Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News – May 9, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 9, 2017

TOP NEWS

N. Korean Officials Meet U.S. Experts in Oslo
Yonhap

India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism: Fissile Materials, Fuel Cycles, and Safeguards (Report)
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Singapore to Enforce Death Penalty for Nuclear Terrorist Acts
Channel News Asia





EAST ASIA

Pyongyang Reiterates Resolve to Fight Against U.S.
Yonhap
North Korea on Tuesday reiterated its resolve to continue to fight against the United States as it marked the first anniversary of its leader being elected the chairman of the ruling party. 

N. Korean Officials Meet U.S. Experts in Oslo
Yonhap
North Korean officials began informal talks with a group of American experts in Oslo, Norway, amid speculation that Washington may seek dialogue with Pyongyang.

China says North Korea sending delegation to new Silk Road Summit
Reuters
Leaders from 28 countries will attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14-15, an event orchestrated to promote Xi's vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. Despite Chinese anger at North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state's most important economic and diplomatic backer.

Liberal Moon Jae-in wins South Korean election: exit polls
Reuters
Liberal politician Moon Jae-in won South Korea's presidential election on Tuesday, exit polls showed, an expected victory that would end nearly a decade of conservative rule and bring a more conciliatory approach toward North Korea.

Singapore to Enforce Death Penalty for Nuclear Terrorist Acts
Channel News Asia
A person who commits a fatal act of terrorism using radioactive material or nuclear explosive devices will face the mandatory death penalty under new laws passed in Parliament on Monday (May 8).The legislation paves the way for Singapore’s ratification of the United Nations’ (UN) International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT)

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia showcases Arctic hardware in Red Square military parade
Reuters
Russia rolled out air defense systems built to operate in sub-zero Arctic conditions on Tuesday as it showcased its military might at a parade on Moscow's Red Square.



SOUTH ASIA

India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism: Fissile Materials, Fuel Cycles, and Safeguards (Report)
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Mansoor Ahmed
This paper looks at the vertical proliferation potential of India’s unsafeguarded civil-military nuclear program.

 

OPINIONS

Trump, Iran, and the Nuclear Agreement
Real Clear Defense,Mohammed Ayoob
The Trump administration have gone out of their way to portray Iran as America’s inveterate enemy that needs to be ostracized and, if possible, militarily decapitated. There are important constituencies, both inside and outside the US, which would prefer Iran be confronted militarily in order to neuter its real and potential interventionist capabilities in the Middle East.

The Korean Peninsula Migraine—Outcomes No One Wants
The Nikkei Asian Review, Ian Bremmer
The great problem in knowing whether North Korea is about to explode is in judging which words to take seriously and which to ignore. Past U.S. presidents have shrugged off these threats and worked behind the scenes with China and South Korea to find safe ways to tighten the pressure on the regime. But things have changed, and it's now time for the world to pay closer attention.

Today’s Defense Department Lacks Nuclear Weapons Expertise
Investor’s Business Daily, Robert R. Monroe
DOD has disassembled its former dedicated, powerful, organization of nuclear weapons scientists and thinkers, who focus on the military aspect of nuclear weapons, and who would have alerted DOD's leadership to the urgent need. Hopefully, today's new national leadership will reverse the nation's nuclear weapons policies, and re-nuclearize DOD before it's too late.  Since our Cold Warriors have retired or passed on, few or none in DOD even know what needs to be done.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Giving Up Nuclear Weapons: It’s Rare, But It’s Happened (Podcast)
NPR
To this day, South Africa is the only country that's built its own nuclear weapons and then relinquished them. Three former Soviet republics — Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan — inherited nukes when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, and then gave them up. President Trump is now calling for North Korea to relinquish its nuclear arsenal, a step it says it will never take. History shows that countries are unlikely to give up their weapons unless there's a dramatic change in circumstances, as was the case in South Africa.

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 8, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 8, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

N. Korea calls for end to confrontation on eve of election in S. Korea
Yonhap

U.N. Spots North Korea Nuclear Weapon Activity as State Media Warns of War
Newsweek

Pentagon eyeing military connection between Iran, N. Korea: report
Fox News




EAST ASIA

Chinese-North Korean Venture Shows How Much Sanctions Can Miss
The Wall Street Journal
For most of the past decade, a Chinese state-owned company had a joint venture with a North Korean company under sanctions for involvement in Pyongyang’s atomic-weapons program, Chinese corporate and government records show.

South Korea’s Presidential Election: A Look at Pivotal Issues
The New York Times
South Koreans will choose a new president on Tuesday in a vote that will turn on several crucial issues: relations with North Korea and the United States; economic inequality; and the enduring power of the country’s family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebol. Here’s how these issues are playing out in the election.

N. Korea calls for end to confrontation on eve of election in S. Korea
Yonhap
With South Korea's presidential election just one day away, North Korea on Monday called for an end to the history of inter-Korean confrontation. On Tuesday, South Korea is to pick a new president to replace Park Geun-hye who was removed from her presidency in March over corruption charges.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Hardline foes of Iran’s Rouhani rap lack of payoff from nuclear deal
Reuters
In a debate in Tehran carried live on state TV, Rouhani battled criticism that few Iranians had enjoyed any tangible benefits from the 2015 deal under which Iran curbed its disputed nuclear activity in exchange for relief from global sanctions.

Iran’s presidential candidates vow to uphold nuclear deal in televised debate
The Washington Post
Each of Iran’s six presidential candidates committed Friday to uphold a nuclear deal with world powers should he win the May 19 election.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

As China-North Korea ties cool, Russia looks to benefit
CNBC
Recent bilateral projects indicate Russia and North Korea are deepening their relationship Both countries share a long history of ideological and economic relations — in 2014, Moscow wrote off 90 percent of Pyongyang's $11 billion debt from the Soviet-era — but recent projects indicate an even cozier relationship.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N. Spots North Korea Nuclear Weapon Activity as State Media Warns of War
Newsweek
The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said the international body has seen evidence that North Korea is pursuing its sixth nuclear weapons test in the midst of U.S. threats of military action to prevent such an action.

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

China must take strong steps against North Korea even if regime collapses, says Condoleeza Rice
International Business Times
Rice warned that North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons are capable of reaching Russia and the way they are improving, can eventually reach the US mainland in up to five years and once that happens, the US administration will not be able to deal with it.

U.S. House of Representatives Seeking Integrated Intelligence on N. Korea
Yonhap
Democratic Party Rep. Stephanie Murphy is the main sponsor of the bill titled "H.R. 2175: North Korea Intelligence Enhancement Act." The purpose of the bill is "to direct the Director of National Intelligence to establish an integration cell to monitor and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions with respect to North Korea, and for other purposes."

Pentagon eyeing military connection between Iran, N. Korea: report
Fox News
The United States is eyeing a military connection between Iran and North Korea after Tehran attempted to test-fire a missile from a submarine earlier this week, a news report said Friday. The missile launch from a "midget" submarine on Tuesday provided U.S. officials more evidence of North Korean influence in the Islamic Republic, with intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a North Korean design

 

OPINIONS

Four Reasons Why Talking to North Korea Would Be Smart Strategy
Defense One, Jacob Stokes
The Trump administration should have a consistent policy supporting talks. Negotiations would be smart national security strategy, even if they come to naught. Trying to bargain with the Kim regime would be frustrating, given North Korea’s history of bad-faith negotiations and the heinous nature of the regime. Nevertheless, four major reasons rooted in tough-minded realism show why a diplomatic process makes sense.

Is it Time for the U.S. to Craft a New Iranian & Middle East Security Strategy (Part II)
Family Security Matters, Peter Huessy
One could argue that given the relative threats from Iran, stopping its pursuit of nuclear weapons should be of the highest priority. However, the American effort to curtail the Iran nuke program (but not its missiles or terrorist support or human rights atrocities) went through several phases not all of which were helpful to America's security. Thus concentrating largely on that objective was not necessarily beneficial to the U.S. as many have claimed.

A North Korean Nuclear EMP Attack?
38 North, Jack Liu
Recent press articles warn about the possibility of the North Koreans launching an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States, and there are even suggestions that the recent missile test failures may represent a thinly veiled EMP threat. However, such an attack from North Korea is unlikely, as it would require the North to have much larger nuclear weapons and the missile capability to deliver them.

The Downside of North Korea
Real Clear Defense, Charles V. Pena
Understanding that the costs and risks of military action against North Korea outweigh the perceived benefits. In other words, cooler heads and realism need to prevail, which means reasoned analysis of possible policies and their second and third order consequences. Otherwise, we will continue to pursue dangerous policies that cost more in lives and dollars than predicted, drain our military, and weaken our security.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Made in North Korea: As tougher sanctions loom, more local goods in stores
Reuters
From carrot-flavored toothpaste and charcoal facemasks to motorcycles and solar panels, visitors to North Korea say they are seeing more and more locally made products in the isolated country's shops and supermarkets, replacing mostly Chinese imports.

2016 PONI Journal
CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues
CSIS PONI’s latest publication includes papers from the 2016 Nuclear Scholars Initiative and PONI Conference Series.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - May 5, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 5, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea is building mysterious artificial islands that would be perfect for missile launches
Los Angeles Times

Netanyahu Warns Israel Not Bound by 2015 Nuclear Deal
The Times of Israel

History of U.S.-Iran Relations Points to Bad End Game
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy

How to Survive the First Hour of a Nuclear Attack
Vice

EAST ASIA

North Korea is building mysterious artificial islands that would be perfect for missile launches
Los Angeles Times
North Korea is building artificial islands in the Yellow Sea and topping them with what appear to be military installations, satellite images reveal.    

North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard: Activity at the Test Stand
38 North
Commercial satellite imagery of the Sinpo South Shipyard from April 29 indicates new activity at the facility’s missile test stand. The image, however, is of insufficient resolution to reach a determination as to whether the activity is related to maintenance, removal of the service tower or preparations for an upcoming test.

North Korea accuses CIA of ‘bio-chemical’ plot against leadership
Reuters
North Korea on Friday accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea's intelligence service of a plot to attack its "supreme leadership" with a bio-chemical weapon and said such a "pipe-dream" could never succeed.

North Korea threatens to launch attack against intelligence agencies of S. Korea, U.S.
Yonhap
North Korea threatened Friday to launch an anti-terrorist attack against the intelligence agencies of South Korea and the United States as it accused them of plotting to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

MIDDLE EAST

Netanyahu Warns Israel Not Bound by 2015 Nuclear Deal
The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel is not bound by the 2015 agreement, signed between Iran and six world powers including the US, to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and warned that Jerusalem will insure that Iran does not attain nuclear weapons.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Statement of General Curtis M. Scaparrrotti, Commander United States European Command 
United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
NATO Commander, General Curtis M. Scaparrottti, full statement on concerns about Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.  

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

New U.N. disarmament chief Nakamitsu backs proposal for global nuclear weapons ban
The Japan Times
Izumi Nakamitsu, the new U.N. undersecretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs, said Thursday she will throw her full support behind negotiations to ban nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US F-22s intercept Russian bombers, fighters near Alaska
CNN
Two Russian bombers, flanked by a pair of fighter jets, were intercepted by stealth US F-22 aircraft off the coast of Alaska on Wednesday, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The Russian TU-95 Bear bombers and their SU-35 fighter jet escorts stayed in international airspace but did fly as close to 50 miles from Point Hope, Alaska.

House passes bill to impose new sanctions on North Korea
Fox News
The House overwhelmingly voted Thursday to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid heightened tensions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The vote, 419-1, targets North Korea’s shipping industry and use of slave labor. It also requires that the Trump administration report to Congress within 90 days on whether North Korea should be reinstated on the government’s state sponsors of terror list. Such a designation would trigger more sanctions, including restriction on U.S. foreign assistance.

OPINIONS

History of U.S.-Iran Relations Points to Bad End Game
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy
The past decade has been primarily aimed at curtailing (temporarily) Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons by capping the amount of nuclear fuel Iran can produce and to what level of enrichment. In the final analysis, the JCPOA curtailment of its nuclear enrichment capabilities is only temporary and will eventually expire. That end game could leave Iran as an emerging nuclear weapons power. Only a new American Middle East Security Policy will prevent this outcome.

You Get Deterrence, and You Get Deterrence, Everybody Gets Deterrence!
War on the Rocks, Mara Karlin
It serves neither the country’s security nor the secretary to pin so much on deterrence alone. Doing so results in a superficial appreciation for one of the biggest dilemmas in the field of global security affairs. Efforts that are regular, rigorous, and sober will help the Department of Defense better approach deterrence.

U.S. Nuclear Security – Insider Threats (Podcast)
Real Clear Defense, Micah Zenko
Professor Matthew Bunn discusses insider threats in both the private and national security sectors. Bunn also shares insights from his invaluable dissertation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Guardians at the Gates of Hell: Estimating the Risk of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism—and Identifying the Highest-Priority Risks of Nuclear Theft, and talks about how nuclear security has evolved over the past quarter-century.

