Nuclear Policy (1998-2001)

Project Description

The Nuclear Policy Project critically reviewed nuclear weapons policies currently operating in East Asia and other regions. The project aimed to help minimize or eliminate the role of threats to use nuclear weapons to support national security ends. The project focused on the prospects for achieving a meaningful abolition of nuclear weapons, and also addressed the implications that such an achievement would have for the larger long-term goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons worldwide.

The project’s initial focus was on current U.S. policies of “extended nuclear deterrence” in Northeast Asia. However, the project aimed ultimately to address the nuclear weapons policies of all states in the region, and to assess how comprehensive regional security is a prerequisite to significant changes in nuclear weapons policies, including those of the United States. Thus, the project had three foci:

  • current nuclear weapons policies operating in East Asia, especially U.S. extended nuclear deterrence policies;
  • future nuclear weapons policy alternatives, and the security prerequisites for regional nuclear abolition; and
  • the capacity of regional progress toward such an end to facilitate similar progress at the global level.


Equally important, the project aimed to support a new community of scholars, opinion-leaders and decision-makers on these issues, drawing from all the principal states in the region. In developing this community, the project sought particularly to foster the growth of international relationships, especially among “younger” individuals whose roles are likely to grow in future years. Within this community, the project encouraged the development of fresh perspectives on the role of regionally-focused pursuits of nuclear weapons abolition, and the growth of greater consensual awareness of the potential for enhancing non-nuclear dimensions in regional security structures.

The East Asia Regional Security Futures Workshops were an essential element of the Nuclear Policy Project. The goals of the workshops included undertaking a comprehensive and critical examination of security relationships in East Asia and elsewhere in the world. Through this work, the project sought to provide a basis for better understanding and defining steps toward solutions to regional security issues.

A vital prerequisite to long-term improvement in security relations in East Asia, as elsewhere, is to replace opacity and misperception with familiarity and trust at individual as well as institutional levels. Hence, an equally important objective of the workshops was to support development of a new community of practitioners, scholars and other opinion-leaders and decision-makers on these issues, drawn from all the principal states in the region.

In developing this community, the project sought especially to foster the growth of international relationships among senior individuals with long-standing reputations and junior individuals whose roles were likely to grow in future years. The project’s focus on long-term security possibilities in the region was intended to utilize the talent of this community to develop fresh perspectives and innovative proposals for building multi-lateral security relationships under which reliance upon nuclear weapons for national security ends can be reduced or even eliminated.

List of Workshops:

ISODARCO-Beijing Arms Control Seminars

  • Seventh Seminar, Xian, China, October 8-12, 2000
  • Sixth Seminar, Shanghai, China, October 29-31, 1998

First Collaborative Workshop

  • Shanghai, China — May 29-30, 1999

Missile Defense Implications

  • Tokyo, Japan — June 24-25, 2000

Second Collaborative Workshop

  • Shanghai, China — March 3-4, 2001

The Nuclear Policy Project was supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and Ploughshares Fund.