The Next Great Arms Race

Michael T Klare. Foreign Affairs. Volume 72, Issue 3. Summer 1993.

Despite the end of the Cold War—perhaps because of it—the nations of East and Southeast Asia are engaged in accelerating arms races with significant implications for regional and international security. The recent sale of American F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan and Russian Su-27 fighter jets to China are part of a larger arms acquisition effort as both countries also upgrade their own military production capabilities. Other countries in the region-Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the two Koreas—are also involved in major arms acquisition programs and the development of high-tech military industries. Although these nations have generally managed to avoid direct combat with one another since the Vietnam War (the short border conflict between China and Vietnam in 1979 being the sole exception), continuing tension in Korea and a number of territorial disputes in the South China Sea area could provide the sparks to ignite a regional conflagration.

The acceleration of regional arms races is made more worrisome by the absence of any regional arms control talks, such as those now under way in the Middle East, and by the growing technological prowess of the leading Asian powers. While most of the NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries are reducing their military expenditures and slowing the development of new weapons, many East Asian countries are raising their military outlays—in some cases by significant percentage—and investing in the procurement of modern munitions. Even more significant, many of these countries are developing domestic arms industries that are expected to compete on equal terms with those of the more advanced Western countries in the early years of the 21st century.

It is the emphasis on technology imports that sets the East Asian arms races apart from those in the Third World. While the nations of Africa, Latin America and the Riddle East tend to import finished weapons systems from their major suppliers, the Pacific Rim countries generally seek the technology with which to manufacture arms of their own. Hence Taiwan will produce and assemble many F-16 components while it proceeds with development of its Indigenous Defensive Fighter and a domestic variant of the Patriot missile. China seeks foreign technology to upgrade its J-7 and J-8 fighter planes and is negotiating with the Russians for licensed manufacture of the MiC-31. Japan produces the F-15 under license from McDonnell-Douglas and is proceeding with codevelopment (with the United States) of its Fighter Support Experimental. South Korea has begun domestic production of the F-16 and manufactures many of its other combat systems.

In addition to basic combat gear, the Pacific Rim nations also manufacture many of the communications, electronics and surveillance systems used by their militaries. Drawing on their increasingly sophisticated civilian industries, countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea are poised to become major suppliers of these systems in the late 1990s and early 21st century. Advanced electronics played a decisive role in the allied victory in Operation Desert Storm, and the ability to produce such systems will invest Pacific Rim nations with a significant advantage in future military encounters.

Not all these countries will develop at the same rate, of course, and not all can afford to acquire large supplies of sophisticated systems. Nevertheless the growing accumulation of modern arms by the Pacific Rim powers at a time of diminishing military expenditures elsewhere is a matter of great concern. This concern might be mitigated somewhat if these countries were engaged in comprehensive security negotiations of the sort now being pursued under U.S. sponsorship in the Middle East, but that is not the case: there are no such negotiations taking place in Asia (except for the on-again, off-again dialogue between North and South Korea), and there is no evidence that these countries are prepared to undertake such discussions anytime soon. Hence the arms races now under way in Asia are unencumbered by any braking mechanisms and show every sign of accelerating in the years ahead.

Military Implications of Economic Growth

Clearly the growing military potential of the Pacific Rim countries is closely tied to their rapid growth in economic power. Propelled in most cases by an export-driven industrial strategy, these countries have achieved impressive gains in GNP over the past two decades, while the economies of most other nations have declined. Between 1978 and 1989 the combined GNP of China, Japan and the so-called little tigers—the newly industrialized countries (NICS) of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand—increased by 166 percent, from $1.5 trillion to $4 trillion, while the total GNP of the world increased by only 109 percent.

The steady rise in GNP in these countries has provided their governments with access to increased economic resources, which many have chosen to invest in the expansion and modernization of military infrastructures. Total military spending by Japan and the six NICS rose from $31.7 billion in 1979 to $51-4 billion in 1989, an increase of 62 percent. More recent data suggest that military spending by these countries, excluding Indonesia, continued to rise in the early 1990s. Although reliable data on China’s military outlays are difficult to acquire (because so much of it is hidden in nonmilitary accounts), available information suggests that such spending declined slightly in the mid-1980s but has soared since 1989, rising by 10 to 15 percent in each of the past three years. In all of these countries, moreover, increased military spending has been accompanied by stepped-up purchases of imported weapons and increased investment in domestic arms production capabilities.