The Case Against New Nuclear Weapons
Center for American Progress, Adam Mount
Developing new nuclear capabilities would likely increase global nuclear competition, accelerating a new arms race; create uncertainty for existing modernization programs in the Pentagon budget and also at the national laboratories that maintain the nuclear stockpile; increase the likelihood that new countries could seek to acquire nuclear weapons; and do little to improve the ability of the U.S. armed forces to deter and defend against aggression around the world.

An Iran-Style Nuclear Deal with North Korea is the Best America Can Hope For
The Atlantic, Robert S. Litwak
Indeed, the Iran deal shows that even an agreement that could stop a regime before it has nuclear weapons at all is an imperfect solution with many detractors because it does not address what they view as the source of threat—the character of the regime. The open question is whether Trump would take such an imperfect nuclear deal. If not, the administration is left with the bad alternatives of bombing or acquiescing.

SPECIAL INTEREST

NATO-Russia relations: the facts
NATO
Since Russia began its illegal military intervention in Ukraine, Russian officials have accused NATO of a series of mythical provocations, threats and hostile actions stretching back over 25 years. This webpage sets out the facts.

How to Survive the First Hour of a Nuclear Attack
Vice
Let's say a 10 KT nuclear bomb was detonated without the US having advance warning. Here's a timeline of how that nightmare would likely play out in a major city like New York or Washington DC—and your odds of making it out alive.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 4, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 4, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Minuteman III test-fired from California coastal base
Air Force Times

North Korea threat: WH official says Kim could use nuclear weapons as blackmail
Fox News

US Special Operations Command training actively to ensure readiness for N.K. contingencies commander
Yonhap



EAST ASIA

North Korea threat: WH official says Kim could use nuclear weapons as blackmail
Fox News
Matt Pottinger, the Asia director on President Trump’s National Security Council, said there might be some truth to the idea that North Korea wants a nuclear deterrent to protect its communist regime, but the country’s robust conventional military has worked as a deterrent for decades. They have made no secret that they want to use these weapons as an instrument of blackmail to achieve other goals.

North Korea missiles designed to defeat US THAAD defense system
The Washington Times
North Korea has tailored its spate of ballistic missile tests to defeat the U.S.-stationed defense systems ready to protect the South and Japan from descending warheads, a report to Congress says.

N. Korea will never beg for China’s friendship
Yonhap
North Korea slammed China on Wednesday for criticizing its nuclear weapons program, saying it will never "beg" for the ally's friendship. In a commentary released by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang took issue with recent reports in China's official media that the North's nuclear tests pose a threat to its neighbor's national interests.

After North Korea criticism, China says wants to be good neighbor
Reuters
China said on Thursday it wants to be good neighbors with North Korea, after the isolated country's state news agency published a rare criticism of Chinese state media commentaries calling for tougher sanctions over the North's nuclear program

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran attempted missile launch from submarine
Fox News
Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a submarine in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday but the test failed. An Iranian Yono-class “midget” submarine conducted the missile launch.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

UK Needs to Preserve Iran Deal
Financial Tribune
Britain can no longer rely on US leadership on Middle East policy and must work more closely with Europe to ensure the Iran nuclear deal stays in place, among other policies, a committee of British lawmakers said in a report on Tuesday.

 

SOUTH ASIA

India test fires nuclear-capable Agni-II missile
Economic Times
India on Thursday successfully test fired its medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-ll off the Odisha coast. It has a strike range of more than 2,000 km, is 20 metres long, weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Minuteman III test-fired from California coastal base
Air Force Times
The unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off from a silo at 12:02 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base and delivered a single re-entry vehicle to a target about 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) away at Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the Air Force Global Strike Command said.

US House sends budget deal to Senate
Defense News
The lower chamber on Wednesday voted 309 to 118 to advance the $1.1 trillion bill unveiled Monday after weeks of talks. The 1,665-page omnibus bill includes the 11 remaining appropriations bills, including $598.5 billion for defense, which is roughly $25 billion above 2016 levels. 

US Special Operations Command training actively to ensure readiness for N.K. contingencies commander
Yonhap
Gen. Raymond Thomas in a written statement for a House Armed Services Committee hearing held Tuesday, said the threat of "an increasingly rogue North Korea" is of growing concern to him, and the North's threat is no longer a regional one, but has "global implications."

 

OPINIONS

The Political and Military Vulnerability of America’s Land-Based Nuclear Missiles
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jon B. Wolfsthal
As part of the agreement that resulted in the Senate’s approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty nuclear agreement with the Russian Federation, the Obama administration agreed to a nuclear modernization plan that includes retaining and upgrading the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). But from a military standpoint, these missiles are the most vulnerable and least essential components of the US nuclear arsenal.

Forget North Korea. The Next Nuclear Crisis Festers on the India-Pakistan Border
Huffington Post, David Wood  
While President Donald Trump is focused on North Korea’s nuclear madman, a more alarming threat is rising in South Asia: an explosive mix of nuclear weapons, terrorism and hair-trigger war plans.

Russia’s New Tsirkon Cruise Missile
Real Clear Defense, Roger McDermott
Russia’s high-precision capabilities might reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear deterrence. In the latest example illustrating this trend, recent media coverage has focused on developing the new 3M22 hypersonic cruise missile as part of the 3K22 Tsirkon (“Zircon”) system, which has resulted in hyperbolic claims about its potential speed.

How did North Korea get the Bomb? (Podcast)
BBC, Ruth Aleander, Kate Lamble, Phobe Keane, Estelle Doyle
Tensions between the US and North Korea are running high. Kim Jong-Un has been testing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. The Trump administration wants Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programs and has said “all of our options are on the table” in pursuit of that goal. North Korea has said that a "super mighty pre-emptive strike” is planned if the US uses military force against them. But – our question this week – how did this poor and isolated country develop nuclear weapons in the first place?

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

How the U.S.  Prepared for Nuclear Catastrophe
Time
Garret Graff’s new book Raven Rock: The Story of U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die presents a look at how nuclear disaster preparation shaped the modern world. The book recounts the history of "how nuclear war would have actually worked — the nuts and bolts of war plans, communication networks, weapons, and bunkers — and how imagining and planning for the impact of nuclear war actually changed.

Floating Nuclear Reactors in the South China Sea
Real Clear Defense
In November 2016, China announced that it had begun building its first floating nuclear power plant, a project called a ‘top priority’ that would boost Beijing’s ‘strong maritime power strategy’. In February 2017, a government spokesperson for science and technology confirmed that a floating reactor would be operational by 2020 to help fuel China’s offshore activities.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Activity Continues Throughout the Site
38 North

Iran Hardliners Committed to Nuclear Deal
Financial Times

Japan calls for stronger Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty amid North Korea threat
The Japan Times

Test of U.S. Defense Against North Korea Missiles Set This Month
Bloomberg



EAST ASIA

N.K. claims U.S. strategic bombers flew over Korea early this week
Yonhap
North Korea claimed Tuesday that U.S. B-1B strategic bombers made flights over the Korean Peninsula early this week in an exercise on dropping nuclear bombs, saying that Washington is to blame for rising tensions.

U.S., China talk firmer U.N. response to North Korea’s missiles
Reuters
The United States is negotiating with China on a possible stronger U.N. Security Council response - such as sanctions - to North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches, which the 15-member body normally condemns in a statement.

China demands immediate halt to THAAD missile system now ‘operational’ in South Korea
South China Morning Post
“We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system in [South Korea] and urge relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment. We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Activity Continues Throughout the Site
38 North
Based on satellite imagery alone, it is unclear if this activity indicates that a nuclear test has been cancelled, the facility is in stand-by mode or that a test is imminent. The presence of a large number of people dispersed throughout the facility in the latest image, however, is unusual and almost assuredly a component of an overall North Korean deception and propaganda effort.

China urges all sides in North Korea standoff to ‘stop irritating’ one another
Reuters
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, asked about the bomber flights, the drills and North Korea's response, stressed that the situation was "highly complex" and sensitive. "The urgent task is to lower temperatures and resume talks," he told reporters.

Japan’s Abe hopes for reform of pacifist charter by 2020
Reuters
Under the constitution's Article Nine, Japan forever renounced its right to wage war and banned maintenance of a military, though successive governments have interpreted it to allow a military exclusively for self-defense. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he hoped the first-ever change to the country's 70-year-old pacifist constitution would be enacted by 2020.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Hardliners Committed to Nuclear Deal
Financial Times
Iran’s hardliners are committed to the nuclear deal with world powers even as they use the accord to attack President Hassan Rouhani ahead of elections this month, a senior politician said. The agreement was a “done deal” and there would be no attempts to sabotage it, said Alireza Zakani, a senior figure in the hardliners’ camp and a former MP.

Iranians must give Rouhani second term to make good on nuclear deal: vice president
Reuters
Iran's president must get a second term to secure the economic benefits that he promised would result from a diplomatic thaw with the West, Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar said ahead of a May 19 election. Hassan Rouhani's hardline challengers for the presidency say he traded away too much in a 2015 deal with world powers that limited Iran's nuclear work but failed to deliver sufficient rewards.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely
NBC News
Russia is trying to claim 460,000 square miles of the Arctic Ocean as its national territory — an area that includes the North Pole. Russian divers even planted a national flag on the North Pole seabed in a symbolic claim to the region's energy riches. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said it was "not to our advantage to leave any part of the world" to others. American Marines have even been deployed to train for Arctic warfare in Norway.

Russia has hidden nuclear bombs ready to detonate along US coastline, says former Kremlin spokesman
The Independent
A Russian military expert has claimed  Moscow has been "seeding" nuclear bombs off the US coastline. The Kremlin has dismissed the claim as "strange", while an independent expert referred to it as an act of "political warfare".

 

SOUTH ASIA

North Korea cut off by 3rd Partner: India
CNN
The Indian government announced last week it is halting all trade, except for food and medicine, as tension mounts on the Korean peninsula and the U.S. administration urges more global action to isolate Pyongyang. The ban came into force in April. It brings India into line with United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Japan calls for stronger Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty amid North Korea threat
The Japan Times
Taking part in the preparatory committee for the 2020 review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Vienna, the first Japanese foreign minister to do so, Kishida also urged cooperation between nuclear states and non-nuclear states to prevent the spread of nuclear arms.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US: North Korea’s nukes may be a tactic for taking over South Korea
Military Times
North Korea's nuclear weapons development may be designed to take over arch-rival South Korea and coerce the United States into abandoning its close ally, a senior White House official said Tuesday, questioning the North's stated purpose of warding off a U.S. invasion.

Test of U.S. Defense Against North Korea Missiles Set This Month
Bloomberg
The Pentagon will attempt a new test by the end of this month of whether it can intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile like the ones North Korea is seeking to develop, according to the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.



OPINIONS

The Unsettling View From Moscow
Center for New American Studies, Alexander Velez-Green
Russian military strategists argue that if an attack on Russian vital interests appears imminent, Moscow must be prepared to use strategic non-nuclear or limited nuclear force first in order to deter or defeat the United States or NATO.

North Korea’s ‘failed’ missile test may have been a thinly-disguised threat
Nikkei Asian Review, Tetsuro Kosaka
North Korea again launched a ballistic missile in the morning of April 29, which exploded in mid-flight. Although many experts branded the test a failure, it could also have been a thinly-disguised warning. Pyongyang could have been saying, "We could launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack if things get really ugly." A powerful EMP would cause catastrophic damage to electrical grids and communications networks in surrounding nations, creating chaos.

Alliances Are Hard, Part 378, South Korea Edition
New York Times, Max Fisher and Amanda Taub
With every year that passes, North Korea poses a more credible nuclear threat to South Korea, which forces it to choose between escalating its deterrence — and accepting a higher level of risk to maintain the status quo —  or accommodating the North. Either option strains the US-South Korea alliance.

As U.S. and China find common ground on North Korea, is Russia the wild card?
Reuters, James Pearson and Alexei Chernyshev
Russian support for the Pyongyang regime could bring economic benefits for Moscow. It demonstrates Russia is a loyal partner to anti-Western regimes facing international isolation and sanctions. As Russia has close economic links with other countries at odds with the West, like Iran, Venezuela and Syria, this symbolic dimension of the Russia-North Korea relationship has strategic significance.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, or Lack Thereof (Podcast)
NPR
Can a nuclear weapon in space fired by North Korea knock off much of the world's electricity? Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, says not really.

Reuters War College Podcast: What North Korea Wants
Reuters
This week on War College, B.R. Myers will help us figure that out. Myers is a professor of international studies at Dongseo University in Busan, South Korea. He’s visited the north, speaks the language, and reads the literature and propaganda alike. He takes Pyongyang at its word when it says it wants to reunify the peninsula and he’s not hopeful for the future.  

