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Expert Comments

Economics trumps geopolitics as China announces lowest defence budget increase in years

Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman

On 5 March, the opening day of the annual National People’s Congress, China announced a 7.6 per cent increase in its National Defense budget for 2016—or a total of 954 billion yuan ($146 billion).

North Korea's Space Launch

Tariq Rauf

North Korea launched a space launch vehicle on 7 February 2016 at around 09:00 local time, with the aim of placing a satellite into the Earth’s orbit.

Another nuclear test announced by North Korea: Searching for a plan of action?

Tariq Rauf

On 6 January 2016, North Korea announced that it had successfully detonated a ‘hydrogen’ or thermonuclear device. Despite international doubt, we shouldn't underestimate North Korea's capabilities.

Damage limitation for Vienna document

Dr Ian Anthony

Last week, Nato's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg launched the idea of reworking the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures.

On ‘International Right to Know Day’ – how transparent is NATO?

Dr Ian Davis

NATO does not publish an annual financial report on its revenue and expenditure, even though other intergovernmental bodies, such as the EU and World Bank, do.

The 2015 UN Register on Conventional Arms: still time to improve

Pieter D. Wezeman and Siemon T. Wezeman

Following the trend in 2012–14, 2015 is likely to be another disappointing year for transparency in arms transfers.

‘Rules of the Road’ for the Arms Trade Treaty agreed in Cancun but stiffer tests lie ahead

Dr Sibylle Bauer and Mark Bromley

The first Conference of States Parties (CSP1) to the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), held in Cancun Mexico, ended yesterday.

Water supply to the Syrian bombed site

Robert Kelley

There have been a number of revelations lately about many aspects of the bombing of a Syrian military facility in 2007, which the US Intelligence Community concluded, with low confidence, was a plutonium producing nuclear reactor under construction.

Nuclear verification in Iran: managed access

Tariq Rauf

The 7 July deadline for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran's nuclear programme expired without a breakthrough but the parties agreed to an extension until the end of 10 July.

8 July 2015: No alternative to a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear file

Tariq Rauf

Iran’s diplomatic tango with the United States—with accompaniment from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and representatives from the European Union (EU)—continues at the historic Palais Coburg in Vienna. The aim of the negotiations is to finalize an agreement on limiting the proliferation potential of Iran’s nuclear programme and the rescinding of Western sanctions under the terms of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).