Nuclear Weapons | Analysis and New Insights

1540 in Practice: Challenges and Opportunities for Southeast Asia

Togzhan Kassenova | May 2011


This policy brief explores the challenges and opportunities to implementing robust proliferation controls in Southeast Asia and discusses broader development and security benefits that implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) can bring to the region.

Controls over strategic trade deserve primary attention in the context of UNSCR 1540 implementation in Southeast Asia. Strategic trade management, which refers to controls over transfers of dual-use goods and technologies that can have both peaceful and military (including WMD) applications, provides a regulatory and institutional framework enabling governments to simultaneously pursue nonproliferation and economic objectives.

The goal of strategic trade control systems is to regulate trade, not prevent it. The strategic trade control systems of Singapore and Malaysia are used as case studies. The brief concludes with a set of policy recommendations for Southeast Asian nations, which will play an increasingly critical role in the global nonproliferation regime.