon Iran cooperating with the agency’s investigation. The IAEA released its assessment to conclude the Roadmap process in December 2015. 

2015 Roadmap for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program 

The July 14, 2015 Roadmap laid out a schedule for Iran to address the IAEA’s concerns and the agency to complete its investigation.

The IAEA announced on August 15, 2015 that Iran met the first deadline for providing documents and written explanations to the agency's questions regarding the 12 main areas for investigation as outlined in the November 2011 annex. The agency submitted follow-up questions to Iran on September 9, and on September 20, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Deputy Director General Tero Varjoranta traveled to Tehran to discuss the investigation and visit the Parchin site. They confirmed that environmental samples were taken at Parchin for analysis in IAEA labs. On October 15, 2015, the deadline for additional responses, the IAEA confirmed that Iran had responded to its follow-up questions and completed all activities under the roadmap.

The completed assessment, released on December 2, 2015, concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003, including a coordinated “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” but did not divert nuclear material from its civilian nuclear program as part of its weaponization efforts.

The report found that although Tehran’s organized nuclear weapons program ended in 2003, some activities continued through 2009. According to the assessment, the “activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.” The agency said it found “no credible indications” that nuclear material was diverted to the weapons program or that any undeclared activities have taken place since 2009.

In several areas, like nuclear testing preparations and fuzing, arming, and firing a payload, the IAEA did not receive any new information. In other areas, such as Iran’s work at a uranium mine, the IAEA assessed that Tehran’s activities were consistent with its declaration to the IAEA. However, the IAEA assessed that Iran’s program structure, computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device, and certain types of experiments with detonators were part of a nuclear weapons development program prior to 2003.

Mark Toner, deputy spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, said on December 2 that the IAEA’s conclusion is “consistent with what the United States has long assessed with high confidence.”

Following a meeting on December 15, 2015, the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors voted unanimously to close the investigation into Iran's past weaponization work while continuing to report on Iran's implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal with the P5+1.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi said that Iran "disagreed" with some of the agencies findings, arguing that the “scientific studies of dual-use technologies have always been for peaceful civilian or conventional military uses” rather than nuclear weapons work, he said.

The full text of the "road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program" is available here. Highlights of the IAEA's findings in each of the 12 areas are below:

  1. Program management structure: The IAEA assessed that, prior to 2003, Iran had an organized structure “suitable for the coordination of a range of activities relevant” to nuclear weapons design. The activities that continued beyond 2003 were not a coordinated program.
     
  2. Procurement activities: The IAEA had “indications” that Tehran attempted to purchase items relevant to developing a nuclear weapon prior to 2007 and information that Iran purchased materials for its fuel cycle activities through companies not affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Iran admitted to looking into procuring a high speed camera for conventional purposes, but said it ultimately did not do so.
     
  3. Nuclear material acquisition: The IAEA assessed that the Gchine uranium mine, previously thought to be a potential source of uranium for undeclared nuclear activities between 2000-2003, would not have produced any substantial amounts of nuclear material before 2006. The IAEA found that the activities at the mine were consistent with Iran’s explanations and declarations. Overall, the IAEA assessed that “any quantity of nuclear material” that would have been available for the nuclear weapons development program “would have been within the uncertainties associated with nuclear material accountancy and related measurements.”
     
  4. Nuclear components for an explosive device: The IAEA had evidence that Tehran had access to documentation on the conversion of uranium compounds to uranium metal, which is part of the weaponization process, and made progress on reducing a uranium compound into a metal form. Tehran denied that it conducted any metallurgical work for weapons purposes. The IAEA’s final assessment found no indication of Iran conducting activities related to the uranium metal document.
     
  5. Detonator development: The IAEA assessed that Iran’s work on explosive bridgewire detonators have “characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device.” The agency found that some of Iran’s explanations, that the detonators were developed as a safer alternative because of explosive accidents, were “inconsistent” and “unrelated” to the IAEA’s timeframe for detonator development.
     
  6. Initiation of high explosives and associated experiments: Iran admitted to the IAEA in August and September 2015 that it conducted work on certain types of explosives, but had a “technical requirement for the development” of multipoint initiation explosive technology for conventional weaponry. The IAEA noted that there are non-nuclear weapons applications for the development, but assessed that the work was “relevant to a nuclear explosive device.”
     
  7. Hydrodynamic experiments: As part of its investigation over the past several months, IAEA officials were able to visit Parchin, a military site where the agency suspected that Tehran conducted hydrodynamic tests in an explosive chamber. Since the IAEA requested access in 2012, Iran conducted extensive construction and renovations. Tehran said in September 2015 discussions with the IAEA that one of the main buildings in question was used for storing chemicals for the production of explosives. Environmental sampling at the site found “chemically man-made particles of uranium” but did not indicate that it was used for long-term storage of chemicals as Iran claimed. The IAEA assessed that its satellite imagery analysis and environmental sampling “does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building” and that Iran’s activities at the site impeded the agency’s investigation. The IAEA did not draw a definite assessment as to what occurred at Parchin.
     
  8. Modelling and calculations: The IAEA assessed that Iran conducted modelling and calculations related to nuclear explosive configurations prior to 2004 and between 2005-2009. During the agency’s investigation between August-October 2015, Iran maintained that it was not in a position to discuss its work on hydrodynamic modelling because it was for conventional military purposes and not an IAEA concern. The IAEA noted in its report that there are conventional applications for such modelling, and that the calculations derived from the modelling were incomplete and fragmented, but assessed overall that Iran conducted computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device between 2005-2009.
     
  9. Neutron initiator: The IAEA’s evidence indicated that Iran continued work on neutron initiators after 2004, although the agency assessed prior to the July 2015 agreement with Iran that some of the indicators that Iran undertook work on generating neutrons through shock-compression was “weaker than previously considered.” Iran provided the IAEA with information about its neutron research and let the IAEA visit a research intuition in October 2015. Iran maintained that its research in the area was not related to “shock-driven neutron sources.”
     
  10. Conducting a test: The IAEA noted it has not received any additional information regarding Tehran's plans to conduct a nuclear test since its November 2011 report. The IAEA noted in the November 2011 report that Iran may have undertaken “preparatory experimentation” relevant to a nuclear weapons explosive device and obtained a document on the safety arrangements for explosive nuclear testing.
     
  11. Integration into a missile delivery vehicle: The IAEA assessed that two of the workshops it identified in 2011 as producing components and mock up parts for engineering of a Shahab-3 (Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile) re-entry vehicle for a nuclear warhead exist, and that the capabilities are “consistent with those described” in documentation provided to the agency on Tehran’s work on a re-entry vehicle.
     
  12. Fuzing, arming, and firing system: The IAEA report noted in the Final Assessment report that it had not received any new information since the November 2011 report on development of a prototype firing system for a Shahab-3 payload that would allow the missile’s payload to safely re-enter the atmosphere and then explode above a target or upon impact.

2013 Joint Statement on Framework for Cooperation

Prior to reaching the July 2015 roadmap, the IAEA and Iran had taken some steps to clarify the outstanding issues between 2013-2014. 

Under the November 11, 2013 Framework for Cooperation, Iran and the IAEA committed to resolve the agency's concerns through a step-by-step process to address all of the outstanding issues. An annex to the framework laid out the first six actions that Iran pledged to take within three months (see details below).

On February 9, 2014, Iran and the IAEA announced a further seven actions that Iran would take by May 15, 2014 (see details below). Iran completed the initial two sets of actions within the time period specified, all of which fall into one of the 12 main areas of investigation. In June 2014, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that the agency would not issue an assessment on any action until the investigation was completed and the agency could assess the information gathered as a system.

A May 20, 2014 meeting resulted in an agreement on an additional 5 actions to be taken by August 25, 2014 (see details below). Iran completed three of the five actions by the end of August 2014. Two remaining issues related to nuclear weapons development remained unresolved. Iran and the IAEA met several times throughout the spring, and in its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development. Before all of these actions were completed, this agreement was superseded by the July 2015 Roadmap. 

The full text of the initial Framework for Cooperation and its accompanying annex is available here. The detailed steps taken under the original framework are laid out below.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by February 11, 2014

Status

Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Gchine mine in Bandar Abbas.

Completed

Iran facilitated IAEA access to the Gchine uranium mine on January 29, 2014.

Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Heavy Water Production Plant.

Completed

The IAEA visited the Heavy Water Production Plant at the Arak site on December 8, 2013.

Provide information on all new research reactors.

Completed

In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Provide information with regard to the identification of 16 sites designated for the construction of nuclear power plants.

Completed

In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Clarification of the announcement made by Iran regarding additional enrichment facilities.

Completed

In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Further clarification of the announcement made by Iran with respect to laser enrichment technology.

Completed

In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by May 15, 2014

Status 

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Saghand mine in Yazd.

Completed

An IAEA team was provided access to the Saghand mine on a May 5-6 visit to Iran.

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Ardakan concentration plant.

Completed

An IAEA team was provided access to the Ardakan plant on a May 6 visit to Iran.

