Nuclear Policy News – August 10, 2018

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North Korea chides U.S. sanctions pressure on denuclearization process

Pence Advances Plan to Create a Space Force
New York Times

Koreas prepare for summit as North asks U.S. to ease sanctions
The Japan Times


East Asia

North Korea chides U.S. sanctions pressure on denuclearization process
North Korea on Thursday denounced U.S. calls for enforcing international sanctions despite its goodwill moves and said progress on denuclearization promises could not be expected if Washington followed an “outdated acting script.” North Korea’s foreign ministry said Pyongyang had stopped nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a nuclear test ground and returned the remains of some U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. Yet Washington was still insisting on “denuclearization first” and had “responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure” it said.

North Korea vows to retain nuclear knowledge
Financial Times8/10/18
North Korea has said it will retain its nuclear knowledge in comments likely to strain an increasingly tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. Two months after agreeing to reset relations at a historic summit in Singapore, ties between the two nations appear to have hit a roadblock on the issue of denuclearisation, with Pyongyang criticising Washington for its refusal to ease sanctions.

Koreas prepare for summit as North asks U.S. to ease sanctions
The Japan Times8/10/18
The rival Koreas plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between their leaders, and Pyongyang called on the United States to reciprocate its “goodwill measures” by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first.

As Tokyo shuns ban treaty, leading the way to a nuclear-free world falls to Japan’s citizens and hibakusha
The Japan Times8/10/18
In Nagasaki, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underlined his solidarity with atomic bomb survivors, known as hibakusha, and called them “true messengers” of peace. He acknowledged the power of hibakusha as he reminded the world from the city — one of the two in Japan subjected to atomic bombing — that the realization of a nuclear-free world is still distant, and that work toward disarmament continues.

Middle East

U.S. can’t be trusted, Iran says, as North Korea slams continued U.S. pressure
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told North Korea’s foreign minister that the United States cannot be trusted, Tehran’s state media said, as the United States seeks a deal to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programs.


Russia, China object to U.S. proposal to blacklist Russian bank at U.N.: diplomats
Russia and China on Thursday objected to a U.S. proposal to add a Russian bank, Moscow-based North Korean banker and two other entities to a U.N. Security Council blacklist, diplomats said. The list of proposed designations mirrors new sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury last week.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Pence Advances Plan to Create a Space Force
New York Times8/9/18
Vice President Mike Pence promoted a proposed Space Command on Thursday as “an idea whose time has come” in comments at the Pentagon to unveil a few more details about President Trump’s plan to create another military force, this one for outer space, and for it to be in operation by 2020. Mr. Trump’s space dreams still have to go through a divided Congress to come true, but initially reluctant Pentagon officials have lined up behind the proposal and now say that they will do what they can to bring it to fruition.

Hard-liners push Trump to ramp up pressure on North Koreans over slow pace of denuclearization talks
Washington Times8/10/18
Two months have gone by since the Singapore summit with no serious steps toward denuclearization by North Korea, a reality that has left the Trump administration offering mixed messages on how it plans to proceed in negotiations amid growing concern that Washington is being played by Pyongyang. Hard-liners advising President Trump say the North Koreans need to start showing results.

U.S. Forecasts 50% Cut in Iran Oil Sales, Missing Goal
The Trump administration forecasts that it will persuade countries to cut Iranian oil imports by as much as 1 million barrels a day when it reimposes energy sanctions in early November, according to two people familiar with the administration’s efforts to choke off Tehran’s crude sales. The assessment forecasts a range of likely cuts of 700,000 to 1 million barrels a day — a significant reduction for the Islamic Republic but short of the announced U.S. goal of halting all sales of Iranian crude.

Opinion and Analysis

How Mike Pompeo is succeeding where Rex Tillerson failed
Washington PostDavid Ignatius
When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at his swearing-in ceremony on May 2, he advised his new colleagues at Foggy Bottom: “I want the State Department to get its swagger back.” State doesn’t really do “swagger,” but career officials say morale has improved from the rock-bottom level it reached with his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

What It Would Take for Iran to Talk to Trump
Defense OneVali Nasr
It may not seem like it, but Tehran has a lot to gain from meeting with a U.S. president in search of his own nuclear deal.

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