The burgeoning economic power of the Pacific Rim countries is related to their military potential in other significant ways. As trading nations that are highly dependent on seaborne commerce for imports and exports, these countries naturally have a strong interest in the free movement of maritime trade—an interest that is manifest in their growing investment in naval forces. Japan, for instance, is building four or more Aegis-class destroyers, plus a fleet of modern frigates and submarines; Taiwan has ordered six Lafayette-class frigates from France and is building eight PFG-class frigates under license from the United States; Singapore is building five Type-62 corvettes under license from Germany; Malaysia has ordered two missile frigates from Britain; Thailand has acquired six Jianghu-class frigates from China; and Indonesia has purchased 39 former East German naval vessels (including 12 guided missile corvettes) from Germany.

To finance continued economic growth these countries seek to harvest the oil and fishing resources of their offshore territories; and because the boundaries of these offshore regions—or “exclusive economic zones” (EEZs)—are in many cases overlapping and contested, there is a growing risk of territorial conflict. This risk is most acute in the case of the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos, two groups of islands in the South China Sea that are subject to competing claims by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Because the islands are thought to sit astride vast oil reserves, each country has resisted efforts by the others to claim and occupy the islands, and each has periodically sent naval vessels into the area to assert its respective claim—on some occasions producing armed clashes. More recently, China has built a military airstrip (capable of accommodating its 27 fighters) and naval facilities on Woody Island in the Paracels.

Economic growth in the Pacific Rim is closely tied to technological development, and this too has significant military implications. To sustain their economic growth into the 21st century, many countries have invested in the development of modern electronics, communications and aerospace industries. While the products of these industries are intended for civilian markets, these technologies also have significant military uses—especially the development of hightech weapons of the sort used with such dramatic effect in the Persian Gulf conflict. As these industrial efforts mature, therefore, the Pacific Rim countries will be in a strong position to manufacture advanced military systems and components.

Of course, the nations of the Pacific Rim will not benefit equally from the accumulation of wealth and technology in the region. Some, like Cambodia, North Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, have benefited very little from the economic growth of the 1980s and are not likely to make significant gains in the near future; others, like China and Indonesia, have generated significant pockets of prosperity but still retain large reservoirs of poverty and underdevelopment. This disparity in the distribution of wealth could itself prove a significant source of conflict, especially when the divide between rich and poor coincides with ethnic or religious differences, or when disputed territories (such as the Paracel and Spratly islands) may provide significant sources of future wealth.

As memory of the Cold War recedes, and with it fear of the Soviet Union (and its successor states), regional security concerns will increasingly be shaped by worry over the potential military threat posed by China and Japan, the two most powerful nations in the area, and by other regional antagonisms.

China has recently increased its military spending and appears to be placing greater emphasis on preparation for regional conflict—an emphasis that has understandably generated anxiety in neighboring countries, especially Taiwan. These two states have greatly increased their bilateral trade and have initiated direct political consultations, but neither one has repudiated its historical claim to the territory of the other and both have increased their investment in military preparedness. Indeed, the China-Taiwan nexus probably constitutes the most vibrant arms market in the world today, with leaders of both countries signing multibillion-dollar contracts for the acquisition of modern weapons. By agreeing to sell F-16s to Taiwan, the United States has emboldened other Western suppliers-notably France and Germany—to offer late-model aircraft and warships to Taipei despite threats of economic retaliation by Beijing. The Chinese, for their part, have been taking advantage of hard times in Russia by acquiring a wide range of sophisticated Soviet weapons at rock-bottom prices; among the items mentioned in recent reports of Chinese bargain hunting are MiG-31 interceptors, Tu-22 bombers, T-72M main battle tanks, A-50 airborne warning and control planes, and S-300 ground-based antiballistic missiles.

Equally worrisome is Beijing’s military buildup on Hainan and Woodylsland, signaling an inclination to dominate the South China Sea area by force rather than to negotiate shared control with other claimants to the Spratly and Paracel chains. From this perspective, China’s recent acquisition of long-range aircraft and in-flight refueling technology from the former Soviet Union is considered particularly menacing. Should Beijing continue to acquire advanced weapons and technologies at its current pace, it will undoubtedly spur neighbors such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to accelerate their own arms-acquisition efforts and to place further emphasis on the development of high-tech arms industries.