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 2, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 2, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

N. Korea vows to develop nuclear program at full speed in reaction to Trump policy
Yonhap

European Union Doubles Down on Support for Iran Nuclear Accord
The Wall Street Journal

NPT “PrepCom” Sessions
IAEA

North Korea says U.S. bomber flights push peninsula to bring of nuclear war
Reuters




EAST ASIA

N. Korea vows to develop nuclear program at full speed in reaction to Trump policy
Yonhap
North Korea pledged Monday to bolster its nuclear weapons program at maximum speed, issuing the country's first official response to the recently released North Korea policy by the U.S. administration, which focuses on "maximum pressure and engagement."

North Korea says U.S. bomber flights push peninsula to bring of nuclear war
Reuters
North Korea accused the United States of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic U.S. bombers flew training drills with the South Korean and Japanese air forces in another show of strength. The two supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers were deployed amid rising tensions over North Korea's pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Japanese under North Korean missile attack: ‘there is no way we can run from it’
South China Morning Post
North Korea has yet to meet its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the US mainland, but analysts believe its current arsenal is capable of striking the 50,000 US troops stationed across Japan.

THAAD Missile Defense System Initially Capable in South Korea
Reuters
The U.S. military's THAAD missile defense system in South Korea has reached an initial operating capability to defend against North Korean missiles. In addition to the new THAAD system, South Korea also operates a Patriot PAC-3 missile defense system

 

MIDDLE EAST

European Union Doubles Down on Support for Iran Nuclear Accord
The Wall Street Journal
The European Union rallied behind Iran’s nuclear deal during a high-level visit to the country over the weekend, vowing to safeguard the accord despite U.S. threats to scrap it and pledging to support the Islamic Republic’s economy.

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Claims Hypersonic Missile Test
Real Clear Defense
On April 15, Russian officials claimed to have successfully tested the world’s first ever maneuvering hypersonic missile—the “Zircon” (3M22 Tsirkon). Following last month’s reportedly successful test, various Russian sources suggested that the “Zircon” will be introduced into the Russian Armed Forces as early as in 2018.

£1bn Nuclear Attack Submarine Launched
UK Defence Journal
HMS Audacious, the fourth of seven Astute class attack submarines, has been launched BAE Systems at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, the Astute class submarines are the most highly-capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

NPT “PrepCom” Sessions
IAEA
Every five years, Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) meet to review its implementation. Before the Review Conferences, Preparatory Committee (or "PrepCom") meetings are held. Today marks the First Session of the Preparatory Committee leading up to the 2020 NPT Review Conference.

U.S. Statement to the 2017 NPT Preparatory Committee
U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
Statement by the United States in General Debate at the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Delivered by Ambassador Robert A. Wood, Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Praises Beijing’s Efforts to Pressure Pyongyang Over Nuclear Crisis
South China Morning Post
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s expressions of confidence in, and willingness to cooperate with, China and South Korea in the escalating standoff in Northeast Asia follow a ballistic missile test by North Korea’s military on Saturday. “We do see China starting to do something. We’ve seen it in Chinese public statements; we’ve seen it in the Chinese press”, McMaster said.

Donald Trump: I would be honored to meet Kim Jong-Un
BBC
The comments come amid escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. The White House issued a statement following President Trump's remarks, saying North Korea would need to meet many conditions before any meeting between the two leaders could take place.

CIA Chief in South Korea for Talks on Nuclear Threat Posed by North
Voice of America
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo is in Seoul for talks with South Korean intelligence officials as top U.S. officials continue to express deep concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons development program.

US Air Force to Conduct Another Missile Test as North Korea Tensions Rise
Fox News
The Minuteman III missile to be launched Wednesday by the Air Force will be unarmed, officials said. Pentagon officials said this new missile test, like the last one, is “long planned.”

Trump: US troops in Korea ‘not safe’ from North’s threat
The Washington Examiner
President Trump said the roughly 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea are probably not safe from the threat of the North, according to a transcript of an unaired Fox News interview. The president told a Fox interviewer that the forces deployed to the country are "brave" and understand the risk from Kim Jong Un's burgeoning nuclear program.

 

OPINIONS

Washington Must Act Now to Stop North Korean Missiles
Real Clear Defense, Sean Kennedy
It is the imperative that the government takes every option available to prevent that scenario we are ill-prepared to stop a targeted missile from North Korea at present. That must change. We need a missile defense system urgently that can protect both the U.S. homeland and our allies from the North Koreans and other dangerous regimes.

North Korea’s Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile Program: Are the Tests Poised to Accelerate?
38 North, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
Commercial satellite imagery from April 19 has identified a second submersible test stand barge for North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program at the Nampo Naval Shipyard, located on the country’s west coast. The discovery of a second missile test barge may have a number of implications for the future of North Korea’s SLBM program that appears to be an important priority for Kim Jong Un.

Exporting North Korea’s Nukes
Real Clear Defense, Chris Douglas
Nuclear weapons could be smuggled out of North Korea via China, or by fishing vessel or diesel electric submarine, and then be placed into containers on a cargo ship for transport to a port anywhere in the world.

Much Ado About Nothing: Politico’s Iran Deal Investigation Debunked
Huffington Post, Trita Parsi
In a post-fact era, even diplomatic triumphs that saved the United States from both the threat of nuclear weapons and another endless war in the Middle East face perpetual relitigation. The latest example is Josh Meyer’s article in the Politico claiming to reveal that the Obama administration gave previously undisclosed concessions to the government in Tehran as part of the nuclear deal. The article is not news, but comes across as yet another hit piece against the nuclear deal, promoted and celebrated by those in Washington who are unrelenting in their commitment to killing it.

Time for a New Middle East Policy to Deal With Iran
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy
Better policy options for dealing with Iran are available to the United States. Combining current policy initiatives already put forward by the new administration into a counter-Iran security policy. Going beyond the nuclear focus of JCPOA through its larger geostrategic goals. To get to such a policy, we have to understand better what in fact the goals of the Iranian Islamic Republic are, why they pursue nuclear weapons, and what are the objectives of their terror attacks against the United States.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The U.S. Navy Had Big Plans to Turn Battleships into Super Killer “Nuclear Battleships”
The National Interest
The firepower of the battleships—and their destructive range—would have increased substantially. Trading one turret for 20 Harrier jets was a pretty good deal. Add the Tomahawks and their ability to strike with precision at a thousand miles and the improvements looked even better. The resulting warship would have equaled the firepower of a Nimitz-class supercarrier.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 1, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 1, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korean missile test fails after UN meeting on nukes
Military Times

Nuclear Warhead Modernization Needs Funding Increase, GAO finds
Defense News

Sea Power Underpinning US Response to Korea
Defense News

UN Security Council to Confer on North Korea Nuclear Program
Military Times





EAST ASIA

China ‘might agree’ to UN oil embargo of North Korea
South China Morning Post
Beijing would consider an oil embargo against Pyongyang in the case of further nuclear tests by its reclusive neighbor, according to diplomatic analysts. A suspension of oil supplies from Beijing could deal a much harder blow to Pyongyang than any of the existing sanctions, possibly paralyzing the government of Kim Jong-un.

North Korean missile test fails after UN meeting on nukes
Military Times
A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters.

Japan Issues 1st Order to Protect U.S. Ships Amid N. Korea Tensions
Nikkei Asian Review
Japan has issued its first order for forces to protect U.S. military vessels since new security legislation was enacted last year. Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the dispatch of the Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier Izumo on Monday to protect a U.S. Navy supply vessel in the Pacific.

S. Korean, U.S. Security Chiefs Reaffirm No THAAD Payment by Seoul
Yonhap
The national security chiefs of South Korea and the United States on Sunday reaffirmed their initial agreement that Seoul will only provide land for the U.S. deployment of a high-tech missile defense system here without further costs as demanded by President Donald Trump.

Duterte, Trump Talk North Korea
Nikkei Asian Review
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on President Donald Trump to be prudent in his handling of North Korea during an overnight phone call after an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Pasay City concluded on Saturday. President Trump also invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Turkey Arrests Iranian, seizes anti-tank missile parts
Fox News
Turkish authorities have arrested an Iranian national who they say tried to smuggle in parts of a Russian-made anti-tank missile system with the suspected aim of delivering them to a terror organization.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN Security Council to Confer on North Korea Nuclear Program
Military Times
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his counterparts from allies Japan and South Korea and was set to chair a ministerial meeting of the U.N.'s top decision-making body. The U.S. wants to tighten the implementation of sanctions and build international resolve to isolate North Korea so it eventually disarms. 

France, Japan, the U.K. and U.S. Send China and North Korea a Tough Message
Forbes
France’s Mistral amphibious assault carrier docked in Nagasaki, Japan on April 29 in advance of military exercises to be conducted with the U.K., U.S., and Japan. Nagasaki is the closest major Japanese port to South Korea, and coming at a time of tension on the peninsula, the French and U.K. naval presence sends a strong message to both China and North Korea.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuclear Warhead Modernization Needs Funding Increase, GAO finds
Defense News
A new Government Accountability Office report on the NNSA, a quasi-independent branch of the Department of Energy that manages the nuclear stockpile, warns that the agency has five major modernization programs that will be underfunded in the coming years — which in turn could lead to program delays.  

Trump: North Korea ‘disrespected’ China with missile test
ABC News
President Donald Trump said Friday that North Korea had "disrespected" China by attempting to launch another ballistic missile. Trump has said he is counting on Chinese President Xi Jinping to encourage North Korea to give up its pursuit of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Trump has also said he thinks Xi will do the right thing. China is North Korea's benefactor.

McCain on Pre-emptive Strike on North: “We have to consider that option’
Politico
Sen. John McCain said Sunday the Trump administration should consider a pre-emptive strike against North Korea if the U.S. determines that country's regime can mount a nuclear weapon onto a ballistic missile, but cautioned military action should be last resort.

Sea Power Underpinning US Response to Korea
Defense News
The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is operating in the Philippine Sea and, according to the head of U.S. Pacific Command, is within about two hours' flying time to the Korean Peninsula.

Trump is not ruling out military action against North Korea
The Washington Post
President Trump did not appear to be ruling out military action against North Korea if the country pushes forward with its nuclear weapons program. “He’s going to have to do what he has to do. But he understands we’re not going to be very happy,” Trump said of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Trump confers with Asia allies on North Korea nuclear threat
Reuters
Trump spoke to the prime ministers of Thailand and Singapore in separate phone calls about the North Korean threat and invited both of them to Washington.

Trump Warns North Korea’s Missiles Will Get Better
Military Times
President Donald Trump said after North Korea's latest failed rocket launch that communist leader Kim Jong-Un will eventually develop better missiles, and "we can't allow it to happen."


OPINIONS

Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy
Real Clear Defense, Mark B. Schneider
There are three elements of the Russian nuclear threat that impacts the U.S. and our allies. They are: 1) The Russian doctrine concerning the first use of nuclear weapons; 2) Russian modernization programs which are aimed at facilitating first use of nuclear weapons by a combination of precision low-yield and high-yield capabilities; and 3) programs involving active and passive defense.

Missing the Point on Iran’s Ballistic Missiles
War on the Rocks, Behnam Ben Taleblu
The enduring lesson of the diplomacy that led to the JCPOA is that Washington must relearn what was once common-knowledge: that diplomacy and pressure work best when married together. Therefore, to be successful, statesmen must avail themselves of a “combined arms” approach when dealing with adversaries. Any strategy that relies on diplomacy with nothing behind it would leave Washington again with one arm tied behind its back.

GMD: The Only Program That Can Stop a North Korean Warhead from Reaching America
Forbes, Loren Thompson
Nobody in Washington knows whether Kim can be deterred by the kind of strategy America has long applied to Russia and China. t is obvious the American homeland needs to be defended against a North Korean attack. At present, there is only one program capable of doing that. It is called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), and its interceptors in Alaska and California were deployed mainly with North Korea in mind.

The US Must Become More Aggressive About Stopping Iran Nuclear Development
The Hill, Robert Monroe
The current course of pursuing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran will lead to a world of nuclear horror and chaos, a globe covered with the radioactive ruins of great cities. The alternative course – of preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons – leads to the caging of the nuclear genie and the world’s long-term peaceful coexistence with nuclear weapons. And we have months, not years, to make the choice.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Why Launching a War Against North Korea Would Be Immoral (Video)
The Atlantic
Most American presidents of the 20th century understood that preventive war is immoral and dangerous. But, in the past two decades, striking first has become an accepted foreign policy strategy of both Democrats and Republicans. In this short video, Atlantic writer Peter Beinart argues that Americans need to relearn the wisdom of the past: that preventive war threatens world peace.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 27, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 27, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Nuclear Tests Will ‘Never Stop,’ North Korean Government Official Says
CNN

Iran’s Military Fires New Cruise Missiles Amid Gulf Tensions With U.S.
Newsweek

White House Briefs Senate Amid Scary Moment with North Korea
Military Times

EAST ASIA

Nuclear Tests Will ‘Never Stop,’ North Korean Government Official Says
CNN
A North Korean government official in a rare interview promised his country's nuclear tests would "never stop" as long as the US continued what they viewed as "acts of aggression."

