Nuclear Policy News – November 1, 2017

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Korea won’t seek nuclear weapons, president says, rejecting opposition calls
Stars and Stripes

Trump Plans for Nuclear Arsenal Require $1.2 Trillion, Congressional Review States
New York Times

Approaches for Managing the Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2017 to 2046
Congressional Budget Office



Korea won’t seek nuclear weapons, president says, rejecting opposition calls
Stars and Stripes11/1/17

President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that South Korea won’t seek nuclear weapons despite opposition calls to do so in the face of a growing threat from the North. But he promised a “stern response” to any provocation from the communist state.

Defector: Information, not force, can bring change in NKorea
Associated Press11/1/17
As tensions soar over North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and President Donald Trump prepares for his first trip to Asia, Thae Yong Ho offered rare insight into the reclusive North Korean system and the insecurities he says drove leader Kim Jong Un to ruthlessly purge ranks and accelerate nuclear weapons development.

South Korea’s Moon says cannot recognize North Korea as nuclear state
South Korea will never tolerate North Korea as a nuclear state, nor will Seoul have nuclear weapons, President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday, as China pledged to work on denuclearization after setting aside a dispute with Seoul over an anti-missile system.

Global response required over N. Korean missiles able to reach N. America, Europe: NATO chief
Yonhap News Agency11/1/17
A global response is required to deal with North Korea’s development of long-range missiles that are able to reach North America and Europe, the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said Wednesday.

Report: North Korea runs hospital to treat nuclear radiation patients
North Korea operates a hospital that treats soldiers exposed to radiation at its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, according to a Japanese press report.


Iran says supreme leader limiting ballistic missile range
ABC News10/31/17
Iran’s supreme leader has restricted the range of ballistic missiles manufactured in the country to 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), the head of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said Tuesday, which limits their reach to only regional Mideast targets.

Putin arrives in Iran for talks with Tehran, Azerbaijan
Associated Press11/1/17
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran on Wednesday for trilateral talks with Tehran and Azerbaijan, a meeting that comes as the Islamic Republic’s nuclear deal is threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to re-certify the accord.


Trump’s demands to amend Iran nuclear deal unrealistic – Foreign Ministry
Russia considers demands to change the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program put forward by US President Donald Trump unrealistic, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the RT TV channel on Wednesday.


Approaches for Managing the Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2017 to 2046
Congressional Budget Office10/31/17
To continue to field a nuclear force roughly the same size as it is today, the United States plans to modernize virtually every element of that force over the coming decades. CBO estimates that the most recent detailed plans for nuclear forces, which were incorporated in the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget request, would cost $1.2 trillion in 2017 dollars over the 2017–2046 period: more than $800 billion to operate and sustain (that is, incrementally upgrade) nuclear forces and about $400 billion to modernize them.

Trump Plans for Nuclear Arsenal Require $1.2 Trillion, Congressional Review States
New York Times10/31/17
The report from the Congressional Budget Office was the most authoritative accounting yet of the full cost of rebuilding an aging, potentially vulnerable nuclear arsenal that often relies on Cold War-era technology. It was published just weeks before the Pentagon is supposed to issue its first broad nuclear strategy of the Trump administration, an assessment called the Nuclear Posture Review.

Dems tout bill aimed at preventing pre-emptive strike on North Korea
The Hill10/31/17
A trio of Democratic senators on Tuesday urged their colleagues to take President Trump’s threats against North Korea seriously as they pushed a bill that attempts to rein in his ability to strike the country without congressional authorization.

Exclusive: U.S. pursues direct diplomacy with North Korea despite Trump rejection
Using the so-called “New York channel,” Joseph Yun, U.S. negotiator with North Korea, has been in contact with diplomats at Pyongyang’s United Nations mission, the official said, at a time when an exchange of bellicose insults between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has fueled fears of military conflict.


A history of US nuclear weapons in South Korea
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsHans Kristensen and Robert Norris
While defense hawks in Seoul and Washington have, in 2017, called for the United States to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, the authors argue against this idea. Doing so, they say, would provide no resolution of the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and would likely increase nuclear risks. Redeployment would also have serious implications for broader regional issues because it would likely be seen by China and Russia as further undermining their security.

All’s Well THAAD Ends Well? What the China-South Korea Détente Means
The DiplomatAnkit Panda
Still, with the North Korean threat at a new level this year, an improvement in the South Korea-China relationship could prove beneficial in the region. However, expectations should be tempered. Historically, Seoul — like Washington — has not been successfully in getting China to fundamentally reassess its interests on the peninsula regarding North Korea. It’s unlikely to succeed this time around, but even without any breakthroughs on North Korea, the economic benefits to South Korea alone may end up worthwhile.

Letter From William J. Perry and James E. Cartwright to President Trump
Ploughshares FundWilliam J. Perry and James E. Cartwright
The rising cost of rebuilding the nuclear arsenal is a warning that these plans are unaffordable. We should consider all aspects of our nuclear posture, and our conventional forces’ needs, before rushing headlong into these expensive and contentious development programs. We believe too that taking a more prudent course in rebuilding our deterrent systems will help avoid a new arms race with Russia that neither side should want.

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