While Japan has publicly eschewed any intention of building up a large, offensively oriented military capacity, its neighbors retain such traumatic memories of the Japanese conquest and occupation during World War II that any sign of increased military activity by Japan inevitably generates anxieties throughout the region. Thus, Tokyo’s recent decisions to send (noncombatant) peacekeeping forces to Cambodia—the first overseas deployment of Japanese troops since World War II—has provoked much concern in Southeast Asia. Also worrisome to some neighbors is Japan’s planned procurement of large tank-transport ships and long-range transport aircraft—acquisitions that suggest an interest in power projection capabilities of a sort the Japanese have not possessed since 1945. Should Tokyo proceed with these plans, it will surely rekindle fears of Japanese expansionism thereby spark increased arms spending by other Pacific Rim nations.

Regional tensions have also been fed by North Korea’s apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons and its continuing refusal to open suspect nuclear facilities to international inspection. Although Pyongyang’s nuclear activities are of greatest concern to South Korea and the United States (which still stations 35,000 troops in Korea), they also menace other countries in the area, especially Japan, and are an added spur to regional arms buildups.

No other Pacific Rim countries pose a threat on a scale comparable to China, Japan and North Korea, but other regional rivalries abound and are contributing to the widespread increases in military spending. With 700,000 troops, the Vietnamese army remains a potent military force, and is often cited by Thailand as a justification for its continuing arms buildup. Similarly, the military buildup in Malaysia evokes understandable concern in neighboring Singapore, as does the steady improvement in Indonesian capabilities. AU of these rivalries are balanced by growing trade and political links within the region, but are nevertheless likely to figure in the long-term security planning of Pacific Rim states.

For all of these reasons, the Pacific Rim nations are likely to continue the expansion and modernization of their military capabilities in the years ahead. These enhancements will take several forms. First is the development of modern naval and ground forces with a significant capacity for power projection—that is, the ability to project military power to neighboring countries or to offshore locations. Second is the importation of modern weapons and combat-support systems. Third is the development of domestic military industries. And for some countries, this process could entail a fourth dimension: the development or enhancement of weapons of mass destruction and their associated delivery systems.

No doubt the most significant development in military organization is the transformation of the Chinese military from a large manpower-intensive force with relatively obsolete equipment to a smaller but much better equipped force. The total strength of the People’s Liberation Army has dropped from approximately four million troops in the mid-1980s to roughly three million today, while more money has been channeled toward the development and production of modern missiles, air and naval craft. In 1985 China’s Central Military Commission directed the PLA to shift its primary strategic focus from preparation for all-out war with the U.S.S.R. to preparation for regional conflicts on China’s periphery. In line with this shift, the Chinese are upgrading their power projection capabilities and have deployed additional forces at bases in Zhanjiang on the southern coast and on Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

While the total strength of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is likely to remain quite modest (under 250,000 soldiers), reflecting both internal and external concerns over the possible revival of Japanese militarism, the SDF is acquiring increasingly capable equipment and, under pressure from the United States, has extended its maritime defensive screen to 1,000 nautical miles from the main islands. Taiwan and South Korea are also placing greater emphasis on their long-range air and naval capabilities, procuring hundreds of new combat planes from the United States and building dozens of new frigates and destroyers. North Korea, unable to compete with South Korea in high-tech conventional arms due to its financial straits and the collapse of the U.S.S.R., appears to have placed greater emphasis on the development of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

In the southern area, regional powers—notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand—are developing modern multiservice military forces with significant power projection capabilities. These countries had until recently emphasized the counterinsurgency capabilities of their militaries and thus lagged behind the northern powers (China, Japan, Taiwan and the two Koreas) in the development of modern air and naval forces. To make up for this deficiency and to enhance their capacity for power projection these countries are investing in the development of “blue water” navies (that is, forces capable of oceanic rather than merely coastal operation) as well as in the formation of mobile combat forces and long-range bomber/attack squadrons.