Submission of an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor (Heavy Water Reactor at Arak).

Completed

In its March 20 report on the Joint Plan of Action, the IAEA noted that Iran completed an updated DIQ for the agency on February 12. Iran provided follow-up information in response to the agency's questions about the DIQ on March 29.

Taking steps to agree with the Agency on the conclusion of a Safeguards Approach for the IR 40 Reactor.

Completed

Iran and the IAEA met on May 5 to continue work on the safeguards for the IR-40 reactor at Arak. The approach is not yet completed.

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and arranging for a technical visit to Lashkar Ab’ad Laser Centre.

Completed

The agency was able to visit the center on March 12.

Providing information on source material, which has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, including imports of such material and on Iran’s extraction of uranium from phosphates.

Completed

Iran provided this information to the IAEA in an April 29 letter.

Providing information and explanations for the Agency to assess Iran’s stated need or application for the development of Exploding Bridge Wire detonators.

Completed

Iran provided the IAEA with information on the detonators at a meeting on April 26 and in subsequent letters on April 30 and an additional May 20 meeting.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by August 25, 2014

Status

Exchanging information with the Agency with respect to the allegations related to the initiation of high explosives, including the conduct of large scale high explosives experimentation in Iran.

Completed
In its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development.

(While Iran did not complete this activity on schedule, it was resolved by Aug. 15, 2015 as part of the new July 14, 2015 roadmap)

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and explanations related to studies made and/or papers published in Iran in relation to neutron transport and associated modelling and calculations and their alleged application to compressed materials.

Completed

In its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development.

(While Iran did not complete this activity on schedule, it was resolved by Aug. 15, 2015 as part of the new July 14, 2015 roadmap)

Providing mutually agreed information and arranging a technical visit to a centrifuge research and development centre.

Completed

According to the Sept. 5 IAEA quarterly report, IAEA inspectors were able to visit this facility on Aug. 31.

Providing mutually agreed information and managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities.

Completed

The Sept. 5 IAEA quarterly report said that the agency was able to access these sites Aug. 18-20.

Concluding the safeguards approach for the IR-40 reactor.

Completed

The agency and Iran completed the safeguards approach on Aug. 31, six days after the Aug. 25 deadline.

Note: this factsheet was previously titled "Implementation of the Iran-IAEA Framework for Cooperation"

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZ) At a Glance

July 2017

Press Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: July 2017

What is a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone?

A nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) is a specified region in which countries commit themselves not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. Five such zones exist today, with four of them spanning the entire Southern Hemisphere. The regions currently covered under NWFZ agreements include: Latin America (the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga), Southeast Asia (the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok) Africa (the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba) and Central Asia (the 2006 Treaty of Semipalatinsk).

Background

Initial efforts to create an area free of nuclear weapons began in the late 1950s with several proposals to establish such a zone in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland offered the first proposal-named the Rapacki Plan after the Polish foreign minister-in 1958. The Rapacki Plan sought to initially keep nuclear weapons from being deployed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, and East Germany, while reserving the right for other European countries to follow suit. The Soviet Union, Sweden, Finland, Romania, and Bulgaria also floated similar proposals. All these early efforts, however, floundered amidst the U.S.-Soviet superpower conflict, although the Rapacki Plan would serve as a model to the nuclear-weapon-free zones that were eventually set up in other regions of the globe.

Article VII of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, affirms the right of countries to establish specified zones free of nuclear weapons. The UN General Assembly reaffirmed that right in 1975 and outlined the criteria for such zones. Within these nuclear-weapon-free zones, countries may use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Protocol for Nuclear Weapon States

Each treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone includes a protocol for the five nuclear-weapon states recognized under the NPT-China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States-to sign and ratify. These protocols, which are legally binding, call upon the nuclear-weapon states to respect the status of the zones and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against treaty states-parties. Such declarations of non-use of nuclear weapons are referred to as negative security assurances. For more information, see Nuclear Declaratory Policy and Negative Security Assurances.

However, the five nuclear-armed countries have at times signed and ratified a NWFZ protocol and declared conditions reserving the right to use nuclear weapons in certain scenarios against parties to a nuclear-weapon-free zone. For instance, the United States signed the protocol for the African nuclear-weapon-free zone in April 1996 with a declaration that it would reserve the right to respond with all options, implying possible use of nuclear weapons, to a chemical or biological weapons attack by a member of the zone. None of the nuclear-weapon states have signed the relevant protocol for the treaty creating a zone in Southeast Asia because of concerns that it conflicts with the right of their ships and aircraft to have freedom of movement in international waters and airspace and problems with the definitions of territory, since includes exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. The other three zones do not explicitly rule out the transit of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon states through the zones, and the general practice of nuclear-weapon states is not to declare whether nuclear weapons are aboard their vessels.

In addition to nuclear-weapon-free zones, there are treaties and declarations, which are not covered by this fact sheet, banning the deployment of nuclear weapons in Antarctica, Mongolia, on the seabed, and in outer space.

Basic Elements of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaties

Duration: The treaties are to remain in force indefinitely. Yet, each treaty includes a withdrawal option for states-parties. With the exception of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which simply requires three months' advance notice before a withdrawal can take effect, all the NWFZ treaties require 12 months' advance notice for a state-party to end its treaty obligations.

Conditions: None of the treaties can be subjected to conditions by its non-nuclear-weapon states-parties.

Verification: Each state-party adopts comprehensive safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which verifies that states-parties are not pursuing nuclear weapons illicitly. The Central Asian NWFZ goes a step further in requiring that states in the region adopt the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which provides for expanded monitoring.

Territory Covered: Each zone applies to the entire territories of all of its states-parties. Territory is understood to include all land holdings, internal waters, territorial seas, and archipelagic waters. The Latin American treaty also extends hundreds of kilometers from the states-parties' territories into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but the nuclear-weapon states, citing their freedom at sea, assert that this does not apply to their ships and aircraft that might be carrying nuclear weapons. A dispute also exists over the inclusion of the Chagos Archipelago, which includes the U.S. military base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as part of the proposed African nuclear-weapon-free zone. Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom recognizes Diego Garcia as being subject to the Pelindaba Treaty.


The Treaty of Tlatelolco (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Opened for signature: February 14, 1967
Entered into force: October 23, 2002[1]

States-Parties

Signed

Ratified

Antigua and Barbuda

October 11, 1983

October 11, 1983

Argentina

September 27, 1967

January 18, 1994

Bahamas

November 29, 1976

April 26, 1977

Barbados

October 18, 1968

April 25, 1969

Belize

February 14, 1992

November 9, 1994

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

February 14, 1967

February 18, 1969

Brazil

May 9, 1967

January 29, 1968

Chile

February 14, 1967

October 9, 1974

Colombia

February 14, 1967

August 4, 1972

Costa Rica

February 14, 1967

August 25, 1969

Cuba

March 25, 1995

October 23, 2002

Dominica

May 2, 1989

June 4, 1993

Dominican Republic

July 28, 1967

June 14, 1968

Ecuador

February 14, 1967

February 11, 1969

El Salvador

February 14, 1967

April 22, 1968

Grenada

April 29, 1975

June 20, 1975

Guatemala

February 14, 1967

February 6, 1970

Guyana

January 16, 1995

January 16, 1995

Haiti

February 14, 1967

May 23, 1969

Honduras

February 14, 1967

September 23, 1968

Jamaica

October 26, 1967

June 26, 1969

Mexico

February 14, 1967

September 20, 1967

Nicaragua

February 15, 1967

October 24, 1968

Panama

February 14, 1967

June 11, 1971

Paraguay

April 26, 1967

March 19, 1969

Peru

February 14, 1967

March 4, 1969

Saint Kitts and Nevis

February 18, 1994

April 18, 1995

Saint Lucia

August 25, 1992

June 2, 1995

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

February 14, 1992

February 14, 1992

Suriname

February 13, 1976

June 10, 1977

Trinidad and Tobago

June 27, 1967

December 3, 1970

Uruguay

February 14, 1967

August 20, 1968

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

February 14, 1967

March 23, 1970

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

Protocol

Subject

States Ratified

Protocol I

Jurisdictional responsibility

France, United Kingdom, United States

Protocol II

Negative security assurances

China, France, United Kingdom, United States, Soviet Union[2]

The Treaty of Rarotonga (South Pacific)

Opened for signature: August 6, 1985
Entered into force: December 11, 1986

States-Parties

Signed

Ratified

Australia

August 6, 1985

December 11, 1986

Cook Islands

August 6, 1985

October 28, 1985

Fiji

August 6, 1985

October 4, 1985

Kiribati

August 6, 1985

October 28, 1986

Nauru

July 17, 1986

April 13, 1987

New Zealand

August 6, 1985

November 13, 1986

Niue

August 6, 1985

May 12, 1986

Papua New Guinea

September 16, 1985

September 15, 1989

Samoa

August 6, 1985

October 20, 1986

Solomon Islands

May 29, 1987

June 27, 1989

Tonga

August 2, 1996

December 18, 2000

Tuvalu

August 6, 1985

January 16, 1986

Vanuatu

September 16, 1995

February 9, 1996

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

Protocol

Subject

States Ratified

Protocol I*

Prohibition on the manufacture, stationing and testing of any nuclear explosive device

