Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News – February 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 16, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China mulls joining U.N. talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
Japan Times

SECDEF Mattis Implores NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense
Real Clear Defense

Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. to discuss N.K. nukes in Germany
Yonhap



EAST ASIA

South Korea Mulls Ballistic Missile Test
The Diplomat
In response to Pyongyang’s recent intermediate-range launch, Seoul is considering test firing a ballistic missile.

Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. to discuss N.K. nukes in Germany
Yonhap
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is to have talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers' meeting to discuss their coordinated approach to North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

China mulls joining U.N. talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
Japan Times
A senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry who was at a disarmament-related international meeting in Mexico City admitted Wednesday that China is considering joining the talks but said a final decision has yet to be made.

China rejects North Korea Coal shipment
Reuters
China rejected a shipment of coal from North Korea a day after the country test-fired a ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions. The move came a day after Pyongyang's test of the intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday, its first direct challenge to the international community.

Lawmaker calls for revision to anti-missile defense systems (South Korea)
Korea HeraldA senior South Korean lawmaker on Tuesday called for a revision to the missile defense system sought by the country by the mid-2020s as North Korean missiles will likely become harder to detect before launch. The upcoming "kill chain" strike system and the Korean Air and Missile Defense system are both designed to detect and destroy incoming missiles in the shortest possible time. 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Yemen rebels fire missile at airport in southern Saudi Arabia
Financial Times
The Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted Wednesday night a ballistic missile over the sky of Khamees Mushayt in Asir region fired by Houthi militias. The people of Khamees Mushayt heard loud noise when the Patriot missile intercepted the Houthi missile.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

This is the ground-launched cruise missile that Russia has reportedly just deployed
The Washington Post
The existence of the SSC-8 missile is not new. Reports indicate that the nuclear-capable missile was first tested in early 2008. In 2014, after several years of watching the development of the missile program, the Obama administration announced that Russia had violated the INF treaty.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister of Israel in Joint Press Conference
The White House
Trump: “The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which I've talked a lot about.  My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing -- I mean ever -- a nuclear weapon”.

SECDEF Mattis Implores NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense
Real Clear Defense
In an ultimatum to America's allies, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told fellow NATO members Wednesday to increase military spending by year's end or risk seeing the U.S. curtail its defense support.



OPINIONS

Moscow Issues its First Nuclear Challenge to Trump
Michaela Dodge, Real Clear Defense
Currently, Moscow is doing whatever it deems necessary to its strategic interest regardless of the treaty, while the United States continues to abide by it. The administration should not ponder any future arms control initiatives and nuclear weapons reduction agreements at least until this issue is resolved.

Did North Korea Just Launch a Chinese Missile?
Gordon Chang,The National Interest
The North Koreans are adept at stealing weapons tech, buying it, and getting it with the help of rogue scientists and engineers. The North Koreans did not develop this missile system completely on their own. The missile fired Sunday as a land-based missile and several months ago as an SLBM has almost exactly the same appearance and capabilities as the Chinese JL-1.

The RS-28 Sarmat and the Future U.S. Nuclear Modernization
Malcom Davis, Real Clear Defense
Russia claims the new RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBM, being introduced as part of its nuclear modernization, can wipe out an area ‘the size of Texas or France’. They may be referring to the missile being able to deliver nuclear weapons via the South Pole rather than the traditional ‘over the north pole’ route. Whilst the RS-28 will certainly get US planners thinking about nuclear modernization, it seems unlikely that such hyperbole will have US leaders rushing for the nuclear bunkers.

Trump Inherits Nuclear Budget Time Bomb
Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association
The daunting fiscal challenge posed by current plans to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal is now President Donald Trump’s problem. If the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review by the administration does not reshape these plans—or worse, accelerates or expands upon them—spending on nuclear weapons will pose a major threat to higher priority national security programs, to say nothing about Trump’s pledge to expand the non-nuclear military.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The Air Force’s Secret Space Plane is Not Coming Home Soon After All
Real Clear Defense
The unmanned X-37B has been in space for 636 days, flying high over places like Iran, North Korea, and China. This leads to leads speculation that the spacecraft is doing so-called intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance work, training cameras, radars, and other spying devices on the ground below.

Mistaken missile warning surprises airman at Spangdahlem Air Base
Airforce Times
Airmen at the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, got an unexpected Valentine's Day present Tuesday: A bright red computer alert warning them of an incoming missile. The alert was accidentally distributed to the entire wing that afternoon. The alert warned "MISSILE INBOUND. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!" The error was corrected eight minutes later, when officials sent out another message telling airmen to disregard the inadvertent missile warning and to resume normal operations.

Thursday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

U.S. Pressed to Pursue Deal to Freeze North Korea Missile Tests
The New York Times

US Navy ballistic missile intercept test fails
Defense News

North Korea, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Instability: Strategic Issues for Managing Crisis and Reducing Risk
38 North, Rebecca Hersman

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