North Korea Stages Big Artillery Drill as U.S. Submarine Docks in South
Reuters
North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military and a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. Sets Up Missile Defense in South Korea as North Shows Power
Los Angeles Times
South Korea's trumpeting of progress in setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered U.S. military vessels converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing.

China Warns North Korea Another Nuclear Weapons Test Would Take Relations Beyond ‘Point of No Return’
The Independent
“The game of chicken between Washington and Pyongyang has come to a breaking point,” an official from the ruling Communist Party said in Beijing, adding that if North Korea followed through on vows to carry out a sixth nuclear test, “it is more likely than ever that the situation will cross the point of no return. 

Japan, U.S. hold missile defense drill in Sea of Japan
The Japan Times
The exercise on Tuesday, apparently to confirm readiness for possible ballistic missile launches by North Korea, involved the MSDF destroyer Chokai and U.S. guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald, according to Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Seoul: North Korea Holds Drill to Mark Military Anniversary
Military Times
South Korea's military said Tuesday that North Korea held major live-fire drills in an area around its eastern coastal town of Wonsan as it marked the anniversary of the founding of its military.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Military Fires New Cruise Missiles Amid Gulf Tensions With U.S.
Newsweek
Iran's special naval forces were equipped this weekend with new anti-ship cruise missiles capable of advanced precision and rapid deployment. "Equipping the Iranian naval forces with this missile marks an effective step toward increasing the country’s defensive capability and deterrence power," Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan said.

White House Intervened to Toughen Letter on Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump told aides to toughen a State Department letter last week that declared Iran in compliance with a landmark nuclear deal, senior U.S. officials involved in a policy review said.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force Launches Unarmed Missile for Test in California
Airforce Times
An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from a U.S. Air Force Base in California on a flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean. The missile lifted off at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

White House Briefs Senate Amid Scary Moment with North Korea
Military Times
All 100 senators were invited and transported in buses for the unprecedented, classified briefing. President Donald Trump's secretary of state, defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director were to outline for them the North's escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options.

After North Korea-focused day, administration policy remains opaque
Defense News
After weeks of vocal rhetoric on North Korea, the Trump administration on Wednesday seemed to take a step back, emphasizing economic sanctions and diplomacy over direct military action.

White House Outlines ‘Trump Doctrine’ as President Nears 100-Day Mark
Time
President Trump's decision to strike Syria after its use of chemical weapons and his decision not to label China a currency manipulator to win its support against North Korea's nuclear missile development are key components of an emerging "Trump Doctrine," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told reporters Tuesday.

Trump ‘Armada’ Sent to Deter Kim Can’t Shoot Down His Missiles
Bloomberg
The U.S. Navy flotilla sailing toward the Korean peninsula to deter Kim Jong Un’s regime lacks a key capability: It can’t shoot down ballistic missiles. The Navy’s lack of ballistic missile defense capability on the scene means the Trump administration’s high-profile show of force has a significant gap as it warns North Korea against another missile test and pressures it to back down from its nuclear program.

Senator: Trump Won’t Let North Korea Build Missile to Reach US
Military Times
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says he emerged from a dinner meeting with Donald Trump confident the president will not allow North Korea to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States. 



OPINIONS

Kim Jong Un is a Survivor, Not a Madman
Foreign Policy, Andrei Lankov
North Korea’s system might look bizarre to us from the outside, but the Kims are the ultimate political survivors, hard-edged rationalists whose actions have always had a clear purpose: keeping the family in power.

The Coming US Crackdown on Iran
New York Post, Benny Avni
President Trump may not be quite ready to tear that deal up, as he promised on the campaign trail, but his administration has begun to heavily scrutinize Iranian behavior in the Middle East that undermines our strategic position and the security of our allies.

A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development
38 North, Young-Keun Chang
The transition from liquid to solid propellant missiles will bring about a fundamental paradigm shift in North Korean missile systems (Figure 8). A road-mobile ICBM, tentatively named the Pukguksong-3, employing solid propellant rocket motors could easily achieve the range performance required to hit the US mainland in the future, making it a serious potential threat to the United States.

North Korea is a problem, but China and Pakistan are just as harmful
The Hill, Michael Mazza
In recent weeks, all eyes have been on a looming showdown between the United States and North Korea. But the Korean peninsula is not Asia’s sole nuclear hotspot, nor is the Beijing-Pyongyang relationship the region’s only malign axis. China’s relationship with Pakistan has done, and continues to do, real harm to U.S. interests.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Japan warns citizens they might have only 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile
The Washington Post, Anna Fifield
The Japanese government is preparing its citizens in case a North Korean missile comes their way — possibly with less than 10 minutes’ warning. The prime minister’s office issued new “actions to protect yourself” guidelines this week, including for the first time instructions on how to respond if a North Korean ballistic missile is heading toward Japan.

North Korea Missile Launches: 1984-Present
CSIS Missile Threat, Ian Williams
The following database provides a chronology of North Korea missile launches and nuclear detonations. These entries include full flight tests of ballistic and cruise missiles, both successful and unsuccessful, and nuclear tests.

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - April 25, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 25, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as U.S. submarine docks in South
Reuters

Entire U.S. Senate to go to White House for North Korea briefing
Reuters

General Election 2017: Lib Dems to keep ‘nuclear deterrent’
BBC News

Blasts from the Past: Old Nuke Test Films Offer New Insights
Scientific American

EAST ASIA

North Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as U.S. submarine docks in South
Reuters
North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military as a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

US Navy guide-missile sub calls in South Korea
CNN
The USS Michigan -- a guided-missile submarine -- arrived in South Korea for what a US defense official described as a show of force amid tensions between the US and North Korea.

Japan warns citizens they might have only 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile
The Washington Post
North Korea might be talking about building missiles that can reach the United States, but Kim Jong Un’s regime already has lots of missiles that can reach Japan. So the Japanese government is preparing its citizens to be ready in case a missile comes their way — something that could come with less than 10 minutes’ warning.

As North Korea Speeds Its Nuclear Program, U.S. Fears Time Will Run Out
The New York Times
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis lies a stark calculus: a growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports that conclude the country is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks.

Entire U.S. Senate to go to White House for North Korea briefing
Reuters
All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday.

US-China to Launch 4 Rounds of Talks, as Trump ‘Looks Forward’ To Beijing Visit
Voice of America
The U.S. and China are launching four rounds of talks, as U.S. President Donald Trump heads to China later this year in a visit aimed at strengthening cooperation to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

General Election 2017: Lib Dems to keep ‘nuclear deterrent’
BBC News
The Liberal Democrats would "maintain a credible nuclear deterrent" if they won power, leader Tim Farron says. But Mr Farron also advocated replacing the current system of continuous-at-sea deterrence with more irregular patrolling patterns.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

355-Ship Navy Takes At Least 18 Years: CBO
Breaking Defense
The Force Structure Assessment calls for a 38 percent increase in nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) above earlier plans, from 48 to 66, but Labs says there’s no way to build that many subs that fast.

OPINIONS

France’s next big challenge: defense policy
Politico, Paul Taylor
France prizes its strategic autonomy but can no longer afford to go it alone as a pocket superpower. That means the two options represented by the finalists in the presidential election — independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and anti-EU nationalist Marine Le Pen — represent a crucial fork in the road when it comes to France’s defense and foreign policy.

Asking for Trouble on Iran
The New York Times, Editorial Board
As with other foreign policy issues, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran has been full of mixed messages. Yet amid the confusion, there has been an ominous tendency to demonize Iran and misrepresent the threat it presents. This could lead to an unnecessary and risky confrontation.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Blasts from the Past: Old Nuke Test Films Offer New Insights
Scientific American
Between 1945 and 1962 the U.S. conducted more than 200 atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and captured the detonations on film. Multiple cameras capable of recording 2,400 frames per second covered each blast, creating a highly technical record of the U.S. nuclear arsenal—and a visual deterrent against its use.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 21, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

South Korea on Heightened Alert as Isolated North Readies for Army Celebration
CNBC

Romania Wants Patriot Air-And-Missile Defense Systems
Defense News

Watch Tillerson’s Full Statement on Iran
The Washington Post



EAST ASIA

With Eye on North Korea, China Puts Bombers on ‘High Alert’
CNN
Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put "on high alert" on Wednesday as the US sees evidence that the Chinese military is preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea.

South Korea on Heightened Alert as Isolated North Readies for Army Celebration
CNBC
South Korea said on Friday it was on heightened alert ahead of another important anniversary in North Korea, with a large concentration of military hardware amassed on both sides of the border amid concerns about a new nuclear test by Pyongyang.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Trump raps Iran as violating ‘spirit’ of nuclear deal
The Washington Post
Iran is failing to fulfill the “spirit” of its nuclear deal with world powers, President Donald Trump declared Thursday, setting an ominous tone for his forthcoming decision about whether to pull the U.S. out of the landmark agreement.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Romania Wants Patriot Air-And-Missile Defense Systems
Defense News
“Romania has announced their intent to enhance their defensive capability by procuring Patriot,” Raytheon confirmed in a statement.

Putin Sends Troops to Russia’s Border with North Korea
Daily Mail
It comes days after it emerged that China is also sending 150,000 soldiers to its southern frontier to cope with the tidal wave of North Koreans Beijing fears would flee across the border if war breaks out.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN Security Council Condemns North Korean Missile Launch
CNN
The UN Security Council has formally condemned North Korea's latest missile launch, demanding that it "immediately" cease further actions that violate resolutions.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump Praises Chinese Efforts on North Korea ‘Menace,’ Pyongyang Warns of Strike
Reuters
Trump told a news conference "some very unusual moves have been made over the last two or three hours," and that he was confident Chinese President Xi Jinping would "try very hard" to pressure Beijing's ally and neighbor North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

Watch Tillerson’s Full Statement on Iran
The Washington Post
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on April 19 said the Trump administration is reviewing its Iran policy. Tillerson also said the Iran nuclear deal fails to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

 



OPINIONS

With North Korea, We Do Have Cards to Play
The Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer
There are deals to be made. They may have to be underpinned by demonstrations of American resolve. A preemptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities and missile sites would be too dangerous, as it would almost surely precipitate an invasion of South Korea. The Korea crisis is real and growing. We are not helpless. We have choices. We have assets. It’s time to deploy them.

The World Must Secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times, Rahmatullah Nabil
Pakistan must be forced to stop playing a double game, supporting extremist groups while publicly proclaiming that it is fighting terrorism. Second, the government in Islamabad should welcome the help of the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency in securing nuclear assets. Government agencies inside Pakistan have admitted that the country’s nuclear assets are in danger. The rest of the world should take heed and try to protect them before it’s too late.

The Coming Crisis with Iran
The New York Times, Trita Parsi
The administration has now said it will conduct a 90-day review of whether lifting sanctions — as required by the nuclear deal — will be in line with American national security interests. But that timeline is not long enough to save the deal and stop the United States and Iran from sliding dangerously back to a path toward war.

Have North Korea’s Missile Tests Paid Off?
BBC
So when will North Korea actually test an ICBM? The answer to that is, when it is good and ready to.The two new solid fuel ICBMs seen on the parade are years away from testing. But high-level UK embassy defector Thae Yong-ho said Pyongyang aims to complete the development of one ICBM by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Testing and "completing" are two different things.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Understanding Nuclear Weapon Risks
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
This month, UNIDIR released its report on "Understanding Nuclear Weapon Risks" - a multi-author study that looks at various sources of detonation risk, from technological aspects to human and operational elements to doctrinal considerations, among others, and considers recent security developments of relevance.

PNNL’s New National Security Role—To Trace Nuclear Bombs, Terrorism
Tri-City Herald
The source of smuggled radioactive material or the plutonium in a nuclear detonation will be easier to trace with the launch of a new project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.The national lab in Richland will work with the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office to process and analyze small samples of the radioactive isotope used in nuclear weapons.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 20, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 20, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea warns of ‘super-mighty preemptive strike’ as U.S. plans next move
Reuters

Tillerson Declares the Iran Nuclear Deal a Failure
The New York Times

Russia Vetoes UN Statement on North Korea’s Missile Tests
CNN

US tells North Korea: We Don’t Want a Fight, Don’t Start One
Military Times





EAST ASIA

North Korea warns of ‘super-mighty preemptive strike’ as U.S. plans next move
Reuters
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, did not mince its words. "In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes," it said.