France, United Kingdom

Protocol II

Negative security assurances

China, France, United Kingdom, Soviet Union[2]

Protocol III

Ban on nuclear testing in nuclear-weapon-free zone

Soviet Union[2]

*(open only to France, the United Kingdom and the United States)

The Treaty of Bangkok (Southeast Asia)

Opened for signature: December 15, 1995
Entered into force: March 27, 1997

States-Parties

Signed

Ratified

Brunei Darussalam

December 15, 1995

November 22, 1996

Cambodia

December 15, 1995

March 27, 1997

Indonesia

December 15, 1995

April 10, 1997

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

December 15, 1995

July 16, 1996

Malaysia

December 15, 1995

October 11, 1996

Myanmar

December 15, 1995

July 17, 1996

Philippines

December 15, 1995

June 21, 2001

Singapore

December 15, 1995

March 27, 1997

Thailand

December 15, 1995

March 20, 1997

Vietnam

December 15, 1995

November 26, 1996

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

  • None. Five nuclear weapons states and ASEAN members met in July 2012 to sign the treaty protocol. The treaty commission, however, postponed the signing of the protocol until November, requesting more time to review reservations that several of the NWS indicated that they would attach during ratification.

The Treaty of Pelindaba (Africa)

Opened for signature: April 11, 1996
Entered into force: July 15, 2009

States-Parties

Signed

Ratified

Algeria

April 11, 1996

February 11, 1998

Angola

April 11, 1996

June 20, 2014

Benin               

April 11, 1996

September 4, 2007

Botswana

June 9, 1998

June 16, 1999

Burkina Faso

April 11, 1996

August 27, 1998

Burundi

April 11, 1996

July 15, 2009

Cameroon

April 11, 1996

September 28, 2010

Cape Verde

April 11, 1996

-----

Central African Republic

April 11, 1996

-----

Chad

April 11, 1996

January 18, 2012

Comoros

April 11, 1996

July 24, 2012

Congo

January 27, 1997

November 26, 2013

Cote D’Ivoire        

April 11, 1996

July 28, 1999

Democratic Republic of the Congo

April 11, 1996

-----

Djibouti

April 11, 1996

-----

Egypt

April 11, 1996

-----

Equatorial Guinea

 

February 19, 2003

Eritrea

April 11, 1996

-----

Ethiopia

April 11, 1996

March 13, 2008

Gabon

April 11, 1996

June 12, 2007

Gambia

April 11, 1996

October 16, 1996

Ghana

April 11, 1996

June 27, 2011

Guinea

April 11, 1996

January 21, 2000

Guinea-Bissau

April 11, 1996

January 4, 2012

Kenya

April 11, 1996

January 9, 2001

Lesotho

April 11, 1996

March 14, 2002

Liberia

July 9, 1996

-----

Libya

April 11, 1996

May 11, 2005

Madagascar

 

December 23, 2003

Malawi

April 11, 1996

April 23, 2009

Mali

April 11, 1996

July 22, 1999

Mauritania

April 11, 1996

February 24, 1998

Mauritius

April 11, 1996

April 24, 1996

Mozambique

April 11, 1996

August 28, 2008

Namibia

April 11, 1996

March 1, 2012

Niger

April 11, 1996

February 22, 2017

Nigeria

April 11, 1996

June 18, 2001

Rwanda

April 11, 1996

February 1, 2007

Sao Tome & Principe

July 9, 1996

-----

Senegal

April 11, 1996

October 25, 2006

Seychelles

July 9, 1996

May 23, 2014

Sierra Leone

April 11, 1996

-----

Somalia

February 23, 2006

-----

South Africa

April 11, 1996

March 27, 1998

Sudan

April 11, 1996

-----

Swaziland

April 11, 1996

July 17, 2000

Togo

April 11, 1996

July 18, 2000

Tunisia

April 11, 1996

October 7, 2009

Uganda

April 11, 1996

-----

United Republic of Tanzania

April 11, 1996

June 19, 1998

Zambia

April 11, 1996

April 6, 1998

Zimbabwe

April 11, 1996

April 6, 1998

 Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

Protocol

Subject

States Ratified

Protocol I

Negative security assurances

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

Protocol II

Ban on nuclear testing in zone

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

Protocol III*

Jurisdictional responsibility

France

*(open only to France and Spain)

Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty

Opened for signature: September 8, 2006
Entered into force: March 21, 2009 

States-Parties

Signed

Ratified

Kazakhstan

September 8, 2006

February 19, 2009

Kyrgyzstan

September 8, 2006

July 27, 2007

Tajikistan

September 8, 2006

January 13, 2009

Turkmenistan

September 8, 2006

January 17, 2009

Uzbekistan

September 8, 2006

May 10, 2007

 Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

Protocol

Subject

States Ratified

Protocol I*

Negative security assurances

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

*United States signed but has not ratified


Notes:

1. The treaty specified that the full zone would not enter into force until it was ratified by all states within the zones. That did not occur until Cuba ratified the treaty in 2002. However, the treaty permitted individual states to waive that provision and declare themselves bound by the treaty, which many did beginning in 1968.

2. Russia is recognized as inheriting the Soviet Union's treaty commitments.

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

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Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: China

July 2017

Updated: July 2017

China, one of the five nuclear weapons states under the NPT, is estimated, as of June 2019, to possess 290 nuclear warheads, an arsenal that has steadily increased in recent years. It has simultaneously sought to modernize and expand its nuclear delivery systems, which include some 143 nuclear-capable land-based missiles and a limited number of submarines, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. China’s self stated nuclear policy has been to keep its capabilities at the minimum level required to maintain its national security and to deter a potential first strike, and it was the first nation to declare a “No First Use” policy.

Contents

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Six-Party Talks
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

---

1992

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

---

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

---

1989*

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

____

2009

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Biological Weapons Convention

---

1984

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

2010

*China stated that it will not be bound by the dispute settlement procedures in Paragraph 2, Article 17

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Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Group

Status

Australia Group

Not a member

Missile Technology Control Regime

Not a member.  China, in 2004, applied for membership, but Beijing did not receive the necessary consensus approval of the group because the United States and some other countries continue to find fault with Chinese missile and technology exports. China says it abides by the MTCR guidelines.

Nuclear Suppliers Group

Member

Wassenaar Arrangement

Not a member

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signatory, entered into force in 2002

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Participant

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation

Not a participant

Proliferation Security Initiative

Not a participant

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

China has filed reports on activities to fulfill the resolutions

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
China does not publicly release information about the size of its nuclear arsenal. As of June 2019, China is estimated to possess 290 warheads. China’s nuclear arsenal has been steadily increasing with respective figures placed at 240 in 2011 and 250 in 2013 and 260 in 2016 and 280 in 2018.  China’s warheads are thought to be kept in storage under central control during times of peace. It is uncertain whether or not China possesses a non-strategic nuclear arsenal.

China's nuclear policy has been defined by possessing the minimum capabilities needed to deter a first strike from a potential aggressor.

Delivery Systems
Nuclear Modernization

  • China’s nuclear delivery systems are undergoing modernization programs, keeping with the modernization efforts of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Such efforts are viewed by Chinese leaders as essential for achieving great power status and advancing national interests and sovereign claims.
  • Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris report that, “The modernized force is more mobile, responsive, and accurate, and can overwhelm a limited US ballistic missile defense system." 
  • According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), China continues to field new and more advanced nuclear delivery systems with improved range and destructive capability.
  • China’s decision to switch some of its missiles from liquid to solid fuel has improved their capabilities, in both range and promptness of launch. 

