Foreign Affairs Research Specialist Karla Mae G. Pabeliña of the Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI) Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) participated in the Regional Seminar on Disarmament and Non-proliferation for ASEAN Countries titled “Preventing Ballistic Proliferation: Between Confidence-Building Measures and Technological Developments” held on 15 May 2018 in Singapore.
Convened by the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), with the support of the European Union (EU), and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), the seminar sought to raise awareness on the role of The Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) Against Ballistic Missiles in strengthening disarmament and nonproliferation mechanisms. Adopted in 2002, the HCoC is aimed at increasing transparency and promoting confidence to curb and discourage ballistic missile proliferation. There are currently 139 subscribing states, including the Philippines, Singapore, and Cambodia in Southeast Asia.
In her presentation, Ms. Pabeliña highlighted the preeminent global concern over the continuing spread and maturation of missile technologies and the emergence of indigenous capabilities. She also noted that reaching consensus on how to regulate missiles remains an extremely complicated issue. The proliferation of missile technology remains linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Without such missiles, nuclear weapons would arguably have significantly less deterrence capacity. The HCoC is therefore important in contributing to the process of strengthening existing national security arrangements and disarmament and nonproliferation mechanisms. The implementation of transparency measures, such as the annual declaration of Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Vehicle policies and programs and pre-launch notification, helps build confidence as to the peaceful intention of states. It can reduce—even eliminate—misunderstandings, mistrusts, and miscalculations. In a global environment marked by uncertainty, the HCoC provides a mechanism for improved interaction and in clarifying information.
The regional seminar was attended by government representatives from both the HCoC subscribing and non-subscribing states, intergovernmental organizations, and regional experts.