Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs

To see the full list of Policy Briefs, click here.

Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

US-North Korea Nuclear Summit: Assessing China's Exclusion Anxiety

Policy Brief  No.7 - March, 2018 • By Yun Sun

This paper explores China’s relationship with North Korea. In particular it focuses attention on China’s leverage in relation to the DPRK’s nuclear and missile development programme. The recent announcement of direct talks between the leaders of North Korea and the United States on these and other issues creates both opportunities and concerns for China. On the one hand China has expressed support for a positive outcome. On the other, these talks reinforce Chinese anxieties about being excluded from the discussions and the detrimental consequences of this exclusion. This anxiety comes on top of a generalised concern about either a conventional or nuclear war on China’s border. This article explores these dilemmas as China ponders its role in Korean and wider East Asian affairs.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Cooperation or Conflict? Walking the Tightrope of NPT and Ban Treaty Supporters

Policy Brief  No.6 - March, 2018 • By Angela Kane

The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 changed the paradigm of the NPT and its review process. The two preparatory meetings preceding the 2020 NPT Review Conference will show in stark relief the differences and the convergence between the nuclear allies and the Ban Treaty supporters. The paper looks at the emergence of the frustrations of the non-nuclear weapon states that led to the Ban Treaty and its adoption by almost two-thirds of the United Nations member states. It outlines the arguments against the Ban Treaty put forward by the nuclear allies and the hardening of positions in light of their cavalier dismissal of the Ban Treaty. The paper addresses these criticisms, discusses the positions put forward by the Ban Treaty supporters, and examines the possible repercussions for the debate on nuclear issues and security. The paper argues that the nuclear possessors should accept the Ban Treaty as a reality and focus on the way forward: renewed dialogue and cooperation with the non-nuclear-weapon states. Suggestions for constructive engagement are addressed to both nuclear allies and Ban Treaty supporters, arguing that vision and leadership is needed from both sides in order to avoid a further disintegration of the nuclear architecture.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Folding the Umbrella: Nuclear Allies, the NPT and the Ban Treaty

Policy Brief  No.5 - March, 2018 • By Paul Meyer

The adoption of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty (NWPT) by 122 states in July 2017 introduced a powerful new dynamic into the stagnant realm of nuclear disarmament. The decision by the nuclear weapon states (NWS) and their nuclear dependent allies to boycott the NWPT negotiations created a schism within the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) community that will not be easily repaired. The NWPT did not come out of the blue, but was in itself a manifestation of the building frustration of non-NWS over the failure of the NWS to deliver on their nuclear disarmament commitments. While sharing some of this frustration, the nuclear dependent allies opted to privilege adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence over advancing nuclear disarmament goals. If the NPT regime is not to suffer serious erosion, these nuclear dependent allies will need to convince their NWS partners to undertake tangible nuclear disarmament action. The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative grouping of states (which includes both pro and anti NWPT states) may have a special role to play in this regard.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Summary Report: 2018 Tokyo Colloquium on Building Stable Peace in Northeast Asia: Managing and Transforming Risks on the Korean Peninsula

Summary Report  No.4 - February, 2018 • By

The 2018 Tokyo Colloquium brought regional experts on peace and security in Northeast Asia together with policymakers and civil society organisations from US, China, Korea and Japan to discuss how to ensure stable peace in Northeast Asia. It was jointly organised by Toda Peace Institute, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, New Zealand on 1 February. While identifying some of the forces generating insecurity, and turbulence in the region, the Colloquium had particular focus on ways in which existential nuclear threat in the Korean peninsula could be dealt with through preventive diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations and whether denuclearisation of DPRK is the prerequisite for achieving negotiated solutions. Two panels of influential experts and policy makers were organised to share their insights and wisdom on these questions.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Summary Report: Bridging the Gap Between Ban Treaty Supporters and Step-by-Step Approaches to Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

Summary Report  No.3 - February, 2018 • By Kevin P. Clements

Effective verification will be absolutely essential to achieving nuclear disarmament. Developing effective verification may seem an impossible challenge, but there is substantial experience to build on, including IAEA safeguards and bilateral arms control processes. Examining the specific steps required to progress disarmament, we are not starting with a blank sheet, many verification missions are similar to those existing or under development today. International collaboration in developing new verification applications will contribute to the confidence and trust required to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.