 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • China appears to maintain a minimal force of nuclear-armed ICBMs to ensure Beijing’s ability to execute a second strike.
  • Estimates place China as having around 143 nuclear-capable land-based missiles capable of delivering approximately 163 warheads. A 2016 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists report estimates that around 50-75 of these land-based missiles are ICBMs, whereas the DOD’s annual military power report on China in 2017 figures China's ICBM arsenal at around 75-100 ICBMs. Only 40-50 of China’s ICBMs are capable of targeting the continental United States. 
  • China’s ICBM arsenal contains:
    • DF-4 (CSS-3): 5,500+ km range. 
    • DF-5A (CSS-4, Mod 2): 13,000+ km range.
    • DF-5B (CSS-4, Mod 3): ~12,000 km range. The DF-5B is a variant of the DF-5A upgraded to carry MIRVs.
    • DF-5C: on Jan. 31 2017, it was reported that China had flight tested the DF-5C, fixed with 10 warheads—a breakthrough in China’s nuclear weapons development. However, some experts are skeptical of this claim. The DF-5C is reported to be a two-stage, liquid-fueled missile with a range of around 8,000 miles (approximately 13,000 km).
    • DF-31 (CSS-10, Mod 1): 7,000+ km range.
    • DF-31A (CSS-10 Mod 2): 11,000+ km range.
    • DF-41: in development; flight-tested in 2016 with two MIRVs. It is a three-stage, solid propellant missile with an estimated range of 12,000-15,000 km and is believed to be able to carry up to ten warheads. The DF-41 is intended to replace the older liquid-fueled DF-5As.
  • China is in the process of replacing the older liquid-fueled missiles such as the DF-4 and DF-5A with the solid-fueled ICBMs.
  • In January 2017, the DF-41, never publically displayed before, was alleged to have been deployed at the Russian border, although many experts believe it has not completed development. 
  • China’s land-based missiles, both conventional and nuclear, are under the control of the PLA Rocket Force, a command of 100,000 personnel.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)

  • As of March 2017, China has a fleet of 4 Jin-class (Type 094) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The Jin-class SSBNs are designed to carry the new JL-2 SLBMs.
  • An additional 4 Jin-class SSBNs have been commissioned and at least one is under construction.
  • China possesses two SLBM types:
    • JL-1 (CSS-NX-3): estimated range of 1,000+ km. JL-1 missiles are being replaced by JL-2s.
    • JL-2 (CSS-NX-14): a modified version of the DF-31 ICBM; estimated range of 7,000+ km but some estimates place the number at 8,000-9,000 km.
  • Five Jin-class submarines may enter service before China begins developing and fielding its next-generation SSBN, the Type 096, over the coming decade. The type 096 submarine is expected to carry both the JL-2 and a new missile, the JL-3, which is to be the JL-2’s anticipated successor.
  • Despite various claims to the contrary, it is unclear whether or not Chinese submarines have undergone any deterrent patrols. Beginning in early 2015, it was reported that a Chinese SSBN has undergone a 95-day patrol. 

Strategic Bombers

  • China has begun to update its outdated nuclear-capable bomber fleet.
  • According to a DOD report, China continued, in 2015, to develop long-range bombers, including some that Chinese military analysts have described as “capable of performing strategic deterrence.”
  • The PLA air force was assigned a “strategic deterrence” mission in 2012.
  • As of December 2016, China’s fleet of nuclear-capable bombers consisted of about 20 Hong-6 (H-6) bombers based on Soviet designs, with a range of only 3,100+ km.  
  • The H-6 bombers are only capable of delivering an unspecified number of gravity-based bombs but are not believed to be assigned an active nuclear mission.
  • Media reports suggest that China may develop a new nuclear bomber capability in the future.
  • The PLA Air Force operates a fully redesigned H-6 variant known as the H-6k that has an extended range and is capable of carrying six land attack cruise missiles.
  • In March 2017 it was announced that the 5th generation Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jet had entered into service, putting China one step closer to rivaling U.S. air superiority in East Asia.  

Fissile Material

  • Although China has not publicly declared a halt to the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium, general speculation is that Beijing has stopped its production. China is reported to have last produced HEU in 1989 and last produced separated plutonium in 1991.
  • The International Panel on Fissile Material's 2015 report estimates that China maintains a stockpile of 18 ± 4 metric tons of military HEU and 1.8 ± 0.5 metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium. At the present, the limited size of China’s military stockpile restricts its ability to produce more warheads.
  • China has not declared a civilian HEU stockpile and, as of 2016, maintains an estimated civilian plutonium stockpile of only 25.6 kg.

Proliferation Record

  • China has a record of assisting states with nuclear and missile programs in the past, but in 2000, China made a public commitment not to assist “in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.”
  • China has aided Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs among other states. Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia have also been identified as recipients of sensitive technologies and materials from China.
  • The China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC)—with government authorization—has exported Miniature Neutron Source Reactors (MNSR) to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Ghana, and Nigeria. These reactors run on highly enriched uranium fuel, albeit a fraction of what is necessary for a nuclear warhead, which has been supplied by China to recipient states.
  • There have been efforts made by China to work with those states to convert these reactors to use low enriched uranium fuel, including a 2010 agreement between the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory and the China Institute of Atomic Energy for a new facility in China to produce LEU replacement cores in MNSR's.
  • Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) members, including the United States, saw enough improvement in China’s nuclear export behavior that they extended membership to China in 2004.
    • Nonetheless, China has sold reactors to Pakistan, as was revealed in a 2010 agreement between the two nations. This trade, however, contravenes NSG guidelines.
  • China’s bid to join the Missile Technology Control Regime failed in 2004, due to continuing concerns about Chinese missile and missile technology transactions. China, however, maintains that it voluntarily abides by the regime’s guidelines.
  • A 2017 State Department Compliance report cited that “in 2016, Chinese entities continued to supply missile programs of proliferation concern.”
  • Chinese entities have been regularly sanctioned for nonproliferation violations  by the U.S. government. For example, several Chinese entities were sanctioned under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) sanctions in 2016.
  • The United States has also, at various times, imposed sanctions on Chinese entities for missile and chemical weapons related transfers to Pakistan and Iran such as the provision of dual-use chemical weapons precursors and production equipment to Iran beginning in 1997.

Nuclear Doctrine
China was the first nuclear-weapon state to declare publicly that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. Beijing has emphasized that this vow stands “at any time or under any circumstances.” However, the omission of China’s “No First Use” policy from its 2013 defense white paper caused considerable concern amongst U.S. analysts. Nevertheless, in its 2015 military strategy white paper it reaffirmed its no first use policy and further pledged not to engage in a nuclear arms race. The report also states,

"China has always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for maintaining its national security. China will optimize its nuclear force structure, improve strategic early warning, command and control, missile penetration, rapid reaction, and survivability and protection, and deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China."

Regardless, some theorize that the modernization of China’s nuclear arsenal, its intent on increasing its nuclear warfare capabilities, and its posturing demonstrate a doctrine of counternuclear coercion or limited deterrence.

China has conducted 45 nuclear tests. The first test occurred Oct. 16, 1964, and the last test took place July 29, 1996.

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Biological Weapons

  • China contends it is in compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) despite U.S. allegations asserting the contrary. U.S. State Department compliance assessment reports have said that China possessed an offensive biological weapons capability prior to joining the BWC in 1984.
  • The 2015 report indicates that China "engaged during the reporting period in biological activities with potential dual-use applications. However, the information did not establish that China is engaged in activities prohibited by the BWC." The 2017 compliance report does not cite any Chinese violations.

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Chemical Weapons

  • China has declared that it has destroyed all chemical weapon agent production facilities and solely conducts defensive chemical warfare research.
  • Beijing’s official position emphasizes the complete prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons. In the past, the U.S. government has alleged that China may be violating its Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) commitments by secretly pursuing chemical weapons programs.
  • The State Department’s 2010 compliance report concluded that “available information does not allow the United States to confirm whether China has fully declared or explained its historical CW [chemical weapon] activities, including CW production, disposition of produced CW agents, and transfer of CW agents to another country.” The State Department's 2017 CWC report did not list any Chinese compliance issues.
  • China inherited approximately 700,000 abandoned chemical weapon (ACW) munitions from the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II. Many of these ACWs are not easily located or properly stored; many of them are buried.
  • Japan, as of 2017, continues to jointly work with China to destroy these ACWs. Destruction began in March 2010. In November 2014, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Japan to speed up the destruction process. As of December 2014, 50,800 ACWs had been recovered in China, of which 37,373 were verifiably destroyed. 

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
At the 65-member CD, China expressed support for negotiation of an “effectively verifiable” fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) while declaring its top priority to be the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). Chinese insistence that the conference take some action on the outer space issue in parallel with any negotiations on a cutoff treaty and the U.S. opposition to that approach has, as of 2017, contributed to the stalemate of the conference over the past several years. In 2003, China said it would accept discussions on outer space rather than formal negotiations but that formulation remained unacceptable to the United States. China, however, did not agree to a 2007 compromise formula, including talks on outer space, which the United States said it would not oppose. China refused to participate in Australian and Japanese-led side meetings at the CD in 2011, insisting that the CD was the only proper conduit for FMCT negotiations. The U.S. has stated that the lack of support by China and other key countries resulted in the failure of the side meetings to make progress. China believes that a FMCT should not restrict the use of existing fissile material for weapons purposes.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
China has ratified additional protocols to the Latin American and Caribbean, South Pacific, African, and Central Asian nuclear weapons free zone treaties pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the treaty’s member states. However, China maintains a reservation to additional Protocol II of the South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone. It has not ratified the Southeast Asia nuclear weapons free zone treaty.   

Nuclear Security Summits
China participated in all four Nuclear Security Summits. China played an active role in these summits and in the 2014 NSS, President Xi Jinping put forward a Chinese approach to nuclear security for the first time.