S. Korea’s Top Diplomat to Attend UNSC Meeting on N.K. Issue
Yonhap
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will join the UNSC meeting to be held in New York on April 28 that will focus on North Korea's nuclear stalemate and its denuclearization

U.S. Sends Nuclear Sniffer Plane to Korea
Yonhap
The U.S. Air Force dispatched a nuclear sniffer aircraft Thursday to the east of the Korean Peninsula amid the possibility of North Korea's imminent nuclear test

 

MIDDLE EAST

US Accuses Iran of ‘Alarming Provocations’ Amid Nuclear Tensions
BBC News
In a statement on Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said a review, which he had announced in a letter to Congress a day earlier, would look at the whole US policy towards Iran - taking in not only Tehran's compliance with the nuclear deal but also its actions in the Middle East.

Tillerson Declares the Iran Nuclear Deal a Failure
The New York Times
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared the Iran nuclear deal a failure on Wednesday but left open the possibility the Trump administration will uphold it nonetheless.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Vetoes UN Statement on North Korea’s Missile Tests
CNN
Russia has derailed a proposed UN Security Council statement that would have condemned North Korea's latest missile launch test, using its veto to torpedo the motion.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Risk of ‘Accidental’ Nuclear War Growing, UN Research Group Says
Defense One
A new report from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, or UNIDR, argues that as the modern battlefield becomes more technologically complex, crowded with more sensors, satellites, drones, and interconnected networks, the risks of another nuclear accident are on the rise.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Inert, Upgraded B61 Gravity Bomb Dropped USAF F-16C
IHS Janes
Conducted by USAF's 422nd Flight Test and Evaluation Squadron based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, the test was designed to demonstrate the aircraft's capability to deliver the weapon, and testing the functioning of the weapon's non-nuclear components, including the arming and fire control system, radar altimeter, spin rocket motors, and weapons control computer.

US tells North Korea: We Don’t Want a Fight, Don’t Start One
Military Times
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations had a message for North Korea on Wednesday: "We're not trying to pick a fight so don't try and give us one."  "The ball is in their court," Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters. "They shouldn't try and play at this point."

Pence Says to North Korea: ‘The Sword Stands Ready’
Military Times
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military, promising it would make an "overwhelming and effective" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons.

As Korea tensions deepen, Carl Vinson Strike Group Deployment Extended
Navy Times
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group’s deployment has been extended by 30 days to patrol the waters off the Korean Peninsula as tensions deepen on with the rogue North Korean regime.



OPINIONS

Is the United States Really Blowing Up North Korea’s Missiles?
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis
There’s just no evidence to support the fantasy that Kim Jong Un’s rockets are falling prey to a super-secret U.S. cyber-program.

South Koreans Feel Cheated After U.S. Carrier Miscue
The New York Times, Choe Sang-Hun
The episode raised questions about whether major allies of the United States, like South Korea and Japan, had been informed of the carrier’s whereabouts, and whether the misinformation undercut America’s strategy to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions by using empty threats.

Why Mattis Versus Kim Jong-Un Will End Badly For Us All
War on the Rocks, Van Jackson
It’s getting harder to ignore that the Pentagon, under Secretary Jim Mattis, may have a coercive theory of victory that largely mirrors that of North Korea under Kim Jong-Un. The danger is in the fundamental incompatibility of these disturbingly similar sets of strategic beliefs.

The North Korea-Trump Nightmare
The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof
If a military strike is unthinkable, and so is doing nothing, what about Trump’s plan of nudging China to apply pressure to North Korea? It’s worth trying, but I don’t think it’ll work, either. The only option left, I think, is to apply relentless pressure together with China, while pushing for a deal in which North Korea would verifiably freeze its nuclear and missile programs without actually giving up its nukes, in exchange for sanctions relief.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Hawaii’s Renewed Jitters About Nukes
The Atlantic, Adrienne Lafrance
State lawmakers in Hawaii have formally asked the Department of Defense to help with nuclear disaster preparedness in the state. Such plans haven’t been updated at the local level in decades, since 1985, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. In the early 1980s, Hawaii’s fallout shelters were still stocked with medical kits and food. But those supplies have long since been thrown out, and funding for such shelters evaporated.

How to build a $2.7B nuclear submarine (Photo gallery)
CNET
A sneak peak of the construction going on for the next batch of Virginias in the works, Block III.

North Korea Marks Late Founder’s Birthday With Video Depicting Massive Nuclear Strike On U.S.
The Japan Times
A North Korean musical show celebrating the anniversary of its late founder has conveyed an explosive message for the United States — one depicting a massive nuclear strike on an unnamed city.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 19, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 19, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

U.S. Says Iran Complies with Nuke Deal, But Orders Review on Lifting Sanctions
Reuters

Mikhail Gorbachev Warns of New Cold War with US-Russia Arms Race ‘in full swing’
The Independent

US Nuclear Modernization Programs Put at Risk by Yearlong Continuing Resolution
Defense News

 

EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S., Japan Unite Against China’s THAAD Retaliation
Yonhap
Senior defense officials from the three countries made the call at the Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT) in Tokyo, which focused on their joint response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. In a joint press statement, they pointed the finger apparently at Beijing for its thinly veiled economic sanctions on Seoul, although they did not mention it by name.

North Korea warns ‘thermonuclear war could break out at any moment’
The Guardian
A senior North Korean official has accused the US of turning the Korean peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot” and creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment”.

China Defends North Korea Trade After its Trucks Haul Missiles
Defense News
Photos provided by the North Korean government showed the submarine-launched missiles being pulled by trucks bearing the logo of the Chinese company Sinotruk. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China conducts "normal" business with its neighbor North Korea while adhering to sanctions imposed beginning in 2006 by the United Nations Security Council.

Vice Unification Minister [South Korea] Meets with Japan’s Top Envoy Over N.K. Issue
Yonhap
Vice Minister Kim Hyung-suk held the meeting with Amb. Yasumasa Nagamine to exchange views on security concerns and the importance of cooperation in responding to North Korea's threats, according to Seoul's unification ministry. "They shared the view that North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations pose direct threats to the security of South Korea and Japan," the ministry said.

‘All Options’ Considered for Dealing With North Korea
Voice of America
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted Pence for talks in Tokyo, said he appreciates the Trump administration's "all options" approach. Abe added that he hopes for peaceful dialogue with North Korea, but that “dialogue for the sake of dialogue” has no value.

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Says Iran Complies with Nuke Deal, But Orders Review on Lifting Sanctions
Reuters
In a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, on Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran remained compliant with the 2015 deal, but said there were concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Rockets Fuel Tensions in the Balkans
ABC News
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said he negotiated the purchase of the S-300 anti-aircraft rockets during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko last month.

Russian bombers fly near Alaska; Air Force scrambles jets
Fox News
A pair of Russian nuclear-capable bombers flew near Alaska Monday night, two U.S. officials stated, coming as close as 100 miles from Kodiak Island -- the first time since President Trump took office that Moscow has sent bombers so close to the U.S.

Mikhail Gorbachev Warns of New Cold War with US-Russia Arms Race ‘in full swing’
The Independent
“The relationship between the big powers continues to worsen. This creates the impression that the world is preparing for a war. So all the indications of a Cold War are there.”Asked whether the situation could “turn hot”, Mr Gorbachev cautioned that “anything is possible if we just keep watching, sit back and do nothing”.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Nuclear Modernization Programs Put at Risk by Yearlong Continuing Resolution
Defense News
Lawmakers have until April 28 to either pass new spending bills or extend the current continuing resolution, which would keep weapons programs running at the same funding levels as 2016 and prevent any new ones from starting.

‘We are with you 100 per cent’: US VP Mike Pence reassures Japan over North Korea during Visit
South China Morning Post
Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of the “iron-clad” alliance with the United States. He also warned the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, that the “era of strategic patience” was over.

Trump Warns North Korea as Pyongyang Vows More Missile Tests
Fox News
Asked what would happen if North Korea were to test another missile – as it has vowed to do – Trump cryptically replied: “We’ll find out.”

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group Deployment Extended for Korea Presence Operations
USNI News
The deployment of Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has been extended by a month so the CSG can conduct presence operations off the coast of Korea, the commander of the strike group said late Tuesday in a message to his crew.

 

 

OPINIONS

What North Korea Should Teach Us About Iran
Gatestone Institute, Alan M. Dershowitz
We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited. The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before they became a nuclear power is that we must stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

Time for Better U.S.-China Grand Bargain on North Korea
The National Interest, Doug Bandow
President Donald Trump put North Korea front and center in talks with China. In doing so, he’s created an opportunity for the two nations to cooperate to more effectively press the North to freeze, if not end, its nuclear program. But to move forward, the Trump administration must do more than dramatically wave its military sticks. It needs to take the initiative and offer more carrots as well.

The Dangers of Trump’s Strategic Impatience with North Korea
The Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor
Trump and his advisers have repeatedly called the “unpredictability” of their moves and policymaking a virtue. They have also consistently played up the role of American military might as a prime mover in international affairs. But there's a reason previous administrations have taken a careful, calibrated approach on North Korea — and one anchored in regional diplomacy, not the presence of an “armada” — as Trump put it — of American warships.

North Korea and Mar-a-Lago: Did it Make Any Difference?
38 North, Alan D. Romberg
The outcome of the Mar-a-Lago summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping cannot yet be characterized as a breakthrough, it certainly was not the acrimonious breakdown that many predicted. From where this observer sits, it was, at the very least, a modest success and perhaps more than that.

North Korea: Talks Will Fail Because We Have Nothing They Want
Real Clear Defense, Sam Roggeveen
Sigmund Freud is supposed to have said that 'sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar'. But sometimes a missile test is just a missile test, a method for developing and perfecting the ability to launch a warhead against an adversary. And that's ultimately what North Korea wants.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 18, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 18, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


North Korea ‘will test missiles weekly’
BBC News

EU, Iran Sign First-Ever Nuclear Safety Cooperation Project
New Europe

Mattis says North Korea missile test meant to provoke
Reuters

Russia’s new Arctic Trefoil military base unveiled with virtual tour
BBC News




EAST ASIA

North Korea ‘will test missiles weekly’
BBC News
North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US. "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis," said Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol.

N.K. sets up special operation forces amid military tensions
Yonhap
The country unveiled the existence of the Korean People's Army (KPA) special forces for the first time at a military parade Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung.

China’s Korea policy ‘in tatters’ as both North and South defy sanctions
The Washington Post
Beijing and Washington share the same goal — a peninsula free of nuclear weapons — but they often appear to be trying to realize that goal in mutually incompatible ways.

Pence Reaffirms U.S.-Japan Alliance Amid North Korea Provocations
The Wall Street Journal
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday mixed tough words on North Korea with a gentle touch on trade, refraining from pressing Japan for economic concessions at a time of regional tension.

The US and South Korea agree ‘early’ deployment of THAAD missile defense system
The Independent
Operations to install the THAAD began in early March, the day after the North launched four ballistic missiles, when the United States flew in the "first elements" of the system to a military base near the South Korean capital Seoul.



MIDDLE EAST

The White House is Considering Ramping Up Existing Sanctions to Hold Tehran’s Feet to the Fire
Foreign Policy
The Trump White House is poised to ratchet up existing sanctions against Iran and is weighing a much stricter interpretation of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and major world powers.

EU, Iran Sign First-Ever Nuclear Safety Cooperation Project
New Europe
The 2.5 million euro project aims to enhance the capabilities of the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s new Arctic Trefoil military base unveiled with virtual tour
BBC News
The Arctic Trefoil permanent base is in Franz Josef Land, a huge ice-covered, desolate archipelago. The Russian military sees the resource-rich Arctic as a key strategic region.

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

North Korean aggression shows need for more US forces in the region, says top lawmaker
Military Times
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent military actions “erratic” and said adding U.S. military forces in the region could both act as a deterrent to North Korea and a diplomatic push to China to intervene.

US Carrier still thousands of miles from Korea
Defense News
A week after the U.S. announced the carrier and its escorts would leave Singapore, forego port calls in Australia and instead return to Korean waters, the carrier and its group had yet to head north.

Pence warns North Korea ‘era of strategic patience is over’
Military Times
Pointing to the quarter-century since the United States first confronted North Korea over its attempts to build nuclear weapons, the vice president said a period of patience had followed. "But the era of strategic patience is over," he declared.

Mattis says North Korea missile test meant to provoke
Reuters
The failed North Korean missile test over the weekend was an attempt by the reclusive country to "provoke something," U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday, pledging that the United States will work with China to reduce tensions.

OPINIONS

Russia violations make it time to shelve INF Treaty
Washington Times, Michaela Dodge
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.” We’re all familiar with that old saying. But what do they say about fool me thrice? That’s exactly what Russia has done: violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty three times over.

Pence Talks Tough on North Korea, but U.S. Stops Short of Drawing Red Line
The New York Times, Mark Landler and Jane Perlez
Vice President Mike Pence issued a fresh warning to North Korea on Monday not to test America’s resolve. But behind the threatening talk, the White House is taking a more calculated approach, giving the Chinese government time to show whether it is ready to use its influence to curb its erratic, nuclear-armed neighbor.