Characteristic of these efforts are plans by Malaysia to acquire two modern frigates (with more likely to follow) from Britain and to create a division-sized rapid deployment force equipped with mobile artillery and antitank weapons. Singapore is also constructing a bluewater navy (to be organized around the Type-62 corvettes now being built) and, like Malaysia, is creating a division-sized RDF. Meanwhile, Thailand is modernizing its navy and air force and building new air and naval facilities on its southeastern coast, giving Bangkok a greater military presence in the South China Sea. Indonesia is also expanding its blue-water naval capabilities and, like Singapore and Thailand, has ordered F-16 fighters from the United States.

To equip their new forces and to enhance the combat capabilities of existing units, the Pacific Rim countries are buying significant quantities of modern weapons and support systems. Total spending on imported arms by the major Pacific Rim powers (China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the two Koreas) rose from an average of $2.5 billion per year in 1979-81 to $4.6 billion in 1987-89 (in current dollars), an increase of 84 percent. More recent arms import statistics are not yet available, but press reports from the region suggest that the trend toward ever-increasing levels of weapons spending has continued into the 1990s.

The data on arms transfers also indicates that many of the Pacific Rim countries are acquiring sophisticated radar and electronic gear, airborne reconnaissance and patrol planes and other high-tech equipment. Military officials in these countries are acutely aware of the impact of modern technology on combat operations and are determined to provide their forces with as much high-tech equipment as their budgets will allow. Thus Japan, Singapore and Taiwan have all purchased E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft from the United States (Japan will also acquire two Boeing E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System planes in 1998), and both Taiwan and Japan have drawn on domestic and imported technology to develop advanced radar systems of their own.

Home-Made Weapons

To a greater degree than in any other arms importing area of the Third World, acquisitions in the Pacific Rim have been accompanied by “offset” agreements entailing the transfer of military technology from supplier to recipient and by direct government investment in military research and development and production. All the NICS, plus China, Japan and North Korea, are now producers of at least some military equipment, and many have invested considerable resources in the establishment of modern naval and aerospace production facilities. As a result these countries are becoming increasingly self-sufficient in the production of advanced weapons systems and, in some cases, have emerged as major arms exporters.

The development of domestic arms industries by emerging industrial powers is not unique to the Pacific Rim area. What makes the situation in the region so significant, however, is the combination of growing economic resources with which to pursue these plans and the emergence in many of these countries of civilian industries with considerable scientific and technological expertise. Because the more advanced Pacific Rim countries are able to finance their military endeavors through growing trade surpluses and can draw upon domestic firms for necessary technical know-how, they are likely to outstrip all other Third World producers in the early 21st century and to move much closer to the advanced industrial powers.

Currently the Pacific Rim countries with the most elaborate arms production capabilities are China and Japan. China has long produced a wide variety of military equipment, much of it based on Soviet designs of the 1950s and 1960s. In recent years the Chinese have attempted to upgrade their equipment with imported technology and have begun to produce missiles and electronic systems of a relatively modern design. Some of this technology has come from the West, through both licit and illicit channels. Recently, China has sought to benefit from economic hardship in Russia by buying Soviet weapons and technology at bargain-basement prices. Japan, although not normally known as a major arms producer, has become self-sufficient in many combat systems and is producing a host of advanced weapons under license from the United States.

South Korea’s defense expenditures rose from about $10.6 billion in 1990 to an estimated $12.4 billion in 1992, an increase of 17 percent, and are expected to rise by similar amounts in the years to follow. Moreover, the proportion of its defense budget devoted to research and development is scheduled to grow steadily throughout the 1990s, from 1.5 percent in 1990 to 3 percent in 1996 and 7 percent at the beginning of the next century. These funds will be used to develop indigenous military-technological capabilities and to attract foreign technology through arms-related offset programs. Ultimately, Seoul seeks to become self-sufficient in the production of basic combat systems and to rely on domestic sources for all but the most advanced technologies.

Taiwan’s development plans look much like South Korea’s, spurred by a similar goal of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of all but the most sophisticated weapons systems by the year 2000. As in South Korea, Taiwanese defense spending is expected to rise in the years ahead, with much of this increase devoted to the enhancement of indigenous research and development and production capabilities. To promote greater self-reliance in the development of military-related technologies, Taipei has funneled vast sums into government laboratories and private research and development firms and has financed the education of thousands of Taiwanese scientists and engineers—many of them at advanced educational institutions abroad, especially the United States.