Six-Party Talks
China played a key role in hosting and helping mediate the so-called six-party talks to achieve North Korea’s nuclear disarmament. Although those talks broke down in 2008 and have yet to resume, China maintains that they remain an effective mechanism for achieving disarmament in North Korea.  However, amidst mounting pressure and criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration for China to take charge of the North Korean threat, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated, in February 2017, that “we have said many times already that the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is the problem between the United States and North Korea,” and that “the Trump White House needs to make the first move and talk to Pyongyang.”

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
China took part in the negotiation of the July 2015 JCPOA, which limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program. Despite being a “quiet negotiator” in these talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed, at the conclusion of negotiation, that “at some important points when the negotiation met with the difficulties and reached the deadlocks, China had actively explored ideas and approaches to resolve the problems and put forward its own solutions from a perspective taking into consideration of the common interests of all parties.”

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The Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs) on Tactical Nuclear Weapons at a Glance

July 2017

Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107; Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

Updated: July 2017

Near the Cold War’s end, leaders in Washington and Moscow made reciprocal unilateral pledges to substantially limit and reduce their nuclear weaponry, most notably their tactical or “battlefield” nuclear weapons, such as nuclear artillery shells. President George H.W. Bush initiated these commitments, collectively known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs), in September 1991 in recognition of the break up of the Eastern bloc and out of concern for the Kremlin’s ability to maintain control of its vast nuclear arsenal as political changes swept the Soviet Union. By pledging to end foreign deployments of entire categories of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, Bush hoped that leaders in Moscow would follow suit; and they did, at least in part. All Soviet nuclear weapons were reportedly successfully consolidated on Russian soil. Still, Washington alleges Moscow has not yet fulfilled all of its PNI destruction commitments. Meanwhile, Russia opposes the continued stationing of U.S. tactical nuclear gravity bombs in Europe, which the PNIs did not cover. Despite lingering concerns about each other’s tactical nuclear weapons, the two sides have not negotiated further reductions or transparency measures for these arms since the early 1990s.

U.S. Presidential Nuclear Initiatives:

On Sept. 27, 1991, Bush announced a raft of unilateral initiatives to limit and reduce the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons arsenal. Specifically, he pledged to:

  • withdraw to the United States all ground-launched short-range weapons deployed overseas and destroy them along with existing U.S. stockpiles of the same weapons; and
  • cease deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on surface ships, attack submarines, and land-based naval aircraft during “normal circumstances.” Implicitly, the United States reserved the right to redeploy these arms in a crisis.

Soviet/Russian Presidential Nuclear Initiatives:

On Oct. 5, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev responded to Bush’s speech with reciprocal Soviet measures. Specifically, Gorbachev committed to:

  • eliminate all nuclear artillery munitions, nuclear warheads for tactical missiles, and nuclear mines;
  • remove all tactical nuclear weapons from surface ships and multipurpose submarines. These weapons would be stored in central storage sites along with all nuclear arms assigned to land-based naval aircraft; and
  • separate nuclear warheads from air defense missiles and put the warheads in central storage. A “portion” would be destroyed.

On Jan. 29, 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin reaffirmed Gorbachev’s commitments and expanded on them in response to a second round of unilateral U.S. nuclear weapons cutbacks focused on strategic forces. (Following the Soviet Union’s Dec. 25, 1991 collapse, Russia assumed responsibility for the Soviet Union’s nuclear complex and arms control commitments.) Yeltsin said Russia would:

  • eliminate a third of its sea-based tactical nuclear weapons and half of its ground-to-air nuclear missile warheads; and
  • halve its airborne tactical nuclear weapons stockpile. Pending reciprocal U.S. action, the other half of this stockpile would be taken out of service and placed in central storage depots.

Implementation:

A precise accounting of U.S. and Soviet/Russian fulfillment of their tactical nuclear weapons PNIs is difficult because of ambiguity, then and now, surrounding the composition, size, and location of these arms. By 1991, the United States had nearly 5,000 tactical nuclear weapons deployed overseas, most of which were assigned to NATO. Estimates on the size of the Soviet tactical nuclear arsenal at that same time ranged widely from 12,000 to nearly 21,700 weapons.

The United States completed its proposed reductions and withdrawals of deployed tactical nuclear weapons in 1992. The elimination process was finished in 2003.

As a result of the PNIs, the U.S. withdrew and destroyed around 2,000 ground-launched nuclear artillery shells and short-range ballistic missiles, all TNWs on navy surface ships and attack submarines, and on land-based naval aircraft, destroyed all nuclear depth bombs, de-alerted strategic bombers, and cancelled planned nuclear systems. By the mid-1990s, the stockpile of TNWs fell to below 1,000 warheads. Between 1990 and the end of 1994 (when the START Treaty entered into force), the U.S. nuclear stockpile of active and inactive warheads fell from 21,392 to 10,979, a 50 percent reduction.

At a Dec. 21, 1991 conference at Alma-Ata, the Soviet Republics of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine pledged to return all Soviet tactical nuclear weapons on their territories to Russia by July 1, 1992. All three states met their commitments despite the Soviet Union’s breakup four days after these pledges were made. Otherwise, Russia has released little information substantiating its PNI activities. At the May 2005 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, Moscow announced that all Russian tactical nuclear weapons “are now deployed only within the national territory and are concentrated at central storage facilities of the Ministry of Defense.” In 2007, Colonel-General Vladimir Verkhovtsev remarked, “Russia particularly committed itself to removing tactical nuclear weapons from the ground forces completely. Those weapons were also cut by 50 percent in the Air Force, by 60 percent in missile defense troops and by 30 percent on nuclear submarines of the Russian Navy,” the general said.

 Still, the Department of State has publicly questioned Russia’s PNI record. Specifically, it noted in June 2005, “Russia has failed to state publicly the status of the elimination of its nuclear artillery munitions, nuclear warheads for air defense missiles, nuclear mines, or nuclear weapons on land-based naval aviation.” These concerns were not expressed in the 2017 State Department Compliance Report, however.

Current Status:

As of 2016, the United States possesses about 500 B61 gravity bombs, 150-200 of which deployed in five European countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey). As of 2017, Russia retains approximately 1850 nonstrategic weapons, all of which are stored on Russian territory.

Since the PNIs, the United States and Russia have not agreed on additional measures to share information on or limit their tactical nuclear weapons. The two countries agreed in March 1997 to explore measures relating to tactical nuclear weapons, but nothing came of this effort. In June 2005, Russia conditioned additional talks on tactical nuclear weapons to the U.S. withdrawal of its remaining nuclear weapons in Europe. The United States has said these weapons are deployed as part of NATO policy and that a decision to withdraw them would need to be taken by all alliance members. In 2005, Congress passed legislation calling on the Bush administration to investigate measures to help Russia account for and secure its tactical arms and assess whether tactical nuclear reductions with Russia should be pursued.

In 2010, the Barack Obama administration stated that it was the goal of the United States to seek further reductions in all types of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons—strategic and nonstrategic, deployed or nondeployed—following the conclusion of the 2010 New START talks. The 2010 NATO Strategic Concept states that the goal of the alliance is to "seek Russian agreement to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of NATO members." officials insist that the U.S. should first withdraw all of its tactical nuclear weapons to its national territory. In the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Obama Administration announced a unilateral retirement of the Navy’s stockpile of nuclear-armed submarine launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). 

In April 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the U.S. could remove nuclear weapons from Europe in exchange for a reduction in the size of Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons arsenal. In 2013, Obama gave a speech advocating for the U.S. to work with European allies and Russia to negotiate future reductions in nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

However, to date the United States and Russia have not commenced talks regarding additional cuts on nonstrategic weapons, and a range of arms control disputes threatens to continue to obstruct progress on the matter. Russia is unlikely to discuss cuts to its nonstrategic nuclear weapons arsenal until the United States removes nonstrategic nuclear forces from Europe and agrees to limitations of its ballistic missile defense program. 

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Proposed Major U.S. Arms Export Agreements, January 2016—December 2016

Countries which sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2016 and their specific requests


The value of proposed U.S. major conventional arms sales agreements totaled nearly $63 billion in 2016—the second highest amount during Barack Obama’s 8-year presidency. More than two-thirds (nearly $44 billion) involved just four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia—that each requested greater than $5 billion in sales. Other state requests amounting to at least $1 billion came from Australia, Iraq, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom. In total, notifications were made involving 26 different countries plus NATO in 2016.

In 2016, the U.S. Congress approved the sale to Qatar of the new F-15QA fighter aircraft to Qatar, which is likely to be a variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle shown here. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon II)The United States conducts government-to-government arms transfers through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Not all notified sales result in final transactions. Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of proposed sales of “major defense equipment”—as defined on the U.S. Munitions List—that equals or exceeds $14 million; defense articles and services that are not defined as “major defense equipment” that total $50 million or more; and construction or design services amounting to or surpassing $200 million.[1] However, if the proposed sale involves NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, or New Zealand, the notification thresholds are $25 million for major defense equipment, $100 million for other defense articles and services, and $300 million for construction or design services.[2] Once notified, Congress has 30 calendar days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand) to block a sale by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, although it has never stopped a sale once formally notified.

