Jaakko Blomberg, Under Secretary of State: Ballistic Missiles - Proliferation and Defence

STYX SEMINAR 2000 Helsinki 30 August 2000 Opening remarks

Since the end of the Cold war security concerns of the international community have changed quite significantly. We are no longer preoccupied with the prospect of a global nuclear war or of a massive land battle. Today, and for the foreseeable future, our global security concerns are focused on the threat of instability and conflict created by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. It is a challenge that is not confined to any specific region of the world, nor is it confined to nation states.

Today´s topic - "Ballistic missile proliferation and defence" - is dominating the current arms control debate. Let me make a few remarks on both issues, missile proliferation and missile defence.


As we are all aware, the increasing threat of ballistic missile proliferation has been highlighted over the past few years by a growing number of countries that have tested short to intermediate range ballistic missiles. These include India, (Agni I and Agni II); Pakistan (Ghauri I, Ghauri II and Shaheen), North Korea (Taepodong I), China (Dong Feng 31) and Iran (Shahab 3).

Missile acquisition and development efforts are also taking place in other regions of tension and instability, such as the Middle East and the Gulf regions. Missile research and development programmes continue, and there is evidence of growing qualitative improvements in domestic production capabilities in a number of countries.

Further aggravating the situation, missiles are often sought to serve as delivery means of the weapons of mass destruction.

These developments may have serious consequences for regional and global security. They have a negative impact on arms control and disarmament efforts. In particular, the increasing indigenous production of missiles and missile technology, as well as evidence on increasing cooperation amongst the proliferators, challenges the traditional policies of non-proliferation and export control.

In order to find new approaches to tackle the proliferation of missiles, it is essential to understand the underlying dynamics of demand and supply of missile technology.

On the demand side the developing and acquiring of missiles is motivated by factors such as security, prestige, technological push and domestic political reasons. Given the expense of conventional weapons, the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery can also serve as a shortcut to restoring and maintaining a proper strategic balance of power. Missile programmes can also be used as a bargaining chip in international negotiations.

For supplying countries there are a number of factors that account for weapons proliferation. These include commercial interests, foreign policy considerations and strategic imperatives. The drive for financial profit may also be an important motive. This has increasingly become the case in the post-Cold War era, where defence industries face declining domestic orders and a shrinking international market. Weapons transfers can also serve such foreign policy objectives as seeking to exert influence over recipient states or enhancing the defence capabilities of allies.

It is clear that renewed non-proliferation efforts and innovative arms control initiatives are needed to address the sources of proliferation. Consequently, there have been a growing interest in and specific suggestions on how to strengthen the international missile non-proliferation regime. These include ways to enhance the Missile Technology Control Regimes´ (MTCR) capabilities both as an export control mechanism and as a larger vehicle for arms control.

New ideas to address missile proliferation include a variety of measures, such as:
· negotiating a multilateral missile treaty;
· creating a system of confidence building measures such as a multilateral launch notification system and verification mechanisms;
· providing countries with incentives to give up their domestic missile programmes;
· increased activities and possible expanded membership of the MTCR.

All of these proposals highlight the challenges that the MTCR faces. Finland as its next chairman as of October this year takes them seriously. Over the last years the MTCR has made serious efforts to adjust itself to the new challenges. These efforts include expanding the membership, further institutionalising the regime, strengthening its technical guidelines and expanding the outreach activities. Finland is committed to continue this work to further improve the effectiveness of the MTCR, as well as to discuss the new expanded approaches to missile non-proliferation.

A comprehensive strategic approach is needed in addressing the multi-faceted issue of ballistic missile proliferation. This can only be achieved through cooperative international efforts. Finland is committed to the goal of missile non-proliferation and will do its utmost to contribute to this end.


Ballistic missile proliferation has lead the United States to seek a defence against the threat or use of such missiles. This is a controversial issue which involves several challenges, both intellectual, political and military.

It is generally agreed that the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972, continues to be an important corner stone of strategic stability. Therefore it is to be hoped that the parties to the ABM Treaty can together find solutions that will not threaten the future of the Treaty.

Important questions are being asked. Is there a real need for new defensive systems and where does it originate from? Is there an effective way to defend against ballistic missiles? What kind? Even with an agreement on the ABM Treaty, would such systems create a new round of strategic arms race and jeopardise the future of arms control and non-proliferation efforts? Or has the train already left the station, making these questions academic? In any case, these are some of the questions that occupy a number of people including here in Finland. The issue has broad ramifications and it certainly is not irrelevant for Finland. We hope that this seminar could help to clarify the complex problems involved.