TOP NEWS

North Korea nuclear test site has collapsed and may be out of action – China study
The Guardian

Kim Jong-un will use nuclear weapons to push for more from West, ex-South Korean negotiator says
South China Morning Post

Macron believes Trump will drop Iran nuclear deal
BBC

US sanctions hit Pakistan’s plan to join Nuclear Suppliers Group
Asia Times

EAST ASIA

North Korea nuclear test site has collapsed and may be out of action – China study
The Guardian4/26/18
North Korea’s main nuclear test site has partially collapsed under the stress of multiple explosions, possibly rendering it unsafe for further testing and leaving it vulnerable to radiation leaks, a study by Chinese geologists has shown.The findings could cast doubt on North Korea’s sincerity in announcing last weekend that it would stop testing nuclear weapons at the site ahead of Friday’s summit between the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in.

As North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Makes a Historic Trip to the South, Here’s What to Expect
Time4/26/18
On Friday, history will be made as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un crosses the border for a highly-anticipated summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in. Here’s what you need to know about the high-stakes summit and its potential impacts on the peninsula and beyond.

Inter-Korea summit: What do Koreans think?
Al Jazeera4/26/18
Al Jazeera speaks to people from both sides of the border to see what the general mood is and whether they think the talks will be fruitful or not.

Kim Jong-un will use nuclear weapons to push for more from West, ex-South Korean negotiator says
South China Morning Post4/26/18
Korean peninsula has entered ‘totally different phase’ and Pyongyang will want economic sweeteners, according to lawmaker involved in six-party talks

MIDDLE EAST

US not seeking to reopen Iran nuclear deal, envoy says
Reuters4/25/18
The United States is not seeking to reopen or renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal but hopes to stay in it to fix its flaws with a supplementary agreement, U.S. non-proliferation envoy Christopher Ford said on Wednesday.

Macron believes Trump will drop Iran nuclear deal
BBC4/26/18
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he may have failed in efforts to persuade Donald Trump to stick to an international nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran will not accept any amendment to nuclear deal – senior official
Reuters4/26/18
“Any change or amendment to the current deal will not be accepted by Iran …. If Trump exits the deal , Iran will surely pull out of it … Iran will not accept a nuclear deal with no benefits for us,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iran’s highest authority Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Kremlin questions whether a new Iran nuclear deal is possible
Reuters4/25/18
“We know that the nuclear deal was the meticulous work of a number of countries. Is it possible to repeat that work — that is a question,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Crude Holds Near Three-Year High as Focus Remains on Iran Deal
Bloomberg4/25/18
Crude remained close to three-year highs as investors tried to gauge the potential of a U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear deal.

Macron tells Congress Iran will ‘never possess’ nuclear weapons
The Times of Israel4/25/18
French president says his country will not leave nuke deal, but changes must be made to address Trump’s concerns; urges US to remain engaged with world affairs.

SOUTH ASIA

US sanctions hit Pakistan’s plan to join Nuclear Suppliers Group

Asia Times4/26/18
Pakistan’s plan to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group has come under a cloud after the US imposed sanctions last month on seven Pakistani companies over suspected links to nuclear trade. The companies have been put on the “Entity List”, which means they need special licenses to be involved in any business in the US.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Iran after sunset
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Robert J. Goldston
4/25/18
The President and other critics of the deal are worried about Iran’s behavior after these restrictions [so called “sunset clauses”] lapse. But the existing deal, together with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is committed, provides a legal framework for keeping Iran in check indefinitely. Indeed, abrogating the deal would eliminate the opportunity it provides.

Yes, Trump and Kim Can Make a Deal That’s Good for Everyone
Foreign PolicyStephen M. Walt
4/25/18
If both sides agree on the answers to these three questions, a successful summit just might be possible.

What you should know about Macron, Trump and the Iran deal
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
4/25/18
For those dreading the possibility of the United States exiting the Iran deal, as well as facing isolation from its allies and acquiring the reputation as altogether unreliable in nuclear nonproliferation while having no backup plan, there is reason for cautious optimism.

North Korea’s Phony Peace Ploy
New York TimesNicholas Eberstadt
4/25/18
If the past is any guide, the North will offer the South unenforceable verbiage. And if the South accepts a phony peace ploy, it will expose itself to more manipulation by the government in Pyongyang — not only in its domestic politics, but potentially also in its alliance with the United States.

A Window into North Korea
The DiplomatVictoria Kim
4/25/18
Looking at North Korea on the way to Russia via train.