Arms sales notified in 2016 appeared consistent with efforts made by President Obama to gain regional support from GCC members during the negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action addressing Iran’s nuclear program. In May 2015, Obama pledged to “help our Gulf partners improve their own capacity to defend themselves” and to “streamline and expedite the transfer of critical defense capabilities.” 

In 2016, Qatar requested the most expensive package of arms sales agreements – more than $22 billion – with weapons, training, and support for 72 F-15QA fighter aircraft comprising the lion’s share ($21.5 billion). Other requests included support and engines for 8 C-17 heavy lift aircraft, 50 Javelin guided missiles, as well as fast patrol boats. 

Kuwait followed Qatar as the only country requesting more than $10 billion in arms sales in 2016 (approximately $12.45 billion). Most of the proposed sales to Kuwait consisted of 40 F/A 18E/F Super Hornets and related equipment, training and support ($10.1 billion). Kuwait also requested equipment to recapitalize 218 M1A2 tanks, support for its F-18 C/D fighter aircraft, radar systems, and 750 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits designed to make gravity bombs into precision-guided weapons.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia requested sales valued at approximately $5 billion each. Of all proposed sales in 2016, those to Riyadh proved most controversial. In September, 27 senators voted unsuccessfully to block a proposed $1.15 billion sale to provide or repair 153 tanks. In December, the administration notified Congress of a larger $3.5 billion potential sale comprised of 48 CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment, training and support. In 2015 and 2016, Saudi Arabia faced national and international condemnation for its conduct leading a coalition fighting in Yemen, during which hospitals and other civilian areas were attacked by Saudi forces. 

The UAE’s 2016 request included 37 Apache helicopters, 400 Hellfire missiles, and more than 14,000 bombs among its primarily airpower-focused potential purchases.

Below is a chart of the top five countries that sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2016, along with some of their specific requests. 

Country

Total Value

Weapons/Services

Qatar

$22.29 billion

  • 72 F-15QA multirole fighter aircraft
  • Support and parts for 8 C-17 aircraft
  • 50 Javelin missiles
  • MkV Fast Patrol Boats, including weapons & training

Kuwait

$12.45 billion

  • 32 F/A 18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft
  • 8 F/A 18F Super Hornet fighter aircraft
  • Recapitalization of 218 M1A2 tanks
  • 750 JDAM tail kits for 500-pound bombs (250), 1000-pound bombs (250), and 2000-pound bombs (250 kits)

United Arab Emirates

$5.06 billion

  • 28 AH-64E Apache helicopters (remanufactured)
  • 9 AH-64E Apache helicopters (new)
  • 14,640 bombs with related fuzes and guidance kits (for BLU 109, 111 and 117 bombs)
  • 4000 AGM-114 R/K Hellfire missiles

Saudi Arabia

$5.01 billion

  • 48 CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters
  • 153 M1Al/A2 tank structures for conversion to 133 M1A2S main battle tanks and 20 battle damage replacements for existing tanks

United Kingdom

$4.20 billion

  • 9 P-8A maritime patrol aircraft
  • 26 Certifiable Predator B remotely piloted aircraft

Below is a table of all 26 states, along with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, which requested U.S. arms sales in 2016, in billions of dollars, in order:

Country

Total value
($ billion)

Qatar

22.29

Kuwait

12.45

UAE

5.06

Saudi Arabia

5.01

United Kingdom

4.20

Iraq

3.35

Japan

2.72

Australia

2.02

Norway

1.75

Pakistan

.699

Peru

.668

Oman

.311

Argentina

.300

Israel

.300

Egypt

.294

NATO

.231

South Korea

.206

Poland

.200

Finland

.156

Chile

.140

France

.120

Jordan

.115

Morocco

.108

Tunisia

.101

Indonesia

.095

Afghanistan

.060

Philippines

.025

Below are the total values of all notified requests each year from 1997 to 2016, in billions of U.S. dollars, as compiled each year (in current dollars, unadjusted for inflation):

Year

Total Value
($, billions, current US dollars)

2016

63

2015

51

2014

40

2013

56

2012

53

2011

25

2010

103

2009

39

2008

75

2007

39

2006

37

2005

12

2004

12

2003

7

2002

16

2001

19

2000

12

1999

21

1998

12

1997

11

—JEFF ABRAMSON, nonresident senior fellow, and ALICIA JENSEN and DANIELLE PRESKITT, research interns

ENDNOTES

1. The Department of State is also required to report to Congress any commercial sales it approves of “major defense equipment” that amount to $14 million or more, defense articles and services that equal or exceed $50 million, and any items defined as “significant military equipment.” As in the case of FMS sales, Congress can block the sale with a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 calendar days of notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea). Commercially licensed sales of firearms controlled under category I of the U.S. Munitions List valued at $1 million or more must also be notified to Congress but are not considered here. There are no official compilations of commercial agreement data comparable to the FMS notifications and what exists is often incomplete and less precise than data on government-to-government transactions (Theohary, Catherine A., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015, Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, December 19, 2016, p. 16). The annual Section 655 report, prepared by the State and Defense Departments for Congress, details commercial licenses approved, but states have four years to act under the licenses. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has final responsibility for license applications for commercial defense trade exports and all issues related to defense trade compliance, enforcement, and reporting.

2. Congress approved the higher notification thresholds for NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand in legislation passed in September 2002. South Korea was added to this list in 2008, and Israel was added in 2010. Congress, however, is free to pass legislation to block or modify an arms sale at any time up to the point of delivery of the items involved.

Sources: Congressional Research Service, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Department of State. For more details on Foreign Military Sales and other U.S. programs that result in arms transfer authorizations and deliveries, please also see the Security Assistance Monitor.

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UN Security Council Resolutions on North Korea

January 2018

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: January 2018

The United Nations Security Council has adopted nine major sanctions resolutions on North Korea in response to the country’s nuclear and missile activities since 2006.

Each resolution condemns North Korea’s latest nuclear and ballistic missile activity and calls on North Korea to cease its illicit activity, which violates previous UN Security Council resolutions. All nine resolutions were unanimously adopted by the Security Council and all but Resolution 2087 (January 2013) contain references to acting under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the United Nations Charter.

In addition to imposing sanctions, the resolutions give UN member states the authority to interdict and inspect North Korean cargo within their territory, and subsequently seize and dispose of illicit shipments.

The resolutions also call upon North Korea to rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it acceded to in 1985 but withdrew from in 2003 after U.S. allegations that the country was pursuing an illegal uranium enrichment program. The Security Council also has called for North Korea to return to negotiations in the Six-Party Talks, which include South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. The Six-Party talks, which took place from 2003-2009, resulted in a joint statement on denuclearization. North Korea also dismantled its plutonium-producing reactor as part of the process, although it has subsequently restarted the reactor. For more on the Six-Party talks, click here.

The United Nations monitors implementation of North Korea sanctions through the 1718 Committee, established by Security Council Resolution 1718 in 2006 and a Panel of Experts, established by Security Council Resolution 1874 in 2009. The panel produces regular reports to the Security Council on the status of the sanctions and enforcement.

Prior to passing the first sanctions resolution in 2006, the Security Council passed several resolutions condemning North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities. In response to North Korea’s announcement of intent to withdraw from the NPT in 1993, the Security Council passed Resolution 825, urging North Korea to remain party to the NPT and to honor its nonproliferation obligations under the treaty. Resolution 1695 was passed in 2006 in response to ballistic missile launches in July, and calls on North Korea to suspend activities related to its ballistic missile program. Additional Security Council resolutions on North Korea serve to extend the 1718 Committee mandate. They are not included in this list, but can be found here.

 

UN Security Council Resolutions Quick Links

  

Resolution 1718 (2006)

Resolution 1874 (2009)

Resolution 2087 (2013)

Resolution 2094 (2013)

Resolution 2270 (2016)

Resolution 2321 (2016)

Resolution 2371 (2017)

Resolution 2375 (2017)

Resolution 2379 (2017)

 

Security Council Resolution 1718

Resolution 1718 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on October 14, 2006, shortly after North Korea’s first nuclear test on October 9. The full text of Resolution 1718 is available here.

Resolution 1718’s Principal Provisions

Resolution 1718:

  • Demands North Korea refrain from further nuclear or missile tests.
  • Demands North Korea return to the NPT.
  • Decides North Korea shall suspend all ballistic missile activities.
  • Decides North Korea shall abandon its nuclear program in a “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” manner.
  • Decides North Korea shall abandon all WMD activities.
  • Calls upon North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks.

Resolution 1718’s Principal Sanctions

Member states are prohibited from the “direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer” to North Korea, of:

  • Heavy weaponry, such as tanks, armored vehicles, large caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missile systems
  • Spare parts for the above mentioned heavy weaponry
  • Materials and technologies that could contribute to North Korea’s WMD programs and ballistic missile related activities, as set out in prior Security Council documents
  • Luxury goods

Member states are also required to:

  • Freeze the funds or financial assets of entities designated by the Security Council as providing support for North Korea’s nuclear, missile, and other WMD programs

Resolution 1718’s Monitoring Mechanisms

The resolution established a committee composed of the 15 current members of the Security Council to function as a monitoring body to review and adjust the imposed sanctions and violations of the sanctions. The body was to provide a report on the status of sanctions implementation every 90 days.

