Nuclear Policy News – April 23, 2018

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‘We No Longer Need’ Nuclear or Missile Tests, North Korean Leader Says
New York Times

What Does Kim Jong-un Want? U.S. Fears Answer Is ‘Give a Little, Gain a Lot’
New York Times

Iran’s foreign minister warns that nation will restart ‘nuclear activities’ if U.S. withdraws from accord
Washington Post

China, Feeling Left Out, Has Plenty to Worry About in North Korea-U.S. Talks
New York Times


‘We No Longer Need’ Nuclear or Missile Tests, North Korean Leader Says
New York Times4/20/18
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, announced early Saturday that his country no longer needed to test nuclear weapons or long-range missiles and would close a nuclear test site.

North Korea’s pledge to halt nukes holds new promise — and peril
Pyongyang says it will halt its nuke tests but will it give up its bombs? Even leading champions of diplomacy aren’t so sure.

What Does Kim Jong-un Want? U.S. Fears Answer Is ‘Give a Little, Gain a Lot’
New York Times4/21/18
Mr. Kim’s audacious moves are unsettling officials in the United States, Japan and China. Some suspect he is posturing in advance of the summit meeting, as well as a separate meeting this coming week with South Korea’s president, and has no real intention of acceding to demands that he relinquish his nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong Un tests Trump with latest nuke offer
AP News4/21/18
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has finally broken his silence on what he plans to bring to the table during his summits with the South Korean and U.S. presidents, and it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with tossing out his hard-won nuclear arsenal.

Corker: Charming North Korea into getting rid of nuclear weapons is not realistic
The Hill4/22/18
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Sunday that the Trump administration’s move to “charm” North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons is not realistic.

G-7 foreign ministers resolutely opposed to nuclear-armed North Korea: Kono
Japan Times4/23/18
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Sunday affirmed they will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and pledged to maintain “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang until it rids itself of nuclear weapons, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

Suspicious factory underscores challenge of verifying North Korea’s nuclear promises
Washington Post4/21/18
During the same week that CIA Director Mike Pompeo flew to Pyongyang for secret talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear program, U.S. weapons experts were studying a construction site near the Chinese border for clues that North Korean officials might be moving in the opposite direction.

Kim Jong Un: North Korea no longer needs nuclear tests
North Korea says its quest for nuclear weapons is “complete” and it “no longer needs” to test its weapons capability, a significant development ahead of diplomatic engagement with South Korea and the United States.

With test freeze, North Korea settles for imperfect nuclear threat
In declaring a unilateral freeze in missile testing, North Korea appears ready to settle for now with an imperfect nuclear arms capability, one good enough to stoke fear in the United States but which can’t promise to strike U.S. targets reliably, experts say.

China, Feeling Left Out, Has Plenty to Worry About in North Korea-U.S. Talks
New York Times4/22/18
As the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, prepares for his meetings with the presidents of South Korea and the United States, China has found itself in an unaccustomed place: watching from the sidelines.

U.S. wants North Korea to dismantle nuclear arms for sanctions relief: report
U.S. President Donald Trump will not be willing to offer North Korea substantial sanctions relief before Pyongyang has substantially dismantled its nuclear programs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing administration officials.

U.S., Russia and China respond as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un freezes nuclear tests
President Donald Trump was joined by other world leaders and nations Saturday in praising North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s decision to halt nuclear and missile tests ahead of major summits aimed at achieving elusive peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Will Kim Jong-un Trade His Nuclear Arsenal to Rebuild Economy?
New York Times4/21/18
For as long as Kim Jong-un has been North Korea’s leader, he has called for the simultaneous pursuit of nuclear weapons and economic growth with the aim of making the nation a “great socialist nuclear power.”


John Oliver Trolls Trump by Purchasing Pro-Iran Nuclear Deal Ads on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show
The Daily Beast4/23/18
The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host wants President Trump to know that not recertifying the Iran nuclear deal could be ‘disastrous.’

