Nuclear Policy News – April 9, 2019

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Kim Jong-un may unveil new nuclear strategy on Thursday
The Korea Times

Federal Watchdog Probes Trump Admin Push for Saudi Nuke Deal
The Daily Beast

Opinion: Updating America’s nuclear arsenal for a new age
Bloomberg Opinion

East Asia

China, North Korea Open New Border Crossing Despite Sanctions
China and North Korea opened a new border crossing over the Yalu River, signaling aspirations for deeper economic ties between the neighbors even as Pyongyang’s trade remains crimped by international sanctions.

China’s bridge to North Korea opens 3 years after it was built – but why now?
South China Morning Post4/9/2019
China and North Korea have finally opened a border bridge built between the two countries in 2016, in a potential boost to the North’s economy as Beijing tries to balance its concerns about its neighbour against ongoing international pressure for it to denuclearise.

Japan extends sanctions on North Korea by two years over abductions and nuclear weapons
Japan Times4/9/2019
Japan decided Tuesday to extend its sanctions against North Korea for two years, maintaining pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize and resolve its past abductions of Japanese nationals. The sanctions approved for extension by the Cabinet before they expire on Saturday impose a total ban on bilateral exports and imports, and forbid the entry into Japan of North Korean-registered ships, as well as vessels that have stopped at a North Korean port.

Kim Jong-un may unveil new nuclear strategy on Thursday
The Korea Times4/9/2019
All eyes are on North Korea to see if it makes a major announcement on its nuclear plans, Thursday, when the regime plans to hold a major parliamentary meeting. Last month, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui hinted that the regime’s leadership would soon make public its “crucial decision” on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Rep. Jim Cooper talks Trump’s Space Force takeover, and what’s next for nukes and missile defense
Defense One4/8/2019
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. spoke with Defense News this March about the issues his subcommittee will tackle this year. In this interview Cooper stated, “…with nuclear weapons you have to be precise. You want zero mistakes, so I think a large part of the process is not persuasion; it’s just education, and people need to learn enough about our stockpile so that they are able to judge for themselves, without any political spin, what’s going on.”

Middle East

Is Saudi Arabia on track to become a nuclear power?
France 244/9/2019
Satellite images of a nuclear reactor under construction on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh, have reignited fears of an escalation in the tussle for regional hegemony pitting the Saudi kingdom against Iran.

Federal Watchdog Probes Trump Admin Push for Saudi Nuke Deal
The Daily Beast4/8/2019
One of the government’s top investigative agencies has looked at allegations of potential wrongdoing by individuals in the Trump administration about their planning of a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia, according to two individuals with knowledge of the probe. The line of inquiry is part of a broader investigation in the Office of the Special Counsel—an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency—into alleged politically motivated personnel decisions at government offices.


10 of the most powerful weapons NATO has to take on Putin’s Russia
Business Insider4/5/2019
Heather Conley with the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that Russia is likely to continue to press the alliance through low-end influence and cyberwarfare operations. Still, she explained to Business Insider, NATO needs to be seriously contemplating a high-end fight as Russia modernizes, pursuing hypersonic cruise missiles and other new systems.

Opinion and Analysis

Nuclear Weapons: What Are They Good For?
Bloomberg Opinion -Tobin Harshaw4/8/2019
The Pentagon wants to stay ahead of this escalation, and has the budget to do so — as much as $1 trillion over 30 years to modernize the nuclear arsenal. Nobody wants tensions among the world’s great powers to ever go nuclear. But being prepared for the worst is among the best ways to ensure it will never happen.

Opinion: Updating America’s nuclear arsenal for a new age
Bloomberg Opinion4/8/2019
The U.S. can best prepare for the next nuclear age by sticking with the two-pronged strategy that worked so well during the Cold War: deterrence combined with arms control. That means pursuing two seemingly contradictory goals: seeking to shrink the number of nuclear weapons around the globe, while simultaneously maintaining and improving a nuclear arsenal potent enough to dissuade adversaries from doing anything stupid.

How Israel’s Air Force Destroyed Assad’s Nuclear Weapons Dreams (Powered by North Korea)
National Interest – War is Boring4/6/2019
Under no circumstances should an enemy state be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. That is a fundamental doctrine of Israel’s security policy shaped by Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the end of the 1970s. To this day, Jerusalem has tried to act accordingly – mainly in regard to Iran. For many years, military analysts around the globe have speculated about an Israeli air strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities.

Operation Obstacle Course: How China Has Disrupted Negotiations with North Korea
National Interest – Ashley Feng4/8/2019
As the United States pushes North Korea toward denuclearization, it should focus more on the Chinese lifeline to this rogue regime. An ally and neighbor of North Korea, China is a key player in the United States’ two-track strategy to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal of weapons: maximum financial pressure and diplomatic outreach. The United States should call out China for its insidious enabling of North Korea and point to the Kim regime’s money trails through China.

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