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Security Council Resolution 1874

Resolution 1874 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on June 12, 2009, shortly after North Korea’s second nuclear test, which took place May 25. The full text of Resolution 1874 is available here.

Resolution 1874’s Principal Provisions

The resolution reiterated a number of provisions from Resolution 1718. It also called upon North Korea to join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Resolution 1874’s Principal Sanctions

Sanctions in Resolution 1874 built off several measures first laid out in Resolution 1718. The resolution expanded the arms embargo by banning all imports and exports of weapons, excluding small arms (which required Security Council notification).

Member states were also authorized to:

  • Inspect North Korea cargo on land, air, and sea, if the state has reason to believe that it contains prohibited items and seize any prohibited materials or technologies
  • Prohibit bunkering services for North Korean ships if the state has reason to believe it is carrying illicit cargo

In addition, member states were called upon to:

  • Prohibit public financial support for trade with North Korea that would contributed to nuclear, ballistic missile, or WMD-related activities
  • Refuse new loads or credit to North Korea, except for humanitarian or development purposes

Resolution 1874’s Monitoring Mechanisms

Resolution 1874 set up a seven-member expert panel to assist the sanctions committee in enforcing the resolution and monitor implementation. Known as the ‘Panel of Experts,’ the group was initially given a mandate for one year and was required to report regularly to the Sanctions Committee on possible violations and recommendations for improving implementation. Later resolutions extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts.

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Security Council Resolution 2087

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2087 on January 22, 2013 after a successful North Korean satellite launch on December 12, 2012. The launch was a violation of Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), which prohibited any further development of technology applicable to North Korea’s ballistic missile programs. The full text of Resolution 2087 is available here.

Resolution 2087’s Principal Provisions

Resolution 2087 called for other states to “remain vigilant” in monitoring individuals and entities associated with the North Korean regime. It also directed the sanctions committee to issue an Implementation Assistance Notice if a vessel refused to allow an inspection authorized by its flag state.

Resolution 2087’s Principal Sanctions

Resolution 2087 built on sanctions included in Resolutions 1718 and 1874 including:

  • Clarifying the catch-all provision
  • Clarifying the state’s right to seize and destroy material suspected of heading to or from North Korea
  • Directing the sanctions committee to take action to designate individuals or entities that have assisted in sanctions evasion

Resolution 2087 also listed individuals subject now to the travel ban and asset freeze penalties, and entities subject to the asset freeze penalties, for violations under Resolutions 1718 and 1874.

Resolution 2087’s Monitoring Mechanisms

No new monitoring mechanisms were included in Resolution 2087.

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Security Council Resolution 2094

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2094 on March 7, 2013 in response to North Korea’s third nuclear test on February 12, 2013. The full text of the resolution is available here.

Resolution 2094’s Principal Provisions

Unlike prior resolutions, 2094 explicitly mentioned North Korea’s uranium enrichment in its condemnation of Pyongyang’s nuclear activities.

Additionally, this resolution

  • Expressed concern that North Korea was abusing immunities granted to its diplomats by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations
  • Welcomed the Financial Action Task Force’s new recommendation on targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation and urged member states to apply the recommendations

Resolution 2094’s Principal Sanctions

Resolution 2094 expands a number of sanctions measures from earlier resolutions, such as adding nuclear and missile dual-use technologies and luxury goods to the list of banned imports.

Resolution 2094 also designated additional individuals and entities for asset freezes and the travel ban and expanded the designation criteria to include persons or entities suspected of acting on the behalf or controlled by any persons or entities already sanctioned.

The resolution aims to make it more difficult for North Korea to make further progress in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs by hindering its access to hard cash and technological equipment needed to build weapons and pursue uranium enrichment.

The resolution also strengthened the interdiction and oversight authorities for member states by:

  • calling for states to inspect and detain any suspected cargo or shipments to or from North Korea that transit through their territory, if the cargo is suspected to contain bulk cash or material that could be used in a nuclear program.
  • Directing states to enhance vigilance over North Korea’s diplomatic personnel

New financial sanctions included in the resolution:

  • blocked the North Korea regime from bulk cash transfers
  • restricted North Korea’s ties to international banking systems

Resolution 2094’s Monitoring Mechanisms

The resolution expanded the panel of experts that assesses implementation of UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea to eight people.

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Security Council Resolution 2270

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270 on March 2, 2016 after North Korea conducted a fourth nuclear test and launched a satellite for the second time. The full text of the resolution can be found here.

Resolution 2270’s Principal Provisions

Resolution 2270:

  • Prohibits states from providing any specialized teaching or training of North Korean nationals in disciplines which could contribute to North Korea’s proliferation.
  • Emphasizes that the North Korean regime has seriously neglected to meet the needs of the North Korean people and has instead prioritized development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
  • Decides that North Korea shall abandon all chemical and biological weapons and programs and act in accordance with the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention

Resolution 2270’s Principal Sanctions

Resolution 2270 builds upon sanctions measures from prior resolutions, including:

  • Expanding the arms embargo to include small arms and light weapons
  • Prohibiting North Korea from servicing and repairing any weaponry sold to third parties
  • Prohibiting additional luxury goods

Resolution 2270 also expands interdiction and inspection authority for member states to:

  • Mandatory inspections on cargo destined to or originating from North Korea
  • Asset freeze on all North Korean government and Worker’s Party entities associated with prohibited activities

Resolution 2270 also designated an additional 16 individuals and 12 entitles for asset freezes and travel bans.

New financial sanctions place limits on banking activities of North Korean entities abroad including:

  • Prohibiting UN member states from hosting North Korean financial institutions that may be supporting proliferation activities in North Korea
  • Prohibiting states from opening new financial institutions or bank branches in North Korea
  • Requiring states to terminate existing joint ventures within ninety days of the adoption of the resolution

    It also requires that member states repatriate North Korean or other foreign nationals found to be working on behalf of a Security Council resolution-designated entity.

    Member states are also prohibited from:

    • Chartering or leasing vessels to North Korea, or providing crew services to North Korea or North Korean entities
    • Selling or supplying aviation fuel to North Korea so that it cannot be diverted to its ballistic missile program

    Resolution 2270’s Monitoring Mechanisms

    No new monitoring mechanisms were included in Resolution 2270.

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    Security Council Resolution 2321

    The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2321 on November 30, 2016, following North Korea’s fifth nuclear test on September 9. Resolution 2321 significantly expanded sanctions on North Korea.

    The full text of the resolution can be found here.

    Resolution 2321’s Principal Provisions

    Resolution 2321:

    • Calls on all members to reduce the number of staff at DPRK diplomatic missions and consular posts
    • Condemns the DPRK for pursuing nuclear weapons instead of the welfare of its people
    • Emphasizes, for the first time, the need for the DPRK to respect the inherent dignity of its people in its territory

    Resolution 2321’s Principal Sanctions

    Resolution 2321 imposed new sanctions that prohibit North Korea from:

    • Exporting minerals, such as copper, nickel, silver, and zinc
    • Selling statues
    • Selling helicopters
    • Selling or transferring iron and iron ore, with exceptions for livelihood purposes
    • Selling or transferring coal in amounts that exceed a particular cap annually

    Member states were also directed to:

    • Limit the number of bank accounts held by diplomats and missions
    • Suspend scientific and technical cooperation with North Korea, except for medical purposes

    Resolution 2321 also added additional items to the list of prohibited dual-use technologies and designated additional individuals and entities to subject to asset freezes and the travel ban.

    Resolution 2321’s Monitoring Mechanisms

    Resolution 2321 introduced a standard notification form for coal purchases from North Korea to track imports against the cap set by the resolution. The resolution also directed the Panel of Experts to hold meetings designed to address regional concerns and build capacity to implement the measures in 2321 and other North Korea sanctions.

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    Security Council Resolution 2371

    Resolution 2371 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on August 5, 2017 in response to North Korea’s two ICBM tests in July. The United States claimed the new sanctions would prevent North Korea from earning over $1 billion each year, although some experts expressed doubt.  The full text of the resolution can be found here.

    Resolution 2371’s Principal Provisions

    Resolution 2371:

    • Regrets North Korea’s massive diversion of its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of expensive ballistic missile programs
    • Reaffirms the Council's support for the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, reiterates its support for commitments made by the Six Parties, and reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia
    • Decides North Korea shall not deploy or use chemical weapons and calls on North Korea to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and comply with its provisions

    Resolution 2371’s Principal Sanctions

    Resolution 2371 bans the export of several materials, which previous sanctions resolutions had restricted the export of, including:

    • Coal
    • Iron and iron ore
    • Seafood
    • Lead and lead ore

    The resolution also:

    • Adds new sanctions against North Korean individuals and entities, including the Foreign Trade Bank (FTB)
    • Prohibits joint ventures between North Korea and other nations
    • Allows for the Security Council to deny international port access to vessels tied to violating security council resolutions
    • Bans countries from allowing in additional North Korean laborers

    Resolution 2371’s Monitoring Mechanisms

    Resolution 2371 asks Interpol to publish Special Notices on listed North Koreans for travel bans. It also gives the UN Panel of Exerts additional analytical resources to better monitor sanctions enforcement.

