Testing and development of ballistic missiles continued in many regions in 2004 ensuring that missile-related issues, particularly the proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles and the efforts by the United States to build a missile defense system, remained an area of concern.
On 12 April, Libya announced that it would start converting its arsenal of Soviet-made Scud B missiles to give them a shorter range. The missiles originally had a range of 185 miles and were capable of delivering a 2,200 pound warhead. Libya declared that the range would be reduced to below 185 miles and the maximum payload to less than 1,100 pounds. Libya also agreed to allow monitors from the United States and the United Kingdom to observe the conversions to ensure that they were irreversible. In the same statement, Libya pledged to end all military transactions with the DPRK.
On 12 November, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced that the first phase of the national defense system had been completed with installation of the initial round of ballistic missile interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska. On 15 December, the first test undertaken in two years in the development of its national missile defense system failed. Nevertheless, U.S. officials reaffirmed their commitment to move forward on the system. On 17 December, the United States and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding on increasing missile defense cooperation. The agreement will allow the two countries to share information on missile defense systems and cooperate on joint projects. On 7 July, Australia joined cooperation with the United States in developing, testing and deploying missile defense systems.1
On 2 December, Russia decided to expand its role in a joint project with India to build a sophisticated cruise missile and assured that country of steady supplies of military spare parts.
On 27-28 December, India and Pakistan held a joint meeting in Islamabad, but failed to complete an agreement for mutual pre-launch notification before testing ballistic missiles. In a joint statement they indicated that they had narrowed their differences and agreed to work toward early finalization of that agreement.
UN Panel of Governmental Experts on the Issue of Missiles in all its Aspects
Following the study on the issue of missiles in all its aspects carried out by the Group of Governmental Experts established in 2001, the General Assembly, in 2003, requested the Secretary-General to explore further the issue of missiles in all its aspects with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts to be established in 2004, and to submit a report for consideration by the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session. The panel held three sessions during 2004 - from 23-27 February, 17-21 May and 19-23 July. It held comprehensive, constructive and in-depth discussions on all aspects of the issue, but no consensus was reached on the preparation of a final substantive report. Discussions included assessing multilateral initiatives since 2002; the right to peaceful uses of missile-related technologies; missile-relevant confidence-building measures (CBMs); national, regional or multilateral voluntary measures; and a possible role for the United Nations in addressing the issue. (See also Chapter 7 of this volume).
The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)2
The Subscribing States held their Second Intersessional Meeting in Vienna from 17 to 18 June. Among the issues discussed was the implementation of confidence-building measures, such as Annual Declarations and Pre-Launch Notifications.
The Third Regular Meeting of Subscribing States took place in New York from 17 to 18 November at which the Philippines took over the chairmanship of the HCOC for the period of 2004-2005. The meeting discussed, inter alia
, the continuation and improved implementation of confidence-building measures, future outreach activities and methods of communication. On the issue of Annual Declarations, it was agreed that these were to cover the period from 1 January to 31 December with 31 March of the following year as the new deadline for submission.
The Fourth Regular Meeting of Subscribing States will take place in Vienna from 2 to 3 June 2005. The main topics will be confidence-building measures and universalization of the Code.
As of December 2004, the HCOC had 117 subscribing States.
The issue of missiles was also addressed by the General Assembly which adopted a resolution entitled "Missiles"3
on 3 December 2004. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to establish a Panel of Governmental Experts in 2007 to explore further ways and means to address the issue of missiles in all its aspects. A resolution entitled "Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles Proliferation" was also adopted. For a discussion of these resolutions, see the General Assembly section of this chapter.
Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain and United Kingdom also cooperated with the United States in the area of missile defense systems.