Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News - July 13, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – July 13, 2017


Chinese imports from North Korea fall sharply, a sign that Beijing is cracking down?
Washington Post

Iran to US: Worry about your own domestic problems

White House knocks defense bill’s Crimea, INF Treaty provisions
The Hill


Chinese imports from North Korea fall sharply, a sign that Beijing is cracking down?
Washington Post
China’s imports from North Korea dropped sharply in the first half of this year, according to figures published Thursday that suggest Beijing is more serious about cracking down on Pyongyang than President Trump has recently claimed. The Trump administration has been calling on Beijing to use its economic leverage over its errant neighbor. But, after North Korea launched a missile technically capable of reaching the United States last week, Trump suggested he’d given up on China.

North Korea weighing a return to talks as missile launch boosts its bargaining power, US nuclear expert says
South China Morning Post
Pyongyang’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test has given it confidence in its negotiating power and it is seriously considering a return to talks, a top US nuclear expert who helped organise informal talks between Washington and Pyongyang said.

Moon adviser proposes five-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear program
Japan Times
An aide to South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed that five-way talks be held among Japan, the United States, China, Russia and South Korea in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program. Tokyo, Washington, Beijing, Moscow, and Seoul should discuss what incentives they can offer to North Korea in case Pyongyang freezes its nuclear facilities and dismantles them in a verifiable manner, he said.

Earthquake off North Korea not result of nuclear test: Pentagon
A magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck off North Korea in the Sea of Japan does not appear to have been caused by a nuclear test, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, citing initial reports. 

South Korea: No proof cash to Kaesong went to North Korea arms programmes
There was no evidence that North Korea had diverted wages paid to its workers by South Korean companies operating in now-suspended industrial park on their border to its weapons programmes, a South Korean official said on Thursday. The assertion by the official in President Moon Jae-in's government was a reversal of the contention by the previous government that most of the cash that flowed into the jointly run Kaesong project was diverted to North Korea's military.


Iran to US: Worry about your own domestic problems
Iranian officials have condemned US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for calling for regime change in Iran. Iranian officials responded on July 11. “Instead of making decisions for other countries, the secretary of defense and the American ruling party better think about their own domestic issues and review the causes of the collapse of its administration in the not too distant future,” said Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan.


NATO secretary general honors Ukraine, speaks out against Russia
Defense News
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Ukraine last weekend to honor 20 years of partnership, according to a NATO announcement. While there, Stoltenberg pointedly spoke out against Russian aggression during his remarks. “Russia has maintained its aggressive actions against Ukraine. But NATO and NATO allies stand on your side,” he said. “NATO allies do not, and will not, recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.”

U.K. Plan to Quit European Nuclear Treaty Stirs Alarm
New York Times
The British government’s plan to withdraw from a seminal European treaty governing the movement of nuclear material is generating alarm that it might hobble Britain’s nuclear industry, destroy thousands of jobs and even deny cancer patients treatments that rely heavily on nuclear isotopes.


India modernizing nuclear arsenal with eye on China: US experts
The Hindu
India continues to modernise its atomic arsenal with an eye on China and the country’s nuclear strategy which traditionally focused on Pakistan now appears to place increased emphasis on the Communist giant, two top American nuclear experts have said. India is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for 150—200 nuclear warheads but has likely produced only 120—130.


White House knocks defense bill’s Crimea, INF Treaty provisions
The Hill
The Trump administration on Wednesday took issue with a number of provisions in the House version of the annual defense policy bill, but generally commended lawmakers for bulking up military spending. Among the provisions targeted by the administration are ones that would prevent a new round of base closures, establish a new branch of the military dedicated to space, limit an arms treaty with Russia, require congressional notification of cyber operations and prevent recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea.

Perry: Hacking threat to US nuclear reactors ‘real,’ ongoing
Fifth Domain
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that “state-sponsored” or criminal hackers are targeting U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy providers, but said the government has resources to safeguard the nation’s electric grid.

Dems try to force House GOP’s hand on Russia sanctions
House Democrats on Wednesday were trying to force the GOP’s hand in a bid to break the logjam over a bipartisan Senate-passed package of Russia sanctions. The Russia bill, which passed the Senate 98-2, was being held up in the House amid Republican concerns over its impact on U.S. oil and gas companies — as well as clashes over a change that would limit House Democrats’ power to force a vote blocking President Donald Trump from easing sanctions.

Trump Policy Nominee Boosts Nukes, Slams Russia
Breaking Defense
President Trump’s pick for the No. 2 policy job in the Pentagon, David Trachtenberg, endorsed new nuclear delivery systems, praised NATO and allies in general and took a hard line towards the Kremlin in his confirmation hearing today.


North Korea: The Case for Deterrence
Real Clear Defense, David Santoro
Crispin Rovere and I discuss foreign policy all the time. Usually on Twitter. Virtually always on opposite ends of the argument. Not surprisingly, we again disagree over how the United States should respond to North Korea’s first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last week. I have already explained here what I regard as the “least bad agenda” after North Korea’s ICBM test, but let me respond to Crispin’s points, which I fear may be gaining currency in some U.S. policy circles.

North Korea’s Kim: Dictator? Reformer? Shrewd negotiator?
San Francisco Chronicle, Hyung-Jin Kim
When Kim Jong Un took the helm of North Korea in late 2011, speculation swirled around the young, Swiss-educated leader. What would he do for an economically backward authoritarian nation that had been in a high-stakes nuclear standoff with its neighbors and Washington for years? Almost six years later, there are still unanswered questions, but some things about Kim have come into focus.

North Korea’s bomb program under 3 generations of Kim family
WTop, The Associated Press
After his country’s first test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, has moved one step closer to perfecting a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States, a weapons program launched by his grandfather and nurtured by his father.


Tuesday's Top Nuclear Policy News


U.N. chief seeks to avoid war with North Korea, takes digs at Trump

Spain becomes fourth country to expel North Korean envoy over nuclear program
Washington Post

Trump lashes out at North Korea: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission’

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