Europe-Asia Arms Trade Challenges ASEM Security Dialogue - november 1998

Edited by:
Brid Brennan, Paul Scannell and Pietje Vervest
TRANSNATIONAL INSTITUTE
IN COOPERATION WITH
AMOK, CAAT, FOCUS ON THE GLOBAL SOUTH AND IID

This report asks the questions 'Why is Asia arming itself?' Why is Europe so eager to help? And what can people do to support an end to trans-regional and global arms trade? It is timely, even urgent to examine the arms trade to Asia and more specifically from Europe. Since Asia's fast growing arms market is second only to the Middle East in value. As this study notes, while arms to Asia have overwhelmingly been from the US, the European arms industry is getting its act together and gaining a larger market share in the region.
On the occasion of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), governments should initiate substantive security dialogue. However, asEuropeans are eager to sell, and sooner or later, Asians will want to keep buying, it is unlikely that the arms trade will be considered a security threat. Lobbying individual governments, media pressure, and education to demonstrate the horror arms makers, dealers, and buyers inflict will eventually make ASEM understand, as US President Eisenhower once did, that 'the people all over the world want peace and security so much that one of these days governments better get out of their way'.