Nuclear Policy News – August 18, 2020

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Top News:

U.S.-Russia nuclear talks to continue in Vienna
Foreign Brief

U.S. open to nuclear agreement with Russia before including China

North Korea estimated to possess up to 60 nuclear bombs: U.S. Army
Korea Herald

United States

U.S. open to nuclear agreement with Russia before including China
The U.S. may move forward with a nuclear agreement with Russia first in a bid to apply pressure on Beijing to sign a weapons treaty, Washington’s top arms control negotiator said, despite characterizing China as an “urgent threat.”

U.S. considers midrange missile deployment in Asia to counter China
The U.S. will talk with Asian allies about deploying midrange missiles now under development to counter the “immediate threat” of China’s nuclear arsenal, Washington’s top arms control negotiator told Nikkei in a phone interview Friday.

OPINION: Hey U.S. Navy – maybe leave Russia’s nuclear missile submarines alone
ForbesDavid Axe
During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy planned to slip attack submarines into cold northern waters, where they would hunt down and tail Soviet nuclear ballistic-missile submarines, or “boomers.”

East Asia

Could Donald Trump’s latest overtures to Russia add to pressure on China? Observers aren’t so sure
South China Morning Post8/18/20
The US president reportedly wants to meet Vladimir Putin before November’s election to secure a foreign policy win.

North Korea to hold key party meeting amid economic woes
North Korea will hold a high-profile political conference to discuss unspecified crucial issues as it struggles to keep afloat a sanctions-ravaged economy hit further by anti-virus efforts and devastating flooding.

North Korea estimated to possess up to 60 nuclear bombs: U.S. Army
Korea Herald8/18/20
North Korea is estimated to have between 20 and 60 nuclear bombs, as well as the capacity to produce six new ones every year, the US Army said in its latest report, adding that the communist country pursues its nuclear weapons program to prevent a forcible regime change from outside.

OPINION: China can push North Korea for complete and verifiable denuclearization
Washington Times8/17/20
On Sept. 19, 2005, in a Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks, North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

Middle East

OPINION: The dangerous consequences of Trump’s plan to snapback UN sanctions on Iran
Arms Control Association8/17/20
The Security Council decisively rejected a U.S. resolution to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire in October.

Russia and Europe

U.S.-Russia nuclear talks to continue in Vienna
Foreign Brief8/16/20
A second round of nuclear talks between Washington and Moscow will be held today in Vienna.

South Asia

ANALYSIS: Beyond current nuclear doctrine debates: Addressing India’s two-front challenge
Observer Reach FoundationJoy Mitra
There are two streams of debate on India’s current nuclear doctrine: one on its current interpretation and deducing its form and what such form means for India’s overall nuclear strategy; and another, more internal to India, on what should be the Indian nuclear doctrine with respect to the evolving nature of threats.

Multilateral Arms Control

Security Council announces failure to adopt text on Iran sanctions by 2 against, 2 in favor, 11 abstentions
United Nations8/14/20
The Security Council announced on 14 August its failure to adopt a draft resolution aimed at extending arms-related restrictions on Iran, set to expire in October under resolution 2231 (2015).

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