Although similar to the South Korean arms program in many respects, the Taiwanese effort differs from South Korea’s in the degree to which it relies on government facilities rather than private firms. Hence, the design and development of the aircraft and missiles is largely the responsibility of the government-owned Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, while the actual production of such systems is performed by the air force’s Aero Industry Development Center. Similarly, major ship construction is conducted by the state-owned China Shipbuilding Corporation.

After China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan the most ambitious arms production endeavors in the Pacific Rim area are to be found in Indonesia and Singapore. Since the mid-1970s the Indonesian government has devoted considerable resources to the development of a domestic aerospace and shipbuilding capacity. Until now these firms have concentrated on the acquisition of foreign technology through licensing and coproduction ventures; like South Korea and Taiwan, however, Indonesia is increasing its investment in military research and development and seeks to become more self-reliant in the development of key military technologies.

Singapore, in line with its policy of promoting export-oriented industrial growth, has developed a diversified defense industry with a strong research and development base. As in Taiwan, the state has played a key role in the development and management of domestic arms firms. Major projects at present include the overhaul and modernization of military aircraft, assembly of Italian S-211 jet trainers and French AS-332 Super Puma helicopters, and licensed production of German Type-62 missile corvettes. In addition to producing arms for domestic use, Singaporean companies also assemble and manufacture a wide variety of military systems for export.

Given the current limitations of their scientific-industrial infrastructures, Indonesia and Singapore are not likely to achieve the high degree of military self-sufficiency expected of South Korea and Taiwan in the early 21st century. The same, of course, can be said for Malaysia and Thailand. Nevertheless, these countries are enjoying high levels of economic growth and are placing greater emphasis on the development of high-tech industries. If these trends continue for another 10 or 15 years, many of these countries will be capable of producing a wide variety of modern weapons with substantial indigenous design input.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Although the main thrust of military development has focused on conventional weapons, Pacific Rim nations (especially those of the more heavily armed north) have also explored various options in the nuclear and chemical area. Only China now possesses a fully developed nuclear capability. Its nuclear arsenal currently consists of eight intercontinental ballistic missiles, 60 intermediate-range ballistic missies (IRBMS) and one nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the Xia, equipped with 12 sea-launched ballistic missiles; in addition, China has a force of some 200 nuclear-capable bombers. The Chinese are also allegedly enhancing their ballistic missile potential and developing a new missile submarine, but progress on these fronts is reported to be slow. (The recent series of large underground nuclear tests at China’s Lop Nur test site are presumably related to these efforts.) While China’s nuclear forces are certainly modest by superpower standards, they do endow Beijing with a strategic capability unmatched by any other regional power—a capability that China appears very reluctant to give up, as indicated by its historical antipathy to nuclear arms control efforts.

Although no other Pacific Rim nation now possesses an operational nuclear weapons capability, North Korea has actively pursued such a capability, and both South Korea and Taiwan have engaged in nuclear weapons research in the past (although these countries have denied any intention of acquiring nuclear weapons).

Of these three, North Korea has reportedly come closest to developing a nuclear weapons production complex. Since 1987 it has been operating a 30-megawatt gas-graphite research reactor at Yongbyon, and spent fuel from this reactor has reportedly been reprocessed at an adjacent facility in order to extract small quantities of weapons-grade plutonium. Although North Korean officials insist that the plutonium will be used for research purposes only, Western intelligence experts believe that the reprocessing established as part of a long-term acquire nuclear weapons and that the North Koreans may already have extracted (and hidden) a sufficient quantity of plutonium for one nuclear device. Under pressure from the West, North Korea signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985 and began opening its facilities to international inspection in 1992. Recently, however, the North Koreans blocked inspections of some facilities and on March 13, 1983, Pyongyang announced its intention to withdraw from the NPT—thus precipitating a major crisis in international nonproliferation efforts that remains unresolved.

South Korea reportedly launched a secret effort to acquire the technology for nuclear weapons production in the early 1970s, following a 1970 U.S. decision to begin withdrawing its forces from Korea in accordance with the Nixon Doctrine. When U.S. officials learned of these efforts in 1974, Washington applied pressure on Seoul to abandon its nuclear aspirations and to sign the NPT, which it did in 1975. There is, however, evidence that South Korea continued to pursue weapons-related research after 1975, and that acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability remains an objective of at least some South Korean military officials. Indeed North Korea’s announcement that it would withdraw from the NPT has spurred renewed talk of nuclear weapons development in Seoul.

