Nuclear Policy News – April 23, 2019

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What North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wants out of his summit with Vladimir Putin
CBS News

Experts Warn Latest Trump Administration Move on Iran Could Backfire

Patrick AFB’s secret lab watches for nuclear explosions worldwide
AirForce Times

East Asia

Kim-Putin: North Korean and Russian leaders to meet for first time
BBC News4/23/2019
North Korean state media has confirmed that leader Kim Jong-un will travel to Russia “soon” for his first ever meeting with Vladimir Putin. While no date has been announced, the Kremlin has also said the two will meet “in the second half of April”. Speculation is growing that they’ll meet in Russia’s eastern port of Vladivostok, just hours from their shared border, later this week.

What North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wants out of his summit with Vladimir Putin
CBS News4/23/2019
When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week for their first one-on-one meeting, he will have a long wish list and a strong desire to notch a win after the failure of his second summit with President Donald Trump. But it’s not entirely clear how much Putin can or will oblige.

North Korea Using Cryptocurrency to Fund Nuclear Weapons Development, Report Warns
The Independent4/22/2019
North Korea is using cryptocurrency to evade sanctions and fund the development of nuclear weapons, according to a new study. Researchers at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) revealed how the exploitation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through cyber crime activities offer a “financial lifeline” to North Korea as it seeks to develop its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program.

South Asia

At Indian General Election Rallies, Modi Beats the Nuclear Drums
The Diplomat4/23/2019
Less than two months after India’s worst crisis with Pakistan since 2002, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made repeated references to nuclear dynamics between the two countries at election rally addresses. These utterances are unusual from an Indian prime minister, but underscore the extent to which the nationalist BJP is leaning on its national security credentials and India’s military capabilities to appeal to voters seeking to reconstitute a government after the general elections.

US Nuclear Policy

2020 Democrats Promise to Re-enter the Iran Deal, and Israel Is Concerned
Officials describe a ‘political nightmare scenario’ in which Israel is dragged into the presidential contest if Iran deal becomes a major issue. Israel’s ambassador: calls to re-enter the deal ‘unacceptable’

Middle East

Experts Warn Latest Trump Administration Move on Iran Could Backfire
President Donald Trump’s decision Monday to end six-month waivers from U.S. sanctions for five countries that have continued buying Iranian oil — the latest turn of the screw in his Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran — was met with predictable outrage from Tehran. But some U.S. State Department, Defense and intelligence officials and outside experts warn that the move could backfire by causing ripple effects in countries like China, Turkey and Iraq.


Planning for a Putin-Kim Summit: What’s Likely to Be on the Agenda
38 North – Stephen J. Blank4/22/2019
As Kim Jong Un prepares for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the end of this month, speculation abounds about what the two hope to accomplish from this long-awaited meeting. The Russian press and official media will most likely hype this first summit as Kim displaying respect for Russia and underscoring Moscow’s importance as an active and respected participant in the resolution of Korean issues.

How Russia Can Help Break the Deadlock with North Korea
The National Interest – Lyle J. Goldstein4/22/2019
A Putin-Kim summit will mainly be another photo-op for the North Korean leader. But Moscow has more cards to play in Pyongyang than is commonly realized.

Special Interest

Patrick AFB’s secret lab watches for nuclear explosions worldwide
AirForce Times4/22/2019
Inside a secretive Patrick Air Force Base laboratory, Airman 1st Class Cynthia A. Schroll prepares batches of complex chemicals alongside futuristic-looking fume hoods and a white cabinet labeled “Acid” in large red letters. And Schroll conducts classified lab work at the Air Force Technical Applications Center. The organization detects and analyzes nuclear explosions detonated by foreign countries, utilizing a sprawling network of more than 3,600 sensors deployed around the globe.

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