Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017



North Korea Revs the Engine of its New High-Thrust Missile
The New York Times

Amid North Korea threat, Tillerson hints that circumstances could evolve’ for a Japanese nuclear arsenal
Japan Times

Tillerson says North Korea nuclear program is ‘imminent’ threat, as China urges talks


Japan holds 1st civilian missile evacuation drill
Defense News
The drill assumed a scenario of a hypothetical country firing a missile that falls into Japanese territorial waters off the coast of Akita prefecture. It came amid increasing missile threats from North Korea. 

North Korea Revs the Engine of its New High-Thrust Missile
The New York Times
North Korea conducted a ground jet test of a newly developed high-thrust missile engine, the country’s state-run news media said on Sunday, even as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is in the region discussing tougher strategies to help end the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

Taiwan says their missiles can reach mainland China
Defense News
Taiwan has publicly claimed it’s capable of launching missiles that will hit mainland China, confirmed Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan when asked by a lawmaker.

China Pushes Back on U.S. of ‘All Options’ Over North Korea
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pushed back against the tougher U.S. line on North Korea, reiterating his country’s view that the only way to rein in its reclusive neighbor is through talks.

North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Scud-ER Launch Site Visible; Activity at Vertical Engine Test Stand
38 North
While there is almost no activity at the rest of the test facility, it remains fully capable of conducting a launch at any time with limited warning. Identifying launch or engine test preparations remain a challenge due to the North’s extensive concealment and deception practices.

Amid North Korea threat, Tillerson hints that circumstances could evolve’ for a Japanese nuclear arsenal
Japan Times
Secretary of State Tillerson appeared to say in an interview ahead of his visit to Beijing that, with “all options on the table” regarding the North Korean threat, “circumstances could evolve” in terms of Tokyo acquiring atomic weapons.



Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ for defense
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a "modern security concept" that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.



Rex Tillerson and Xi Jinping Meet in China and Emphasize Cooperation
The New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and President Xi Jinping of China cast aside their differences on Sunday with a public display of cooperation, sidestepping areas of disagreement even as North Korea made another defiant statement by showing off a new missile engine.

While Trump talks tough, U.S. quietly cutting nuclear force
Military Times
The reduction to 400 missiles from 450 is the first for the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, force in a decade — when the arsenal came down from 500 such weapons. The Air Force says the latest cut in Minuteman 3 missiles will be completed in April, leaving the deployed ICBM arsenal at its smallest size since the early 1960s.

Tillerson says North Korea nuclear program is ‘imminent’ threat, as China urges talks
Politico, Nahal Toosi
North Korea’s nuclear program poses an “imminent" threat that nonetheless requires the United States, China, and other countries to respond with a "staged approach" that includes sanctions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a rare encounter with the media.



Out of Time in North Korea
The Strategist, Richard Haas
Strategic patience, the approach toward North Korea that has characterized successive US administrations since the early 1990s, has run its course.

A New Engine for a New Satellite Launch Vehicle
38 North, John Schilling
North Korea has been promising us an ambitious new space program, which will require a large new satellite launch vehicle. They have made extensive upgrades to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station to support such a vehicle.

America’s Nuclear Weapons Infrastructure Crumbling
Foreign Policy, Robbie Gramer
Much of the infrastructure that supports the U.S. nuclear weapons programs, including labs, production facilities, and weapons storage complexes themselves were built six decades ago. The aging buildings require constant upgrades and renovations to ensure the safety of the government employees handling the weapons — and secure the weapons themselves. But it’s not happening.

Low Yield Nuclear Weapons (Again)
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
The most important threshold in warfare isn’t the yield of a nuclear weapon; it’s the first use of a nuclear weapon in seven decades — regardless of yield.

America’s Nuclear Bombers Are Old—and in Desperate Need of an Upgrade
The National Interest, Will Wiley
The United States maintains nuclear weapons in a nuclear triad made up of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and air-launched missiles and gravity bombs carried by U.S. Air Force strategic bombers. All of these platforms are aging and require modernization. 

Putting Iran on Notice Through Missile Defense
Real Clear Defense, Jonathan Bergner
The Trump Administration has put Iran “on notice” and the time has come for the U.S. to demonstrate these are more than just words.  A response should be robust and aggressive, which may include authorizing a military response to vessels buzzing U.S. ships in an unsafe and provocative manner.  But the response should also be multi-faceted – and action on missile defense should be a critical facet. 



If a nuclear bomb is dropped on your city here’s where you should run and hide
Business Insider, Dave Mosher & Andy Kiersz
So you might be wondering, "If I survive a nuclear-bomb attack, what should I do?" Michael Dillon, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher, crunched the numbers and helped figure out just that.


Friday's Top Nuclear Policy News


Having nuclear weapons ‘matter of life and death’ for North Korea: RIA

Ending Iran nuclear deal would worsen North Korea situation: Kerry

North Korea writes open letter to Parliament urging Australia to move away from Trump administration
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Russia’s Lavrov warns one-sided changes could sink Iran deal
Associated Press

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