Iran’s foreign minister warns that nation will restart ‘nuclear activities’ if U.S. withdraws from accord
Washington Post4/22/18
The reaction of the international community would “not be pleasant” for the United States if President Trump decides to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday.

The Scramble to Salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal
New Yorker4/22/18
The Iran nuclear deal—the most significant non-proliferation agreement in more than a quarter century, whether you like the terms or not—is perched on the edge of a diplomatic cliff. By May 12th, President Trump will decide whether to kick it into the abyss.


Transcript: Sen. Tom Cotton on “Face the Nation,” April 22, 2018
Face the Nation4/22/18
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, who sits on the Senate’s intelligence and armed services committees, sat down Sunday for an interview on “Face the Nation.”


North Korea Is Not Denuclearizing
The AtlanticAdam Mount and Ankit Panda
The Trump administration shouldn’t get too excited about Kim Jong Un’s pledge to limit his weapons program.

Don’t Be Confused: Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Concessions Were a Show of Strength by North Korea
Daily BeastAnkit Panda
If the odds of a Trump-Kim summit stood at 50-50 before Friday’s announcement, they’ve now increased considerably. In fact, Kim has increased the costs considerably for Trump of backing out of a summit.

Beware of North Korea’s nuclear and missile pledge — Kim’s talk is cheap, it’s his actions that count
Fox NewsHarry J. Kazianis
Before we start singing “Give Peace a Chance” and celebrating a victory by the Trump administration for forcing Kim to back down, let’s pause. Remember that Kim simply made a statement – and he has a long record of lying and breaking promises on the nuclear issue and other issues.

Trump’s meeting with Kim will lead to an awful hangover
CNNJamie Metzl
There is nothing inherently wrong with negotiating with North Korea, but the Trump administration seems to have found the negotiation path that maximizes the potential benefits to the North Koreans while minimizing the benefits to the US and its allies.

Is ‘Denuclearization’ the Answer to the North Korea Nuclear Problem?
The DiplomatOlly Terry
Or could a nuclear weapons free zone — an NWFZ — be a better solution?

Why Russia is openly violating sanctions against North Korea
Washington Post4/23/18
My research suggests that violating the sanctions is part of Russia’s broader goal of challenging U.S.-led sanctions regimes, for two reasons. First, the two powers have very different perspectives on what constitutes an effective sanctions policy. Second, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants the political benefits of resisting U.S.-led sanctions policies toward North Korea.

Why has Kim Jong-un halted North Korean tests now?
BBCAnkit Panda
Kim Jong-un’s announcement that North Korea is to halt nuclear and missile tests immediately comes as he prepares for two major diplomatic events. Analyst Ankit Panda asks what the North Korean leader hopes to gain with his latest move.

Why Kim Jong Un came in from the cold: 3 theories
So what exactly has brought Kim to the table? Is he negotiating from a position of strength or weakness? Here, three experts share their views.

America’s endangered nuclear deterrent: the case for funding two critical capabilities
War on the RocksMark Gunzingers, Carle Rehberg, and Gillian Evans
It will be especially important in an increasingly competitive global threat environment to maintain a credible deterrent that underpins not only homeland defense, but also America’s numerous allied defense commitments. But for the U.S. to retain that credibility, its systems must receive timely modernization and capability upgrades, just as U.S. conventional forces do.

China’s strategic arsenals in a new era
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsElsa Kania
In this new era of Chinese military power, the PLA is seeking to develop new strategic arsenals that could enhance its future deterrence and war-fighting capabilities.

Russian and Chinese Hypersonic Glide Vehicles: Closing the Gap
NIPPDavis Florick
In recent years, Moscow’s and Beijing’s HGV testing programs have significantly outpaced Washington’s comparable program. Russia and China have prioritized these programs, believing that HGV capabilities can easily overcome US, allied, and partner defenses.

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