Nuclear Policy News – April 11, 2019

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The Threat of Nuclear War Is Still with Us
Wall Street Journal – George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sam Nunn

US researchers alarmed as government cuts ties with elite science advisory group

US reiterates maximum pressure as Moon heads to summit
The Korea Herald

U.S. Nuclear Policy

US researchers alarmed as government cuts ties with elite science advisory group
The US Department of Defense has ended a longstanding relationship with JASON, an independent group that has provided the federal government with unvarnished technical advice on nuclear weapons and other issues since the height of the Cold War.

Senators seek oversight power after Trump administration reveals nuclear energy transfers to Saudi Arabia
A group of bipartisan senators on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require the executive branch to regularly disclose when it allows companies to engage in nuclear energy cooperation with foreign countries. The move comes amid an uproar on Capitol Hill following reports that the Department of Energy gave permission to several companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia. The Energy Department later confirmed that it has granted seven of the so-called Part 810 authorizations to U.S. firms competing to build nuclear reactors in the kingdom.

The Democratic Divide on Trump’s Nuclear Weapons Plan
The National Interest4/10/2019
Trump’s proposed defense budget, published earlier this month, asks for an 8.3 percent increase in spending on nuclear weapons and related systems. The question of nuclear spending is something of a weathervane for where the Democratic Party is headed on foreign policy and national security. Are Democrats committed to reining in President Trump’s executive powers, trimming the defense budget, and arguing for a new and more slender military policy?

East Asia

US reiterates maximum pressure as Moon heads to summit
The Korea Herald4/10/2019
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that the Trump administration would maintain maximum pressure on North Korea until its goals are achieved. “The outcome is a fully verifiably denuclearized peninsula and greater peace, less risk in conventional means and hopefully a brighter future for the North Korean people as well,” Pompeo said in response to a question regarding the administration’s goals on North Korea issues at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

South Korea’s Plan to Revive the North Korea Nuclear Talks
The Atlantic Council4/11/2019
Once Air Force One was wheels-up from Hanoi, Vietnam, last February, the American president phoned his South Korean counterpart and asked for help. Donald Trump had just walked out on nuclear negotiations with North Korea’s leader, but he hadn’t given up on diplomacy just yet. It’s not immediately clear whether the Moon-Kim call took place. Regardless, the South Korean president is now in Washington, on a mission to first persuade Trump, not Kim, to consider a compromise between the big and small deals.

Kim Jong Un is skirting sanctions and pursuing this energy strategy to keep North Korea afloat
With President Donald Trump pushing hard to denuclearize North Korea, Kim Jong Un must contend with a major domestic crisis sparked by UN sanctions: how to fuel his ailing economy and military now that nuclear energy is off limits and the amount of oil and energy products he can trade has been restricted.

North Korea, China Opens Fourth Border Crossing Fitted With Radiation Detectors
Business Times – China4/11/2019
China and North Korea added a new border crossing over the Yalu River. Reports said that the new border crossing is fitted with radiation detectors in time with talks between the United States and North Korea over disagreement for nuclear sanctions relief.

Opinion and Analysis

The Threat of Nuclear War Is Still with Us
Wall Street Journal – George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sam Nunn4/10/2019
The U.S., its allies and Russia are caught in a dangerous policy paralysis that could lead—most likely by mistake or miscalculation—to a military confrontation and potentially the use of nuclear weapons for the first time in nearly 74 years. A bold policy shift is needed to support a strategic re-engagement with Russia and walk back from this perilous precipice.

The Atlantic Alliance Turns 70: What Future for Europe?
Valdai Discussion Club – Alan Cafruny4/11/2019
Seeking to counteract Europe’s external weakness and internal disarray Emmanuel Macron has called for “strategic autonomy” in the form of a “true European army” “to protect us against Russia, China, and even the USA.” Responding to US extraterritorial sanctions designed to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal—Europe’s signature diplomatic initiative–Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed to establish the euro as an international reserve currency. Angela Merkel has called on Europe to “fight for multilateralism.”

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