Is North Korea Working Toward a ‘Carrier-Killer’ Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile
The Diplomat, Ankit Panda
North Korea tested on Sunday — the day after the military parade — was something called the KN-17. That represents a brand-new KN missile designation by the United States, which just weeks ago unveiled that it would be calling the Pukkuksong-2 the KN-15. The KN-17 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled missile that — critically — could be used to target ships.

With US and North Korea each testing the other’s resolve, is the world hurtling towards war? Not quite
South China Morning Post, Niall Ferguson
Brinkmanship is ­effective only if your adversaries ­believe that you are more prepared to go over the brink than they are. Nor should the domestic political benefits of successful brinkmanship be forgotten. Am I surprised that we are back on the brink, after all these years? No.

Mini-nukes: Still a bad choice for the United States
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, James E. Doyle
Building “mini” or tailored nuclear weapons might well lower the threshold to nuclear war; risking that outcome would only make sense if it were absolutely clear that introducing these weapons would remedy some dangerous weakness in deterrence.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The Nuclear Posture Review is underway. Here’s what to look for
Defense News, Aaron Mehta
The Pentagon on Monday officially kicked off its Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, a major strategic undertaking that will set the Trump administration’s nuclear policy. 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 17, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 17, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korean Medium-Range Missile Test Fails, US Says
The New York Times

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on North Korea Missile Test
Department of Defense

Parade in Pyongyang a step back from brink, says analysts in China
South China Morning Post




EAST ASIA

North Korean Medium-Range Missile Test Fails, US Says
The New York Times
The White House believes that Sunday's test involved a medium-range ballistic missile that failed within 4-5 seconds after launch, and that it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile.

N. Korea Unveils New ICBM at Military Parade
Yonhap
North Korea on Saturday unveiled what appears to be its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), staging a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang amid increased military tensions on the peninsula. "It's presumed to be a new ICBM. It seems longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs, an official said.

Parade in Pyongyang a step back from brink, says analysts in China
South China Morning Post
North Korea refrained from conducting a nuclear test to mark a national celebration on Saturday, instead holding a military parade seen as a sign of defiance but also of restraint.

Failure to sanction China helped North Korea, former officials say
Politico
Even as Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping pledge to stop North Korea’s fast-advancing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, there’s one uncomfortable secret that neither leader has publicly acknowledged: Chinese banks and businesses are playing key roles in providing Pyongyang with access to the global markets they need to acquire critical parts and technologies.

 

MIDDLE EAST

As Elections Approach, Iran President Hassan Rouhani Takes Hardline on Missile Projects\
NDTV
Iran will ask 'no one's permission' to build up its missile capability, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, in what appeared to be a defiant response to US efforts to hamper the Iranian military.

 



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

There’s a ‘father of all bombs’ too and Russia has it
The Times of India
In 2007, Russia tested the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP), which has been dubbed the 'father of all bombs (FOAB)' as it is four times more powerful than the MOAB. Though lighter at 7,000kg, the bomb has a blast yield equivalent to that of 44 tons of TNT.



SOUTH ASIA

World’s biggest bombs: India’s SPICE no match for America’s MOAB or Russian FOAB
Hindustan Times
Neither India nor Pakistan nor even China possesses non-nuclear bombs that are in the league of MOAB, developed in the early 2000s. In fact, their stockpile doesn’t come anywhere close to MOAB-like munitions.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

The 30th Anniversary of the Missile Technology Control Regime
The State Department
It is in the interest of the American people and the wider global community to oppose the spread of missile systems and technology to those who would misuse it. The United States looks forward to continued close cooperation with all members of the MTCR – and with states that are not members but have adopted export controls consistent with the Regime’s standards – to further promote missile nonproliferation and global security.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on North Korea Missile Test
Department of Defense
The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.

Pence warns North Korea of U.S. resolve shown in Syria, Afghan Strikes
Reuters
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence put North Korea on notice on Monday, warning that recent U.S. strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed that the resolve of President Donald Trump should not be tested.

Trump says China ‘working with us’ on North Korean issue
South China Morning Post
“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump said in a tweet early Sunday to his 28 million followers. The comment was Trump’s first in response to a failed missile test by North Korea overnight.

US Conducts Tests for Upgraded Nuclear Bomb|
The Hill
Sandia National Laboratories conducted a test last month to assess the non-nuclear capabilities of the B61-12, the report said. As part of the test, an F-16 dropped an inert version of the weapon over a Nevada desert.

H.R. McMaster After North Korea Failed Missile Test: Trump ‘will take action’ to protect US
Washington Examiner
McMaster echoed his boss on U.S. military strategy, saying "we do not want to telegraph in any way how we'll respond. "What is clear, McMaster added, is "that the president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States. And our president will take action that is in the best interest of the American people."



OPINIONS

How to Make a Deal with North Korea
Politico, William J. Perry
The United States could readily strike nuclear facilities in North Korea, just as we struck a military airfield in Syria. But the consequences could be far more destructive. I believe that North Korea would respond with some sort of military strike against South Korea, which in turn could rapidly escalate into a broader war. Any such war would lead to the eventual defeat of North Korea, but with devastating results, especially to our ally, South Korea.

North Korea’s Military Parade: What We Didn’t See
CNN, David Schmerler
During similar parades in the past, North Korea has shown off its military hardware as a sign of strength and defiance to those who oppose the state. This year we were expecting to see a new missile, but what we got was something of a scale never seen before.

A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion’ in North Korea
The New York Times, David E. Sanger and William J. Broad
All the elements of the North Korean nuclear crisis — the relentless drive by Kim Jong-un to assemble an arsenal, the propaganda and deception swirling around his progress, the hints of a covert war by the United States to undermine the effort, rather than be forced into open confrontation — were on vivid display this weekend.

How Weapons of Mass Destruction Became ‘Red Lines’ for America
The Atlantic, Jonathan Hunt
Since the 1960s, categorical opposition to weapons of mass destruction—biological, chemical, and nuclear—has been a hallmark of American foreign-policy thinking. When reports noted that images of “young children and babies being gassed” reportedly moved Trump to action in Syria, they were echoing a long tradition, one that has both helped to justify international cooperation to combat the most terrible weapons of war, and given license to presidents to strike out in humanity’s name.

Russia is Watching Us. Good!
Washington Examiner, Matthew R. Costlow
This is great news for the United States and NATO because the Russians tipped their hand by detailing exactly which allied actions concern them and what weapon programs they are watching. This is great news for the United States and NATO because the Russians tipped their hand by detailing exactly which allied actions concern them and what weapon programs they are watching.

Behind North Korea’s Fizzled Missile: Has China Lost Control of Kim?
The Daily Beast,Gordon G. Chang
The quick end to Sunday’s test undercuts the fearsome image of Kim Jong Un’s ballistic missiles. What does a deeply embarrassed dictator do next? Kim may have to do something we consider horrible if he wants to remain in power.



SPECIAL INTEREST

On Easter, Pope denounces ‘oppressive regimes’ but urges restraint
Reuters
Pope Francis denounced "oppressive regimes" in his Easter message on Sunday but in an apparent call for restraint urged world leaders to prevent the spread of conflicts, as tensions rose in North Korea and Syria.

Take a 3D tour of North Korea’s nuclear test site, thanks to open source intelligence
The Verge
Using that seismic information, along with satellite images and high-resolution topography data released by both NASA and Japan’s Ministry of the Economy, Trade, and Industry, Jeffrey Lewis and his colleagues at the Monterey Institute of International Studies have created a 3D model of what they think the tunnels stretching beneath the mountains of Punggye-ri look like.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 13, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 13, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China Warns Against Force as North Korea Prepares Celebration
Reuters

USSTRATCOM, Norway Sigh Space Data-Sharing Agreement
Airforce Times

NATO deploys troops to Poland while concerns about country’s army rise
Reuters




EAST ASIA

China Warns Against Force as North Korea Prepares Celebration
Reuters
"Military force cannot resolve the issue," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. Fears have been growing that the reclusive North could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions and stark warnings from the United States that a policy of patience was over.

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Primed and Ready
38 North
Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site’s Command Center.

North Korea may be capable of sarin-tipped missiles
Reuters
North Korea may have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday, amid concerns that the reclusive state could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test or more missile launches.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

NATO deploys troops to Poland while concerns about country’s army rise
Reuters
Poland welcomed the first U.S. troops in a multi-national force which is being posted across the Baltic region to counter potential threats from Russia. More than 1,100 soldiers are to be deployed in Orzysz, about 57 km (35 miles) south of Russia's Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad, where Moscow has stationed nuclear-capable missiles and an S-400 air missile defense system.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

IAEA flags cyber threat concerns for nuclear facilities
Economic Times
Global nuclear watchdog IAEA has expressed concern over possible cyber and terrorist threats to nuclear installations worldwide, without indicating any additional specific details. 




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

USSTRATCOM, Norway Sigh Space Data-Sharing Agreement
Airforce Times
The agreement seeks to improve spaceflight safety, while also improving mutual awareness within the space domain. Shared information will enhance launch support capabilities, satellite maneuver planning and electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, among other space-related operations.

North Korea oil imports, airline among possible U.S. sanction targets
Reuters
Despite sending a naval force to the Korean peninsula, the Trump administration is focusing its North Korea strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo, banning its airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang.

US Hit IS with Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb Ever Used
The New York Times
The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement that the massive ordnance air blast weapon was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday on a tunnel complex in Achin district of Nangarhar province, where the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been operating.

 

OPINIONS

The Case for Engaging North Korea
The Diplomat, Joseph Yi, Byeonggeun Heo, and Junbeom Bank
A hard-line strategy is not likely to persuade the DPRK regime to give up its missiles and nuclear weapons. Internal economic and social change is ultimately the only path to moderate the DPRK regime and its policies.

Keep ahead of North Korea: Redesign US Missile Defense
The Hill, Richard Weitz
The current fleet of Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) offers the only way of protecting the continental United States from these missiles. Unfortunately, the few dozen GBIs now deployed in Alaska and California were rushed into service in the early 2000s to deal with emerging threats after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. They have performed poorly in tests due to their aging technologies.

Assessing North Korea’s Weapons Programs
The Cipher Brief, Will Edwards
Now that President Donald Trump has demonstrated his willingness to get tough with a regional bad actor by using a cruise missile attack to punish the Assad regime and try to deter it from any future uses of chemical weapons, similar deterrent actions against challenging Iranian behavior seem more likely.

The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Agreement
Council on Foreign Relations, Zachary Laub
Iran has dismantled much of its nuclear program and given international inspectors extensive access to sensitive sites under an agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under its terms, the United States, European Union, and United Nations have lifted sanctions that had crippled the Iranian economy, but more than year after the accord took effect, Iranians have yet to see the recovery that President Hassan Rouhani had promised.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

How North Korea pays for a nuclear program and lavish parties while under the tightest sanctions on earth
Business Insider
Experts contend that while some countries, like China, may have political interests in keeping the Kim regime from collapsing without trade or prosperity, other countries are fooled by North Korea's intricate and effective network of front companies and tricks.

An Early North Korean Provocation Remembered
Real Clear Defense, Todd Crowell
A North Korean provocation, a U.S. President new to the job and untested, a show of force by a naval armada: a date pregnant with meaning. All point to a half-forgotten but seminal episode of the Cold War more than 40 years go that still resonates.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 12, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 12, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


China Urges Restraint as Carl Vinson Closes on Korean Waters
Navy Times

Iran nuclear industry on right track: Salehi
Tehran Times

Russian Navy Vessels Make Port Call in S. Korea for Friendship Visit
Yonhap

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting: Statement on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
G7 2017 Italy




EAST ASIA

South Korea Seeks to Assure Citizens U.S. Won’t Strike North Pre-emptively
The New York Times
Reacting to worries and conjecture spreading in South Korea of a possible pre-emptive American military strike on nuclear-armed North Korea, the government sought to reassure citizens on Tuesday that there would be no such attack without its consent.

Facing pressure from Trump, Kim Jong Un and Bashar al-Assad reaffirm their nations’ friendship
The Washington Post
North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un had received a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that said the two nations were “conducting a war against big powers' wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy and deprive them of their rights to self-determination.”

Despite Growing Tension, Experts See Slim Chance of U.S. Pre-emptive Strike on N. Korea
Yonhap
The recent U.S. missile strikes on Syria carried a clear warning for North Korea, but the dangerous regime armed with nuclear bombs and various missiles is a different case from Syria, apparently with little capability to retaliate, experts in Washington said Tuesday.

China’s Xi Urges Peaceful Resolution of North Korea Tension in Call with Trump
Reuters
The communication between the leaders underscored the sense of urgency as tension escalates amid concern that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test, or more missile launches, and Trump's threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

China Urges Restraint as Carl Vinson Closes on Korean Waters
Navy Times
China wants everyone to bring it down a notch as the Carl Vinson carrier strike group closes in on the waters near the volatile Korean Peninsula. A story on Chinese state-run television urged both North Korea and the United States to “ remain calm and observe restraint.”

