Under the current Council Decision, FRS will publish a series of Research Papers on the various aspects of the Code, as well as short Issue Briefs to highlight specific thematic and regional issues, and a major technical study. To find out more, go to our Project Activities
As a multilateral instrument, the HCoC holds a particular place in a global architecture of measures that attempts to reduce the destabilising nature of ballistic missiles. By promoting transparency about policies and launches, it aims to limit the risk of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and worst-case assessments.
After listing major programmes and key drivers beyond the acquisition of these technologies, this paper considers their development under the prism of arms control, and analyses whether current mechanisms (non-proliferation arrangements, bilateral arms control treaties and confidence-building measures) dealing with missiles are adapted to these weapons.
This study focuses on the new systems introduced, and assesses their potential impact as conventional weapons and as non-conventional weapons. Through an analysis of the possible capacities of these systems, this study examines their consequences on North Korean strategy. It concludes by exploring what this change of strategy may lead to, in military terms, and in political terms, on the Korean peninsula.
Since its inception and through the collective outreach efforts of its Chairs, the Executive Secretariat, the EU and the United Nations, the Hague Code of Conduct has received growing support. It has improved its efficiency and implementation through a series of initiatives which have made it more easily accessible.
This paper recalls the state of ballistic missile proliferation at the time of the adoption of the Code, before delving into the genesis of the Code and especially the various reports and meetings that promoted the adoption of a supply-side multilateral instrument. It describes the conferences and diplomatic efforts that led to the Code in 2002. It also explains why the Code ended up the way it is today with modest ambitions but concrete outcomes.
A majority of Northeast Asian states currently possess or seek to acquire ballistic missiles, producing a missile race and an increase in the number of tests as states are developing their capabilities further. Proliferation risks also remain high, and it is noteworthy that only South Korea and Japan have joined the MTCR.
This paper considers the dual approach of the Code by analysing the similarities between launchers and ballistic missiles in light of new technical developments, and assessing the risk of missile technology proliferation. It also assesses the new trends and developments in the space sector that may have an impact on the ability of the HCoC to remain relevant in its efforts to curb the proliferation of ballistic launchers.
The HCoC holds special significance in the Middle East as the region is fraught with the development of ballistic arsenals, the use of missiles on the battlefield and the proliferation of such systems towards both states and non-state actors. Moreover, several ballistic missile programmes have been closely associated with WMD acquisition.
Information is key for non-proliferation efforts. But the times when information was the exclusive purview of governments are over. Affordable, commercial and open-source monitoring capabilities empower states and societies alike, while challenging the ability of governments to preserve secrecy. Technological democratisation means that information is practically becoming a public good. And it allows for unprecedented transparency.
Only three out of ten Southeast Asian states have joined the HCoC to date (the Philippines, Cambodia and Singapore). This limited rate is noteworthy as Southeast Asia is increasingly concerned by the ongoing ballistic missile competition in broader Asia. Moreover, the region is actively investing to benefit from space technologies.
China is currently the main ballistic missile possessor and spacefaring nation which remains outside the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC). This can be explained by China’s traditional opacity regarding its deployment of strategic missiles, but also its exports of ballistic systems or technologies abroad. This absence is nonetheless problematic for a regime based on voluntary transparency and confidence-building which aims at universality.
The New Space trend – an ongoing innovative transformation of the space sector – has led to a rise of investment in small launch systems. While an increasing number of nations are gaining access to space, the number of private sector entities investing in this domain is also rising. Meanwhile, small space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles rely on increasingly similar technologies.
The proliferation of WMD and of conventional weapons are, in many ways, separate threats with different levels of impact and proliferation dynamics. However, there are linkages between WMD and conventional weapons proliferation. Notably, the same factors increase the risk of both threats, including geographic vulnerabilities.
Four of the five most recent subscribing states to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) are African. Adopted in November 2002 in The Hague, the HCoC’s chief objective is to curb the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, as well as related technology.
Latin America is one of the regions with the highest level of support for the HCoC. This support reflects the historic commitment of the region in favour of disarmament and non-proliferation. The remaining four non-subscribing states – Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico – have voiced concerns about the adoption of the Code outside the United Nations framework and its limited scope.
The Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) was adopted in 2002 with a view to reducing the proliferation of ballistic missiles that can be used to carry weapons of mass destruction (WMD). From its inception, it took into account not only ballistic missiles – then the main vectors of ADM – but also space launchers, the two technologies sharing many characteristics.
India’s and Pakistan’s ballistic missiles are mostly designed as delivery vehicles for their nuclear weapons. While intrinsically linked to their national security, ballistic missiles also have regional security implications for South Asia. Non-proliferation and arms control efforts have so far been aimed at the bilateral level. Subscription to other instruments including the HCoC remains low in the region, although India joined the HCoC in 2016.