Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News - July 10, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – July 10, 2017


U.S. senators drafting legislation imposing new sanctions on N. Korea

North Korea calls US practice bombing run a provocation
Military Times

Outlining The U.S. Defenses Against A Missile Attack
NPR, Kingston Reif


The secret to Kim’s success? Some experts see Russian echoes in North Korea’s missile advances
Washington Post
Four months before its July 4 missile test, North Korea offered the world a rare technical preview of its latest missile engine, one said to be capable of lobbing nuclear warheads at U.S. cities. A video on state-run TV depicted a machine with thickets of tubes and vents, and a shape that struck some U.S. experts as familiar — in a distinctly Soviet way.

North Korea calls US practice bombing run a provocation
Military Times
North Korean state media have sharply criticized a recent practice bombing run by two U.S. B-1B bombers on the Korean Peninsula, calling it a dangerous move raising the risk of nuclear war. A commentary Sunday in the ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused the U.S. of "reckless military provocations" and said the danger of nuclear war is reaching an extreme pitch.

N. Korea ‘still on standby’ for nuke test: 38 North
North Korea appears to maintain its readiness to conduct another nuclear test at any time, but no new activity has been spotted at its Punggye-ri site to suggest a test is imminent, U.S. researchers monitoring the secretive nation said Sunday. Citing the satellite imagery from June 28 and July 5, they said, on the 38 North website, "No significant new activity can be observed."

Speeding to fix spotty satellite coverage over North Korea
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is looking to create new partnerships that will close gaps present in tracking North Korea’s expansion of their missile arsenal. The agency coordinates satellite-based mapping and intelligence for the government, but has had trouble with some coverage over North Korea. As a result, the government has worried that missile preparations in North Korea will go unseen, leaving the United States, South Korea, and Japan unprepared.


US has Told Russia to De-escalate Ukraine Eastern Violence
Voice of America
During his first official visit to Kyiv Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. has told Russia it must take the first steps to de-escalate violence in Eastern Ukraine. Tillerson has named former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker to serve as Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations. Volker, who was traveling with Tillerson to Ukraine, will also engage regularly with all parties handling the Ukraine negotiations under the so-called Normandy Format — Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. officials say Russian government hackers have penetrated energy and nuclear company business networks
Washington Post
Russian government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the business systems of U.S. nuclear power and other energy companies in what appears to be an effort to assess their networks, according to U.S. government officials. The U.S. officials said there is no evidence the hackers breached or disrupted the core systems controlling operations at the plants, so the public was not at risk. Rather, they said, the hackers broke into systems dealing with business and administrative tasks, such as personnel.


Once a US Ally, Pakistan Now Looks to China, Russia
Voice of America
Once a key ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, Pakistan finds itself increasingly isolated from Washington amid allegations that it harbors more than a dozen terrorist groups. Instead, it has been steadily cozying up to China and Russia. Both of America’s primary rivals have been taking advantage of Pakistan’s paranoia about India, and gaps in Washington’s global influence as President Donald Trump continues to form his foreign policy in the strategic region.


122 Nations Approve ‘Historic’ Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons
The Atlantic
More than 120 nations adopted the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The initiative—led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand—was approved by 122 votes, with only the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. The nine countries generally recognized as possessing nuclear weapons were noticeably absent from the negotiations, as were most members of NATO.


U.S. senators drafting legislation imposing new sanctions on N. Korea
Two U.S. senators are drafting a bill imposing new sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the communist nation's test-firing for the first time of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will introduce the legislation in the coming weeks to help "exert maximum pressure ... on North Korea and its enablers," the Hill cited offices of the two senators saying in a joint memo.

Trump vows ‘to move forward’ with Putin
President Donald Trump said Sunday “it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia,” despite multiple ongoing investigations into the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 campaign, including possible collusion with Trump associates.


Outlining The U.S. Defenses Against A Missile Attack
NPR, Kingston Reif
In light of North Korea's missile test this week, Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association joins A Martinez to discuss the United States' missile defense capabilities.

Trump, North Korea and shifting alliances: is this a new world disorder?
The Guardian, Simon Tisdall
The overt US threats of punitive military action that followed last week’s provocative test-firing of a potentially nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea transformed a long-running regional problem into a frightening global crisis. The confrontation, not yet defused, intensified broader fears that the world is becoming more dangerous and chaotic – and that no one is really in charge.

AP reporters on how North Korea, other nations view standoff
Washington Post
North Korea’s successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile July 4 raised the heat on tensions that have been building for decades, leaving the international community scrambling for an answer to containing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Below, Associated Press journalists who cover the standoff from both Koreas, Japan, China and the U.S. explain how each country hopes it is resolved.

Scared About North Korea? You Aren’t Scared Enough
Bloomberg, Jeffery Lewis
I've written two books on the history of China’s nuclear weapons program. The American reaction to Mao’s China and the bomb was pretty similar to the reaction to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program today. China’s goal, from the get-go in the 1950s, was to put a thermonuclear weapon on an ICBM that could reach the U.S. Americans had real trouble accepting that because it didn’t fit our image of a backwards, impoverished China. Of course, that was precisely why the Chinese did it. They had a different view of themselves and their future. It seems the same to me with North Korea. We think they are a joke. But I don’t see them laughing.


‘I’m worried about moose, not missiles.’ Alaskans on North Korea threat: Shrug.
Washington Post
With North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, the news has been filled with speculation that a nuclear warhead could reach the Last Frontier and that Anchorage could be the most realistic U.S. target for destruction. But people here have been talking about the possibility of missile strikes for decades, and Alaskans tend to focus on more tangible hazards. “I’m worried about moose, not missiles,” quipped Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “Bears, not bombs.”


Friday's Top Nuclear Policy News


Push for UN Sanctions on North Korea Hung Up on Definition of an ICBM

Russia calls new U.S. sanctions against Iran unfounded: RIA

Russia and US beginning strategic stability dialogue—diplomat

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