China Will Get Better US Trade Deal if it Solves N. Korea Problem, Says Trump
South China Morning Post
US President Donald Trump says he gave his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping an ultimatum in their meeting last week: solve the North Korea crisis and you’ll get a good trade deal.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Saudis eager to develop nuclear program to keep pace with Iran: ex-CIA analyst
Tehran Times
Professor Paul Pillar, who was CIA intelligence analyst for 28 years, stated he Saudis have been interested all along in developing a nuclear program, and keeping pace with Iran involves part of their motivations.  It would be difficult to attribute any change in the pace of Saudi research, one way or another, to conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement with Iran. 

Iran nuclear industry on right track: Salehi
Tehran Times
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that Iran’s nuclear industry has been put on the right track.

Iran stunned by Ahmadinejad’s announcement he is running for president
The Independent
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted his name for registration for the May 19 presidential election on Wednesday in an apparent reversal of earlier promises not to run. Under his administrations, Iran’s international ties were brought to an unprecedented low point and the country’s nuclear dossier escalated into a drawn-out diplomatic impasse



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Navy Vessels Make Port Call in S. Korea for Friendship Visit
Yonhap
The call at the port of South Korea's Naval Operations Command by the guided-missile cruiser Varyag and the tanker Pechenga, both 11,000-ton vessels, was the second this year to be made by Russian warships. The two vessels will stay in Busan for four days, with crew members to take part in exchange and volunteer activities with their South Korean counterparts.



SOUTH ASIA

Islamabad, India cannot remain enemies forever: Pakistan’s Security Advisor
Indian Express
Pakistan’s Security Advisor Nasser Janjua underscored the need for a non-discriminatory approach while considering Pakistan’s membership for Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). The adviser also highlighted the importance of more high-level visits, trade and cooperation particularly in education and development sectors, as well as, visa facilitation between the two countries for improved people to people contact.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting: Statement on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
G7 2017 Italy
We the G7 Members remain committed to the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) endorsed by UNSCR 2231 (2015), as well as to contribute positively to the 2017-2020 review cycle of the NPT, which remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and a foundation for disarmament and peaceful uses.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Americans deploy nuclear sniffer plane to Okinawa
Asian Review
Japan and the U.S. are strengthening their guard against North Korea by stationing an American observation aircraft in Okinawa to detect a possible nuclear weapons test by the Kim Jong Un regime.



OPINIONS

Big debates at U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations
Brookings, Alicia Sanders-Zakre and Steven Pifer
During the first week’s negotiation differences emerged over the treaty’s core prohibitions and institutional arrangements. It is not clear that any of the issues where differences have arisen will prove deal-breakers for some participating states. How they resolve those differences—and whether in the end they can come to consensus on a ban treaty—will shape their ability to mobilize pressure on the nuclear weapons states.

How US Strikes Could Bring Tehran, Moscow Closer
Al-Monitor, Saeid Jafari
As the relationship between Russia and the United States takes a turn for the worse, ties between Iran and Russia are seemingly improving, with disagreements regarding the future of Syria fading — at least in the short term.

Iran’s Next Supreme Leader
Foreign Affairs, Sanam Vakil and Hossein Rassam
The death of Khamenei will mark the biggest political change in the Islamic Republic since the death of the last supreme leader—Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolutionary founding father—in 1989. The supreme leader is the most powerful person in Iran, with absolute authority over all parts of the state. A new person in that position could dramatically alter the direction and tenor of Iran’s foreign and domestic policies.

China and North Korea’s Nukes
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy
The North Korean threat will not be dealt with through appeasement or “strategic patience” as we are out of time. And we can no longer let China off the diplomatic hook, and accept its protestations of innocence on North Korean nuclear weapons or its further insistence it has no leverage with the North. Business, as usual, cannot be the preferred path.

The Counterforce Compulsion in South Asia
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
Vipin Narang stirred up a tempest at the Carnegie Endowment’s Nukefest by warning that a serious revision of Indian nuclear doctrine may be in the offing – even to the extent of entertaining pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent. Is New Delhi likely to succumb to the most extreme manifestation of the counterforce compulsion – a damage limiting, nuclear war fighting force posture?

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

US Army Exploring ‘Devastating’ New Weapon to Use in War with Russia
Defense One
The Kinetic Energy Projectile, or KEP, a tungsten-based charge moving at three times the speed of sound that can destroy anything in its path.

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program (Podcast)
Council on Foreign Relations
George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joins CFR's James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon in examining President Donald J. Trump's options on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 11, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 11, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

N.K. vows to take ‘toughest’ military actions as U.S. sends aircraft carrier
Yonhap

Russia, before Tillerson visit, says worried USA may attack North Korea
Reuters

McMaster: Trump orders ‘full range of options’ on N. Korea
Yonhap

India, Israel Conclude $2 Billion Missile Deal
The Diplomat




EAST ASIA

S. Korea, China Warn of Strong Response to N. Korea Nuke, ICBM tests
Yonhap
South Korea and China agreed on Monday to take strong new measures in line with U.N. resolutions if North Korea conducts new nuclear and missile tests. The warning came after chief negotiators on the North's nuclear program from the two countries met in Seoul amid growing concerns that the North may carry out its sixth nuclear test and launch an intercontinental ballistic missile this month.

North Korean ships head home after China orders coal returned
Reuters
A source at Dandong Chengtai, one of China's biggest buyers of North Korean coal, said the company had 600,000 tonnes of North Korean coal sitting at various ports, and a total of 2 million tonnes was stranded at Chinese ports. Financial data shows that most of these ships have recently left Chinese coal ports, including Weihai and Peng Lai, returning to North Korea full or mostly filled with cargo.

N.K. vows to take ‘toughest’ military actions as U.S. sends aircraft carrier
Yonhap
The North's warning was made after the U.S. dispatched the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to waters off the divided peninsula amid signs of the North's provocations. North Korea's foreign ministry warned that the country is ready to take the toughest actions to defend itself with powerful weaponry against what it calls Washington's provocations.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia, before Tillerson visit, says worried USA may attack North Korea
Reuters
Russia said it hoped forthcoming talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be productive, but said it was extremely worried the United States might decide to unilaterally attack North Korea.



SOUTH ASIA

India, Israel Conclude $2 Billion Missile Deal
The Diplomat
Considered to be the largest defense contract in Israel’s Defense Industries’ history, Israel Aerospace Industries will provide advanced medium-range-surface-to-air missile defense systems to the Indian Army.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

McMaster: Trump orders ‘full range of options’ on N. Korea
Yonhap
U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said Sunday that President Donald Trump has ordered him to prepare "a full range of options" to the nuclear and missile threats North Korea poses to the U.S. and its allies.

US, China agree on North Korea nuclear threat, Tillerson say
CNN
China understands how dangerous North Korea's nuclear program has become and agrees action must be taken to stop it, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday. "President Xi clearly understands, and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken," Tillerson said.

Accelerated North Korean Ballistic Missile Program Worries Congress’ Military
USNI News, John Grady
Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said he and a number of Republican and Democratic senators will soon introduce a bill to step up missile defense spending. “You’ll see a lot of bipartisan support for missile defense” with the threat growing from North Korea and evolving threat from China and Russia with their advanced cruise missiles and hypervelocity weapons.

 

OPINIONS

Poland Air Defense: The Search For the Right Missile Mix [Commentary]
Defense News
Poland’s medium-range air defense (MRAD) “Wisła” system must be able to shoot down any target, but not at any cost. That was noted by the Polish Ministry of National Defense in a letter of request submitted for the Patriot system to the U.S. government, expressing the need for an economic missile mix.

Move of U.S Warships Shows Trump Has Few Options on North Korea
New York Times, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun
China’s president, Xi Jinping, did not make any public commitment to tighten the pressure on North Korea during his meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., last week with President Trump. Mr. Trump warned before the meeting with Mr. Xi that the United States would act alone against North Korea if China did not join his pressure campaign.

What if America Assassinated King Jong-un?
The National Interest,Daniel R. DePetris
We tend to believe that if we just took out the top, bad guy in the regime, all of the other bad guys in that regime will be scared straight, change their behavior and suddenly turn their governments into bastions of human rights and democracy. Killing Kim and banking on the idea that the regime would change how it does business after seven decades would be a high price to pay if that untested theory proved to be wrong. 

A Menu of Imperfect Strategic Options for South Korea
Real Clear Defense, Scott A. Snyder & Sungtae Park
South Korea has thus far been hedging. Implementing this strategy has meant that South Korea has sought to avoid joining certain US-led initiatives that would seriously antagonize Beijing,  such as a regional missile defense architecture (although this might change in the future). On such issues, South Korea has generally sought to avoid choosing.

U.S. Carrier’s Korea Mission: A Message to the World
Real Clear Defense, Demetri Sevastopulo & Tom Mitchell
Hours after the US fired a barrage of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, the White House was quick to say that the strike sent a strong signal not just to the war-torn Arab state, but to the rest of the world.

How Likely is Another Korean War?
The Korea Herald, Yeo Jun-suk
Despite the escalating tension, Seoul’s foreign and military officials and private experts dismissed the possibility of a military clash on the peninsula, noting that an attack on North Korea carries much greater risk than the missile strike against Syria.

Defensive Deterrence is Critical to America’s Safety and Security
Real Clear Defense, Steven Bucci
This new Congress and Administration has the opportunity to take leadership and responsibility in protecting our country. We must ensure our nation is fully prepared to remove North Korea’s ability to target America.  If doing that offensively is too risky, it must be done defensively.  We must dedicate the resources necessary to improve the overall defenses of the Nation as soon as possible.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Spying on North Korea: US Air Force Keeps Eye on Kim Jong Un (Video)
Fox News
The U.S. Air Force is busy in the skies over the Korean Peninsula, a range of aircraft including F-16’s running around the clock missions and exercises. “It keeps us on a heightened sense,” says US Air Force Col. James Brotree, “ There’s always something going on so we always have to make sure we do the right things.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 10, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 10, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Korea crisis deepens as the US dispatches the Carl Vinson striker group to the region
Navy Times

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk
Reuters

White House: U.S., China will seek to ‘peacefully resolve’ North Korean nuclear threat
Politico

Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won’t meet Tillerson
Reuters



EAST ASIA

Korea crisis deepens as the US dispatches the Carl Vinson striker group to the region
Navy Times
The head of all U.S. forces in the Pacific canceled a planned carrier exercises and port visits in Australia and redirected the Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the waters off the Korean Peninsula as the U.S. weighs a series of limited options for dealing with an increasingly unbalanced and dangerous North Korean regime.

North Korea says Syria airstrikes prove its nukes justified
Military Times
North Korea has vowed to bolster its defenses to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria. The North called the airstrikes "absolutely unpardonable" and said they prove its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war."

Ahn affirms commitment to Korea-US agreement on missile shield deployment
Yonhap
Ahn Cheol-soo, presidential nominee for the center-left People's Party, reaffirmed on Sunday he will respect the agreement to deploy a U.S. missile defense system to South Korea.

China envoy holds North Korea nuclear talks as US mulls options
Asia Times
China’s top nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday for talks on the North Korean threat, as the US sent a naval strike group to the region and signaled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program. Additionally, President Donald Trump has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in its ambitions.

Trump must consult with Seoul over any actions on North Korea
Korea Times
South Korean politicians have expressed that the U.S. must have prior consultation with Seoul before taking any confrontational actions concerning North Korea, including launching a preemptive strike.

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk
Reuters
China and South Korea agreed on Monday to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or long-range missile tests.

Australia selects Raytheon for $1.5 billion ground-based air defense system
Reuters
The surface-to-air missile system will replace the country's 30-year-old short-range capability, which is due to be retired by early next decade.

 

MIDDLE EAST

IranAir may receive first Boeing jet sooner than planned
Reuters
Iran's Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan stated that the first Boeing 777 aircraft would reach Tehran within a month. The government of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani is keen to showcase results from the sanctions deal ahead of a May election



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won’t meet Tillerson
Reuters
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday that no such meeting was planned, suggesting Tillerson will follow strict diplomatic protocol and only meet his direct counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

White House: U.S., China will seek to ‘peacefully resolve’ North Korean nuclear threat
Politico
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to work with the international community to achieve a peaceful solution to the North Korea nuclear threat during their diplomatic meetings at Mar-a-Lago.

Tillerson says missile strikes carry message for others
Military Times
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack carries a message for any nation operating outside of international norms. He didn't specify North Korea, but the context was clear enough.

