Nuclear Policy News – April 26, 2019

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Official: U.S. Far Behind China, Russia in Modernizing Nuclear Arsenal

Trump orders staff to prepare arms-control push with Russia and China
Washington Post

After Meeting Kim, Putin Advocates Phased Denuclearization Approach
Voice of America

US Nuclear News

Official: U.S. Far Behind China, Russia in Modernizing Nuclear Arsenal
USNI News4/25/2019
China and Russia had their money on winning asymmetric advantages in conventional and nuclear forces in the last decade, and now the United States is playing catch-up in modernizing its sea, air and land nuclear forces, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Wednesday.

Trump orders staff to prepare arms-control push with Russia and China
Washington Post4/25/2019
President Trump has ordered his administration to prepare a push for new arms-control agreements with Russia and China after bristling at the cost of a 21st-century nuclear arms race, according to administration officials. The aim of the nascent effort, a senior administration official said, is to bring Russian nuclear weapons unregulated by treaties under new limits and persuade China to join an arms-control pact limiting or verifying its capabilities for the first time

Trump admin aiming for major nuclear deal with Russia and China
President Donald Trump has his eyes on a new foreign policy prize: a grand nuclear deal with Russia and China, that he sees as a potential signature foreign policy achievement. But the scale of those ambitions, Trump’s past criticism of New START as a “bad deal” and the role of national security adviser John Bolton — a longstanding critic of arms control agreements — have some observers concerned that the administration’s true goal might be find a way to exit a second nuclear pact it sees as constraining and outdated.

East Asia

Putin says he’ll brief US on summit with Kim
President Vladimir Putin says he’s willing to share details with the United States about his summit on Thursday with Kim Jong Un, potentially raising Russia’s influence in the stalemated issue of North Korean denuclearization.

After Meeting Kim, Putin Advocates Phased Denuclearization Approach
Voice of America4/25/2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could give up his nuclear weapons if he first receives security guarantees. Putin made the comment Thursday after holding his first ever summit with Kim in the far-eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.


China, Russia… ‘we all have to get rid’ of nukes, Trump says amid reports he eyes arms control deal
Russia Today4/26/2019
Donald Trump has called on the US, Russia, and China to reduce their nuclear arsenals amid reports that his administration is planning to propose a landmark arms control deal with Beijing and Moscow. In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the US president said that he welcomed Russia’s efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula – but that more must be done. “We want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, we all have to get rid [of them]. Russia has to get rid of them, and China has to get rid of them,” Trump stated.

Moscow receives US explanation on deployment of THAAD system to Romania
TASS Russian News Agency4/26/2019
Moscow has received information from the US concerning the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Romania, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a Friday briefing ahead of the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Middle East

US permits civil nuclear ties with Iran despite ‘maximum pressure’
The US maximum pressure campaign on Iran includes sanctions to bring Iranian exports to zero, and designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, but does not include prohibiting foreign companies from working on Iran’s civilian nuclear reactors under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal.

Anxious Over Iran’s missiles, EU Grapples to Contain Tehran
Wall Street Journal4/26/2019
Leading European countries are pursuing ways to contain Iran’s ballistic missiles work, amid growing concerns about Tehran’s large-scale weapons program and in the wake of a campaign by Washington to galvanize support for pressuring the Islamic Republic over its missiles.

Mideast-U.S. Bloc Spoiling for Conflict with Iran, Top Diplomat Says
Wall Street Journal4/25/2019
Iran’s foreign minister said a small group of Middle Eastern and U.S. officials is trying to steer President Trump into a conflict with Tehran in the hope of undermining Iran’s influence in the region. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif insisted Thursday that Iran wasn’t seeking a military confrontation with Washington. He said he didn’t think President Trump was eager for a conflict either.


With US-Russian arms control treaties on shaky ground, the future is worrying
Brookings Institution – Steven Pifer4/25/2019
For nearly five decades, Washington and Moscow have engaged in negotiations to manage their nuclear competition. Those negotiations produced a string of acronyms—SALT, INF, START—for arms control agreements that strengthened strategic stability, reduced bloated nuclear arsenals and had a positive impact on the broader bilateral relationship. That is changing.

Trump Doesn’t Want a “Better” Deal With Iran
Slate Magazine – Fred Kaplan4/25/2019
When Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed economic sanctions that had been lifted as part of that accord, he issued six-month waivers to eight countries—China, India, Iraq, Turkey, South Korea, Italy, Greece, and Taiwan—allowing them to keep buying Iranian oil. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the waivers would end May 2. One clear sign that Trump wants Iran boxed in is that he hasn’t offered another choice—he hasn’t said what he wants the Iranian government to do in exchange for dropping his campaign of “maximum pressure.”

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