TOP NEWS How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea New York Times China’s Hypersonic Weapon Ambitions March Ahead The Diplomat Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes? Politico Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal CNN EAST ASIA How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea New York Times 1/6/201 Senior intelligence officials said they began investing more heavily in acquiring information on North Korea’s weapons program in 2012, reaping benefits over the past two years. But they acknowledged they made two key assumptions that proved wrong. North Korea may suddenly want talks because of how powerful it has become CNBC 1/8/201 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ignored recent peace overtures from Seoul but he’s due on Tuesday to hold a formal dialogue with his southern neighbor for the first time in more than two years. The sudden interest in talks may have something to do with Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. China’s Hypersonic Weapon Ambitions March Ahead The Diplomat 1/8/201 China is leading in pack in hypersonic weaponry, with potentially destabilizing consequences for the military balance in the Pacific. A new Korean war would kill more U.S. military personnel than you might think The Washington Post 1/8/2018 [War with North Korea] would put the tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea in harm’s way, with much higher human costs — and many more fatalities — than the United States has seen in its recent military conflicts. MIDDLE EAST Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes? Politico 1/8/2018 As a new year’s wave of street protests rocks Iran, the demonstrations put President Trump in an awkward bind—right as he faces a new deadline to decide whether to continue on with the Iran nuclear deal he loathes. RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE Gorbachev urges Putin and Trump to uphold nuclear arms pact that set the stage for end of Cold War Japan Times 1/7/2018 Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has urged the Russian and U.S. leaders to resolve a dispute over a nuclear arms control treaty he signed with Washington 30 years ago, warning that a breakdown of the landmark pact could lead the entire international disarmament framework to “collapse.” MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL Pope Francis Calls For Ban On Nuclear Weapons Huffington Post 1/8/2018 Pope Francis called on Monday for all nations to support dialog to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and to work for a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal CNN 1/7/2018 The Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on the first comprehensive review of US nuclear forces in nearly eight years. It’s shaping up as President Donald Trump’s signature nuclear weapons initiative in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear threat. At Camp David, Trump Outlines Vision On North Korea, Welfare, Immigration For 2018 NPR 1/6/2018 In a wide-ranging press conference, Trump touched on his hopes for passing bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and national welfare programs, repeated claims his campaign did not collude with the Russians who attacked the 2016 presidential election and signaled a willingness to start a dialogue with North Korea, just a week after its leader announced there’s a button to launch a nuclear attack sitting on his desk. Tillerson says Korea talks show U.S. strategy is working NBC News 1/6/2018 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that rare talks planned for next week between North and South Korea are a sign that the U.S.-led campaign to isolate the North is working. OPINION AND ANALYSIS How the U.S. and North Korea could stumble into World War III Politico Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas 1/6/2018 U.S. military planners are increasingly concerned that tensions on the Korean peninsula could unintentionally trigger a wider war as Trump and Kim Jong Un hurl unusually personal attacks online. Russia and the United States are wrecking a landmark treaty The Washington Post Editorial Board 1/6/2018 The United States and Russia seem to be returning to an arms race they halted a generation ago. Both sides claim they do not want this even as they let it happen. Trump Is Bluffing On North Korea The Daily Beast Jeffrey Lewis 1/6/2018 I do not believe that the President’s belligerent tweets reflect a malign intent to attack North Korea. On the contrary, I believe they reflect a stupid man who has no idea what to do, watches cable news, and tweets stupid things. Reactors for Saudi Arabia are bad business and dangerous diplomacy The Hill Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski 1/7/2018 The last thing the Middle East needs is more nuclear technology. But a coterie of Washington “experts,” recently assembled on behalf of Saudi Arabia, argues otherwise and seem to have the ear of the Trump administration. Navigating the challenges of alliance management in Korea The Hill Daniel Sneider 1/7/2018 We are at a dangerous moment in the Korean peninsula. The immediate threat does not come from North Korea, though that peril remains. Rather, it comes from our allies in South Korea, who are determined to pursue engagement with the North. President Trump’s Threats Against North Korea Put the World in Danger Time Ted Lieu and Bill Wieninger 1/4/2018 We’re only a few days into the new year, and two contradictory developments have occurred with regard to North Korea: Kim Jong Un indicated a willingness to meet with South Korea for the first time in nearly three years, and President Trump threatened the use of force once again.