The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 12th Plenary Meeting in Tokyo from November 4-6 to review and strengthen its efforts to prevent missile proliferation. Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, Director-General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, opened the Plenary with a welcoming address on behalf of H.E. Keizo Obuchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and chaired the Meeting.
The MTCR was established in 1987 with the aim of controlling exports of missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, as well as the relevant technology. In 1993, controls were extended to include missiles capable of carrying biological and chemical weapons. The MTCR has 29 members*; Turkey, the most recent member, was attending its first Plenary.
During the Plenary, MTCR partners reaffirmed that the MTCR continues to be an essential mechanism to prevent proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction as the only multilateral regime devoted to such a goal. The MTCR complements various global nonproliferation instruments including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Having reviewed recent developments, Partners expressed their concern over the continuing efforts in some parts of Asia and the Middle East to develop, acquire and deploy missiles. Partners renewed their commitment to further strengthen the effectiveness of their export controls and enhance cooperation to that end. They further agreed that controls on the transfers of missiles and missile technology help to reinforce international peace and security. They recognized that missile proliferation presents a serious threat to regional and international security and stability and agreed to continue to focus on its implications. It was stressed that Partners in their bilateral contacts with MTCR non-members will continue to call for restraint and vigilance in missile-related exports.
Recognizing the growing need to build support for the goals of the regime, MTCR Partners agreed to engage non-members in their efforts to impede missile proliferation and encourage them to observe the MTCR Guidelines. Partners renewed their intention to continue dialogue with non-members. They recognized the usefulness of contacting non-members through regional security fora and institutions. They issued the attached joint appeal to all non-members.
MTCR Partners further agreed that they should increase their efforts to promote openness and transparency through enhanced dialogue with countries and authorities outside the Regime. In this connection, the attached information paper was introduced as a means of communication with non-members. It was reaffirmed that the efforts to promote dialogue with transshipment centers had been useful in increasing awareness of non-members about the risks of proliferation and the importance of export controls. In this context, Partners welcomed the Workshops on Transshipment held in London and Einsiedeln, Switzerland, as well as the Asian Export Control Seminar held in Tokyo in 1997.
The next Plenary will be held in Budapest, Hungary, in Autumn 1998.
*MTCR Partner Countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.