The Republic of Korea-United Nations Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues, also known as the “Jeju Process”, is now one of the longest continuous annual disarmament conference series that the UN has with any member state.
Since 2002, the Conference – organised by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in the Asia-Pacific and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – has been a forum for candid and constructive exchanges of views between Government officials, independent experts, scholars and civil society representatives from the region and beyond.
The Jeju Process seeks to develop innovative solutions to some of the most dangerous threats to international peace and security.
The 15th Conference, held from 17 to 18 November on Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea, was no different. It tackled, as Mr Kim Won-soo, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said in his opening remarks, “the pressing challenges not just to regional security, but also to the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.”
In 2016, the Conference saw open and robust deliberations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programme, including the need for full implementation of related United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Debates between participants covered the efficacy of the DPRK sanctions regime and the potential to engage the DPRK through sincere dialogue.
The Conference also discussed the burgeoning nexus between chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) security, cyber security and terrorism. Conference participants agreed that cyber threats to critical infrastructure, including facilities housing CBRN facilities, present a real and often underestimated danger requiring greater attention by the international community.
The final agenda item addressed by the conference related to export controls that prevent the proliferation of both weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms. The Conference considered the key challenges facing the four plurilateral export controls regimes (the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Missile Technology Control Regime), as well as opportunities to strengthen those regimes, including through enhanced inter-regime cooperation.
The quality of both discussions and participants at the Conference highlighted once again why the Jeju Process has become an integral element of region and global efforts to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and build a s afer and more secure world for all.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs is deeply grateful to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its voluntary financial contributions that enable the Conference to take place.