    Security Council Resolution 2375

    Following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on September 3, 2017 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UNSCR 2375 on September 11. The resolution, which primarily targeted North Korean oil imports, textile exports and overseas laborers, contained the strongest yet sanctions against North Korea, according to a U.S. press release. The full text of the resolution is available here.

    Resolution 2375’s Principal Provisions

    • Reiterates its deep concern at the grave hardship that the people in the DPRK are subjected to, condemns the DPRK for pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of the welfare of its people
    • Reaffirms its support for the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, and reiterates its support for the commitments set forth in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 issued by China, the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States

    Resolution 2375’s Principal Sanctions

    Resolution 2375:

    • Fully bans textile exports
    • Caps refined petroleum product imports at 2 million barrels per year
    • Freezes the amount of crude oil imports
    • Bans all natural gas and condensate imports
    • Prohibits member states from providing authorizations for North Korean nationals to work in their jurisdictions, unless otherwise determined by the committee established UNSCR 1718
    • Imposes asset freezes on additional North Korean entities, including the Organizational Guidance Department, the Central Military Commission and the Propagation and Agitation Department
    • Directs the 1718 committee to designate vessels transporting prohibited items from North Korea
    • Bans all joint ventures or cooperative entities or the expansion of existing joint ventures with DPRK entities or individuals

    Resolution 2375 also added additional items to the list of prohibited dual-use technologies and designated additional individuals and entities.

    Resolution 2375’s Monitoring Mechanisms

    • Provides further guidance for states to conduct interdictions, without the use of force, if the member states have reason to believe the vessel is carrying prohibited cargo.
    • If a suspected vessel refuses inspection, the flag state must direct the ship to a port for inspection or risk being designated for an asset freeze or denied port access.

    Security Council Resolution 2379

    The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2397 on December 22, 2017 in response to North Korea’s ICBM launch on November 29. The full text of the resolution is available here.

    Resolution 2397’s Principal Provisions

    • Repeats many of the principles expressed in Resolution 2375
    • Acknowledges that North Korean revenue generated by exports and workers overseas contribute to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs

    Resolution 2397’s Principal Sanctions

    • Caps North Korean refined petroleum imports at 500,000 barrels per year
    • Establishes an annual limit of crude oil imports at four million barrels per year
    • Obligates the Security Council to impose additional caps on petroleum imports if North Korea tests another nuclear weapon or ICBM
    • Directs countries to expel all North Korean workers immediately, or in two years at the latest
    • Bans North Korean exports of food, agricultural products, minerals machinery and electrical equipment
    • Bans North Korea from importing heavy machinery, industrial equipment and transportation vehicles
    • Designates an additional 16 individuals and 1 entity to the UN sanctions list

    Resolution 2397’s Monitoring Mechanisms

    • Requires countries to seize and impound ships caught smuggling illicit items, including oil and coal

    Back to the top.

    -Update assistance by Elizabeth Philipp.

    Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

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    The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) At a Glance

    October 2016

    Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

    Updated: October 2016

    President George W. Bush announced May 31, 2003 that the United States would lead a new effort, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related goods to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern. The initiative's aim would be "to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies," Bush declared.

    Participants: Ten countries originally joined with the United States to shape and promote the initiative. These countries are Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In total, 105 countries have publicly committed to the initiative. Membership in PSI only requires a state to endorse the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles, a non-binding document that lays out the framework for PSI activities. PSI participants have downplayed the concept of membership in the initiative, explaining in a press statement that PSI is "an activity not an organization." U.S. officials have courted China to join the regime, but so far it has kept its distance, citing concerns about the legality of interdictions.

    Mission: The initiative aims to stop shipments of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as missiles and goods that could be used to deliver or produce such weapons, to terrorists and countries suspected of trying to acquire WMD. Initiative participants intend to carry out cargo interdictions at sea, in the air, or on land. For some countries this is not a new practice but an enshrinement and expansion of current operations. The United States and other countries have long records of intercepting illegal trade and smuggling activities, including illicit weapons transactions.

    Still, the initiative is designed to make it more costly and risky for proliferators to acquire the weapons or materials they seek. By doing so, members hope that other countries will be dissuaded from pursuing weapons in the first place or experience significant delays in their acquisition efforts.

    PSI is limited to stopping shipments of WMD and dual-use goods-items that have both civilian, peaceful purposes and that can be used to make weapons-to those countries and nonstate actors viewed as threats by PSI participants. Then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton indicated in November 2003 that participants will not be targeting the trade of countries perceived as U.S. allies or friends, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan-all three of which possess WMD arsenals, including nuclear weapons.

    Principles: The 11 original PSI participants released a set of principles September 4, 2003.[2] The principles call on PSI participants, as well as other countries, to not engage in WMD-related trade with countries of proliferation concern and to permit their own vessels and aircraft to be searched if suspected of transporting such goods. The principles further urge that information on suspicious activities be shared quickly to enable possible interdictions and that all vessels "reasonably suspected" of carrying dangerous cargo be inspected when passing through national airports, ports, and other transshipment points.

    Legal Authority: The initiative does not create new law, but rather relies on existing international law to conduct interdictions in international waters or airspace. For example, a ship can be stopped in international waters if it is not flying a national flag or properly registered. It cannot be stopped simply because it is suspected of transporting WMD or related goods. PSI is primarily intended to encourage participating countries to take greater advantage of their own existing national laws to intercept threatening trade passing through their territories, where they have jurisdiction to act. In situations where the legal authority to act may be ambiguous, Bolton said participants might go to the UN Security Council for authorization.

    Although the initiative does not create new law, PSI participants are encouraged to develop their national laws and help promote international treaties that criminalize WMD related trafficking.  PSI member states also seek to expand their legal authority to interdict shipments by signing bilateral boarding agreements with select countries to secure expedited processes or pre-approval for stopping and searching their ships at sea. The United States has concluded such agreements with Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Croatia, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Liberia and Panama possess the largest fleets of registered ocean-going vessels in the world.

    Structure: PSI is an informal arrangement among countries. To date, there is no list of criteria by which interdictions are to be made (except that the cargo is destined for a recipient that might use it to harm the United States or other countries). There is also no secretariat or formal organization that serves as a coordinating body. Instead, participants aim to readily share information among one another as appropriate and to act when necessary to help seize or thwart dangerous trade. One forum for coordination among PSI members is Operational Experts Group (OEG). The OEG consists of delegations from the most active PSI members, which meet periodically to plan exercises, discuss recent interdictions, and share relevant information. There are currently 21 states that participate in the OEG.

    Activities and Interdictions: PSI participants have conducted nearly 50 interdiction exercises since the initiative's inception. The exercises, including mock ship boardings, are intended to increase the participants' capabilities to cooperate with one another. They are also intended to put a public face on the initiative and act as a deterrent to potential proliferators.

    U.S. officials claim that there have been successful interdictions since the initiative's launch. In a June 2006 speech, then-Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph claimed that between April 2005 and April 2006 the United States had cooperated with other PSI participants on “roughly two dozen” occasions to prevent transfers of concern. Ulrik Federspiel, Denmark’s ambassador to the United States, asserted at a May 2005 event that “the shipment of missiles has fallen significantly in the lifetime of PSI.”

    A recent example of a PSI success was the June 2011 interdiction of the M/V Light, a Belizean flagged freighter suspected of carrying ballistic missile technology from North Korea to Myanmar. U.S. naval forces intercepted the vessel, and forced it to return to North Korea. Although the M/V Light was turned back before it was inspected, the United States would have had the legal authority to do so through its ship-boarding agreement with Belize, a PSI member state.

    Status: On May 28, 2013, representatives from seventy-two PSI member states held a High Level Political Meeting in Warsaw on the 10th anniversary of the PSI’s formation. Attending states affirmed four joint statements pledging to conduct “more regular and robust” PSI exercises; promote international treaties criminalizing WMD-related trafficking; share expertise and resources to enhance interdiction capabilities; and to expand “the influence of the PSI globally through outreach to new states and the public.” The United States pledged at the 2013 Warsaw meeting to accede to the 2005 Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation. The United States deposited its ratification in August 2015. 

    A mid-level meeting took place in Washington, DC in January 2016 that included representatives from 71 countries. Thomas Countryman, U.S. assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said that participants discussed topics such as trends in proliferation, tactics that networks use to ship sensitive materials and technologies, and options to control proliferation financing. Countryman also said that countries shared expertise and resources that should contribute to building countries’ ability to carry out interdictions.

    Updated by Ian Williams

    Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

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