Like South Korea, Taiwan first initiated a nuclear weapons research effort in the early 1970s, and, like Seoul, was subsequently pressured to abandon this endeavor by the United States. In 1987, however, U.S. officials discovered that Taipei had begun construction of a small plutonium extraction facility and was planning to reprocess spent fuel from a 40-megawatt research reactor at Lung Tan. Pressure was again applied by Washington, and Taipei agreed for a second time to abandon its nuclear weapons research. Still, there are periodic reports from Taipei that government laboratories are continuing to conduct secret research on nuclear weapons.

The nuclear equation in Northeast Asia is further complicated by the fact that China, Taiwan and the two Koreas have all engaged in the development of chemical weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear or chemical warheads to the territory of their principal adversaries.

China possesses a number of IRBMS and jet bombers that could be used for nuclear strikes anywhere in the region. North Korea now produces the Scud-B, with a range of 280 kilometers (sufficient to reach most of South Korea), and has developed a longer-range version, the Scud-C, with a range of 6000 kilometers; a 1,000-kilometer missile, the Nodong-I, is reportedly in development. Taiwan has developed the Chieng Feng missile, with a range of 130 kilometers, and has experimented with a longer range missile, the Tien Ma. And South Korea has developed a ballistic missile in the 250-kilometer range, the NHK-I. Moreover, both South Korea and Taiwan have indicated their intention to develop modern space-launch vehicles—a capability that, once developed, would enable them to produce IRBMS as well.

The continued development of ballistic missiles by these countries has obvious implications for security relations in the Pacific Rim area. Even when filled with conventional explosives, such weapons may pose a critical risk to urban centers and strategic targets—including nuclear reactors and military facilities. More worrisome, of course, is the possibility that they would be used to deliver nuclear warheads (an option currently enjoyed by China alone) or chemical munitions (an option now open to North Korea and possibly to South Korea and Taiwan as well). The existence of these potent capabilities-unconstrained by any existing arms control agreements—represents one of the greatest threats to regional stability in the Pacific Rim area.

Viewed together, these developments present a deeply troubling picture. Not only are the Pacific Rim countries expanding and modernizing their inventories of modern weapons, but they are also reconfiguring their military forces in such a way as to enhance their capacity for power projection and regional conflict. Given that there are many unresolved disputes in the region and that no forum now exists for the development of regional arms control and security measures, these military developments provide sufficient cause for concern that at least some disagreements will be resolved through armed combat.

Given this danger, it is essential that arms control and regional security be given higher priority by the nations of the Pacific Rim and by their friends and trading partners in other regions. Until now, Europe and the Middle East have been the major sites for such efforts, and the Far East has been largely neglected. If, however, the Pacific Rim does become the main engine of global economic growth in the 21st century—or even if it remains but one of several centers—such neglect could have devastating international repercussions. Arms control in the Pacific Rim must therefore be accorded the same degree of attention as similar efforts in other parts of the world.

Preventing further proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and eliminating existing stocks of nuclear and chemical munitions are especially important. Continuing pressure should be applied to the North Korean government to remain within the NPT and to open all suspect facilities to international inspection. Pressure must also be maintained on Taipei and Seoul to refrain from any nuclear weapons activities, and adequate safeguards should be imposed to ensure that any civilian nuclear technologies supplied to these countries are not diverted to military use. In the chemical area, all of these countries should be urged to sign the recently completed Chemical Weapons Convention and to destroy their stockpiles of chemical warfare agents.

Other initiatives are needed to slow the pace of conventional arms acquisitions. The United States must exercise greater restraint in its military sales to Taiwan, China must be discouraged from pursuing new arms purchases from the former Soviet Union, and Washington and Beijing should meet in order to discuss the resumption of the Five Power conventional arms control talks that were suspended in 1992. Most important, these countries should be encouraged to engage in regional peace and security negotiations of the sort now under way in the Middle East, and to resolve outstanding territorial and political disputes peacefully. Unless fresh arms control efforts are undertaken soon, the Pacific Rim could be the site of periodic military convulsions in the 21st century, as Europe was in the twentieth century.