The outbreak of a new infectious disease-Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-in Asia and its spread to many countries in the Asian region and beyond raise many public health and policy questions and challenges for governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The SARS outbreak also implicates international law, and this Insight briefly discusses three areas of international law affected by SARS and the efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
In late May 2003, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) will consider adoption of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body agreed on the proposed FCTC in early March 2003 and transmitted the treaty to the World Health Assembly.  The FCTC represents the first time in WHO's history that it has exercised its powers to adopt a treaty under Article 19 of its Constitution.  The FCTC is an important international legal development in the area of global public health.
On January 10, 2003, North Korea announced (a) that it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), effective immediately, and (b) that its withdrawal from the NPT left it free from the binding force of its Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).