Nuclear Policy News – January 2, 2019

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Top News

Russia warns of global conflict over nuclear pact collapse

US to Boost Weapons Research in Response to Russia
Voice of America

A most nuclear year: what did we learn about nuclear weapons, deterrence, and arms control in 2018?
War on the Rocks

East Asia

Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program
New York Times1/1/2019
Nearly two years into his presidency and more than six months after his historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.

How to Read North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un’s Big New Year Speech
2018 was a year of surprises by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, from his decision to prioritize economic growth over weapons development to his handshake with U.S. President Donald Trump. But close observers would have seen clues to Kim’s policy shifts in his annual New Year’s Day address to the North Korean people. The events underscore the importance — and difficulty — in interpreting the speech, which often contains a few consequential changes buried in several thousands of words of propaganda-laden prose.

North Korea’s Kim sent message to Trump on nuclear talks – Chosun Ilbo
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a “conciliatory message” to U.S. President Donald Trump amid stalled nuclear negotiations, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Monday.

Kim Wants More Summits With Moon to Tackle Nuclear Issue
Kim Jong Un is intent on resolving the nuclear impasse that has stalled negotiations with the U.S. and wants to hold more meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon’s office said.

Middle East

The Day After the Iranian Nuclear Deal
Foreign Policy12/24/2018
US. President Donald Trump has been criticized for making exaggerated campaign promises during his first run for the White House. Nobody can claim, however, that he hasn’t kept his word on Iran—or, at least, that he hasn’t tried to.


Russia warns of global conflict over nuclear pact collapse
Russia said on Saturday that the scrapping of a Cold War era nuclear pact may lead to an arms race and direct confrontation between several global regions, after a proposal by Moscow was rejected in a United Nations vote.

Russia is poised to add a new hypersonic nuclear-capable glider to its arsenal
Washington Post12/26/2018
Russia on Wednesday conducted a final test of a nuclear-capable glider that flies at 20 times the speed of sound, President Vladimir Putin said, adding that the weapon will be included in the country’s arsenal next year.

Russia’s ‘invulnerable’ nuclear missile ready to deploy, Putin says
Russia’s new hypersonic missile system, which President Vladimir Putin claims is “invulnerable” to US defenses, will enter service in 2019, the Russian leader said after a test of the missile Wednesday.

South Asia

US turned blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear plot: Declassified documents
Economic Times12/24/2018
Declassified US State Department documents on Afghanistan from late 1970s and 1980s reveal that Washington, in agreement with Beijing, turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear programme in lieu of Islamabad’s support to push out Soviet Union from Kabul.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

US to Boost Weapons Research in Response to Russia
Voice of America12/27/2018
The United States will step up research in hypersonic offense and defense weapons, in response to a Russian test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic glider.

Warren, a critic of Pentagon bloat and nukes, heads to 2020 presidential run
Defense News1/1/2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, an advocate of reining in America’s military budget and commitments around the globe, on Monday took the first major step toward launching a widely anticipated campaign for the presidency.

Opinion and Analysis

A most nuclear year: what did we learn about nuclear weapons, deterrence, and arms control in 2018?
War on the RocksUsha Sahay
After President Donald Trump’s infamous threat to North Korea last summer, I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that the only “fire and fury” we got in 2018 was a tell-all book. Indeed, while 2017 gave journalists, analysts, and policymakers ample reason to worry about a volatile president with singular authority to launch a nuclear attack, in 2018 those fears abated (somewhat). Headlines this year were perhaps less nerve-wracking, but 2018 still offered many opportunities to reexamine long-held assumptions about nuclear use and nuclear stability.

Diplomacy without denuclearization: North Korea in 2018
War on the RocksAnkit Panda and Vipin Narang
As 2018 comes to a close, tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain significantly lower than at the end of 2017, when the prospect of a U.S. limited strike on North Korea — or worse — was a fixture of the debate. After having attained what he saw as the necessary capabilities to deter the United States with nuclear weapons in 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un turned the tables this year.

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