US Imposes New Sanctions on Eritrea’s Navy Over North Korea Links
Voice of America
A U.N. report accused the East African country of violating an arms embargo by buying military communications equipment from North Korea. In response, the United States moved to ban all equipment sales or interactions with Eritrea’s navy, under nonproliferation legislation that targets Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Trump administration warns North Korea against provocation
Los Angeles Times
With growing signs that Pyongyang may be preparing a sixth nuclear test, a U.S. aircraft carrier strike force near Singapore was diverted north toward the Korean peninsula, President Trump spoke to leaders in Tokyo and Seoul, and senior administration officials made pointed note of the “full range of options” available to counter threats to the United States or its allies.



OPINIONS

Deter and Downsize: A Paradigm Shift for Nuclear Arms Control
Arms Control Association, Justin Anderson and Darci McDonald
Nuclear arms control needs a new paradigm. The current approach, focused on deployed strategic nuclear “delivery vehicles”—long-range bombers, nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). If nuclear arms control is to play a key role in preventing friction between nuclear powers and reducing nuclear risks in the 21st century, there needs to be a shift in focus and an expansion in participants

Kerr on the JCPOA
Arms Control Wonk, Paul Kerr
Any individual’s confidence in the JCPOA is, to a certain extent, a function of their tolerance for risk.  After all, Iran could, in the future, reconstitute its weapons program and draw on its missile program and JCPOA-permitted enrichment work. But the available evidence indicates that Iran is probably not lying in wait to produce nuclear weapons upon expiration of the relevant JCPOA provisions.

The North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Getting Worse By the Day
Foreign Policy, William Tobey
For decades we have lived with a relatively small North Korean nuclear threat. The US and its allies tried policies ranging from bribes to coercion, but under China’s aegis, the North has flouted international law with impunity. As Pyongyang’s fissile material stocks grow, the urgency and nature of the threat is changing. Patience, strategic or otherwise, is no longer a viable option for Presidents Trump and Xi.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Syria’s Chemical Weapons Kill Chain
Foreign Policy, Gregory Koblentz
While the U.S. cruise missile strike targeted one link in the Syrian chemical weapons kill chain, it did not break the chain. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster recognized as much when he told reporters in the aftermath of the strike: “Obviously, the regime will retain a certain capacity to commit mass murder with chemical weapons beyond this airfield.”

What is a Tomahawk missile?
Military Times
The Tomahawk cruise missiles are designed to fly at low altitudes and speeds up to 550 miles per hour, giving them a strong defense against many anti-aircraft measures. The 3,500-pound explosives also contain guidance systems that can be tailored to provide further evasive capabilities.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 7, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 7, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Groundhog Day: Activity Continues at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North

Russia launches most powerful attack submarine yet
The Independent

UN strongly condemns North Korea’s latest missile launch
The Washington Post

EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S., Japan vow stronger defense ties against NK missiles
Yonhap
Working-level defense officials of the three countries held a video conference today discussing North Korea’s recent missile launch. They "strongly denounced" the provocation clearly violating U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the communist nation from firing any ballistic missiles.

Groundhog Day: Activity Continues at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North
Over the past four weeks, there have been unusually high levels of activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, especially around the North Portal. This pattern of activity could mean a sixth nuclear test is imminent, but the imagery does not provide any definitive evidence of the installation of a nuclear device or the exact timing of such a test.

Pence to make trip to Asia-Pacific amid Korean tensions
Military Times
The White House said Thursday that Pence would depart April 15 on a 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region that will also include stops in Indonesia and Australia and a visit with U.S. troops in Hawaii.

S. Korea urges N.K. to abandon its obsession with nukes, missiles
Yonhap
North Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday released a memorandum that says the United States should be totally accountable for a possible outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, no matter who launches a pre-emptive attack. Seoul's unification ministry urged North Korea to walk on the path toward denuclearization.

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Russia to reinforce Syrian air defenses as Moscow wars of ‘considerable damage’ to ties with US
 The Telegraph
Russia will reinforce Syrian air defenses and is sending a missile carrying warship to the eastern Mediterranean in response to a US cruise missile strikes on a Syrian government airbase. Russia already has a range of anti-aircraft defenses in Syria, including S-400 and S-300 surface to air missile systems.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia launches most powerful attack submarine yet
The Independent
The new Yasen-class nuclear powered attack submarine, called the Kazan, is armed with torpedoes and long-range Kalibr cruise missiles. The ship was launched at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, northern Russia. The vessel has space for eight Oniks and Kalibr cruise missiles and 300 torpedoes, and can reach speeds of up to 31 knots.

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
UN strongly condemns North Korea’s latest missile launch
The Washington Post
The Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, stressing again that they violate U.N. sanctions and “are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Dozens of U.S. Missiles Hit Air Base in Syria
The New York Times
The United States fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians.

Pentagon Plans Next Major Missile Intercept Test for Late May
Bloomberg
The Pentagon has tentatively scheduled for late May the next intercept test of its $36 billion ground-based missile defense system -- the first in nearly three years.

Trump Hails ‘Friendship’ With China’s Xi on First Day of Summit
Bloomberg
The meeting is the first real test of the U.S. leader’s campaign promises to win in negotiations with America’s chief economic and military rival. Trump wants to show progress countering North Korea’s nuclear threat and opening Chinese markets to more U.S. goods in an effort to create jobs.

 

OPINIONS

Sen. Tom Cotton: Russia has subverted our treaty on cruise missiles for years. It’s time to act
The Washington Post
Russia’s new cruise missile is an incredibly dangerous threat to the United States and our allies. Unless we act now, Russia will only continue its campaign of aggression. Congress should heed Selva’s warning and make Russia pay for its actions. Only by increasing the costs of defying our country will we bring the geopolitical scales back to balance.

Putting the nonproliferation back in the NPT
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski
The NPT community has taken to describing the treaty as resting on three pillars, only one of which is nonproliferation. In recent years, nonproliferation has even dropped to second spot. The Trump administration is reported to be reviewing the government’s nonproliferation policy. The unhelpful aspects of the three-pillar formulations should be part of that review.

What does “nuclear terrorism” really mean?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elisabeth Eaves
The news stories don’t always say, and sometimes they fail to distinguish among events that would look completely different from one another, if they ever came to pass. In fact, “nuclear terrorism” can refer to several possible occurrences, all of which are best avoided. But if you’re the glass-half-full type, you may take some solace in knowing that the most dire scenario is also the least probable.



SPECIAL INTEREST

North Korea has Nuclear Weapons So It Won’t End Up Like Libya
The National Interest,Edward Chang
Perhaps the most useful lesson to learn from Reagan’s war with Qaddafi is that it was ultimately inconclusive. The Libyan problem spanned the entirety of Reagan’s two terms; by the administration’s end, Qaddafi was still in power. Trump may very well be dealing with Kim through the totality of his presidency. Sobering as it may be, it is a reality worth contemplating now rather than later, for as the old song goes, “we’ve only just begun.”

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 6, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Seoul emphasizes U.S. determination to solve N.K. nuke issue ahead of Trump-Xi summit
Yonhap

EU Expands sanctions against North Korea as Trump meets Xi
Reuters

Pakistan calls for nuclear restraint in South Asia
The Express Tribune





EAST ASIA

Seoul emphasizes U.S. determination to solve N.K. nuke issue ahead of Trump-Xi summit
Yonhap
The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program will feature prominently in the forthcoming talks between the U.S. and Chinese presidents, South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday, emphasizing the American side's determination to settle the drawn-out problem.

Report: China carried out naval drill near North Korea
UPI
The drills took place near North Korea, a possible sign Beijing is getting its navy ready for any potential instability on the peninsula.

North Korea may have tested new technology in latest missile
Military Times
Initial U.S. and South Korean assessments had indicated it was an advanced KN-15 medium-range missile, whose first known test by North Korea was in February. But unlike the KN-15, which uses solid fuel, the missile fired Wednesday used liquid fuel and was fired from a fixed location, rather than a mobile launcher.

S. Korea succeeds in test of 800-km range new missile
Yonhap
South Korea has successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer range ballistic missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea, South Korean defense sources said Thursday. It could send another strong warning message to North Korea, which is continuing its nuclear and missile development in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, they said.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

EU Expands sanctions against North Korea as Trump meets Xi
Reuters
The new sanctions are aimed at the country's metalworking, aerospace and arms-related industries, and services in computing, mining, chemicals and refining, the bloc said in a statement.



SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan calls for nuclear restraint in South Asia
The Express Tribune
Pakistan has told the United Nations that peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes, agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and instituting conventional forces balance.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Top U.S. general: ‘no defense’ against Russian cruise missiles
Defense News
During a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, raised concerns over ground-launched cruise missiles positioned by Moscow. “That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. ... It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a nation."

 



OPINIONS

Why it’s time for the next steps in missile defense evolution
Defense News, Thomas Karako and Ian Williams
Homeland missile defense represents a critical capability for U.S. national security strategy and the defense of the American people, yet its budget has continued to fall over the past decade, and currently accounts for less than one half of one percent of DoD spending. To outpace growing missile threats, GMD will require greater reliability, capacity, and capability improvements beyond those of today.

Common Defense Through Missile Defense
Real Clear Defense, Rebeccah Heinrichs
Providing for the common defense is one of the few explicitly Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities of the federal government and a more robust, layered missile defense system. A multilayered missile defense system would also serve as a deterrent to current and potential adversaries, and should deterrence fail; the U.S. would be protected.

Clipping Iran’s Wings
Real Clear Defense, James Durso
The Senate and House bills, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 and Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act, enjoy bipartisan support and would impose provisions on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran-wary groups who support the bills do not feel the bills violate the letter or the spirit of the “nuclear deal”.

Is North Korea putting a nuclear-tipped bargaining chip on the table?
Reuters, Jack Kim
Experts now agree North Korea is closing in on the ability to hit the United States with a missile, a goal that for decades has been the subject of Pyongyang's vivid propaganda posters.

Trump presses China on North Korea; another bluff could hurt him
Military Times, Matthew Pennington
Trump's candor and unpredictability, combined with his veiled threats of possible sanctions on Chinese banks and even U.S. military action against North Korea, could provide him new leverage with Beijing. But if he's bluffing, and Xi calls him on it, that might prove damaging in future negotiations with China or in building a united front against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Giving Trump North Korea Policy a Chance
The Cipher Brief, Dennis Wilder
It is fashionable in Washington to deride every move President Trump makes that is a departure from past U.S. foreign policy. Secretary Tillerson's terse public statement on North Korea’s KN-14 missile test was the latest example of departing from past diplomatic norms, and should be read by China and others as an indication that the U.S. is nearing the end of its patience with North Korean antics. 

Five Priorities For Donald Trump When Meets Xi Jinping
South China Morning Post, Orville Schell and Susan Shirk
Maritime tensions, trade disagreements, clashes over cyber hacking, and disputes over the treatment of foreign media outlets and civil society organizations in China were already fraying the fabric of cooperation and undermining the health of the US-China relationship.

The Debate Over Indian Nuclear Strategy is Heating Up
War on the Rocks, Sameer Lalwani and Hannah Haegeland
Many of the responses to Vipin Narang’s statement that India might be rethinking its current nuclear strategy have been dismissive. Leaving many questioning whether a shift is actually occurring;  if India possesses the requisite capabilities to enact a counterforce doctrine; or if a shift would be inherently destabilizing. One should not dismiss the significance of this potential shift in Indian nuclear strategy too quickly. The risks that growing capabilities and shifting strategic logics bring to the subcontinent are too dangerous not to warrant further consideration.

Central Asia: A Nuclear-Terrorism Nexus?
RUSI
Central Asia’s vulnerability to harboring a potential nuclear–drug–terrorism nexus poses a potential threat to international security and requires a renewed multilateral commitment and approach to combating nuclear smuggling and proliferation.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The Dirty Bomb Threat
Foreign Affairs
Of course, despite recurring terrorist attacks in the Arab world and Northern Africa, Europe, and the United States, the odds are still low that terrorists will acquire radioactive materials. But the stakes—large-scale mass death and radiation poisoning—are so high that preventing dirty bomb proliferation should be a first priority.

Factbox: North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests
Reuters
Here is a timeline of North's Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

It’s Time for Action on Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Not Pointing Fingers
Foreign Policy, Rebecca Hersman
Presidents inherit problems and unfinished business. President Barack Obama inherited two Middle East wars and an economic crisis of proportions not seen in decades. President Trump has inherited a North Korean regime undaunted by international pressure and hell-bent on acquiring missile and nuclear capabilities to threaten the United States. He has also inherited a catastrophic war in Syria in which atrocity and criminality seemingly have no limits. We can debate what should have been done in the past, but it’s far more important to act now. The United States must push for action in the Security Council and hold Russia to account for shielding Assad’s atrocities. 

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

PACOM chief Harris arrives in South Korea as North likens joint war game to ‘pouring gasoline on fire’
Japan Times

Iran: Top priority to protect nuclear deal from US
Al Jazeera

Talk of ‘Preventative War’ rises in White House over North Korea
New York Times

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