JEAIL > Volume 3(1); 2010 > Issue Focus
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2010

Can the PSI be Legitimate for the Nonproliferation Regime? A Critical Analysis

Eric Yong Joong Lee
Dongguk University
College of Law, Dongguk Univ., Pil-dong 3-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Proliferation Security Initiative was launched in 2003 by the Bush administration right after the So San incident. Its primary purpose is to interdict the spread of WMD and their delivery systems. Due to the provocative and challenging characteristics of the Initiative, which are inconsistent with conventional international law, there are some objections against the Initiative. This paper answers the highly topical questions regarding the Initiative in three parts. The first part addresses the origin and development of the Initiative. The second part critically analyzes the background of the Initiative such as the neoconservative ideology of the Bush administration and its world strategy, international terrorism, and the U.S. arms industry. The third part scrutinizes questions concerning the preemptive use of force for self-defense and the interdiction of foreign vessels on the territorial and high seas. The Initiative is also examined from a viewpoint of customary international law.

Keywords : PSI, Interdiction, Freedom of the Sea, Preemptive Self-Defense, Customary International Law

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