Nuclear Policy News – August 8, 2018

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Top News

North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearize, John Bolton says
Washington Post

Leaked document: Putin lobbied Trump on arms control

Hyten: To address Russian and Chinese missile threats, it’s all about the sensors
Breaking Defense

East Asia

North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearize, John Bolton says
Washington Post8/7/18
National security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that North Korea has not made progress toward denuclearization in a dismal acknowledgment that comes nearly two months after President Trump held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Middle East

Revival of Sanctions Delay China, Russia Oil-Field Deals in Iran
Wall Street Journal8/8/18
China, Russia and India say they will continue to buy petroleum from Iran, despite U.S. sanctions that would prohibit those sales, although banking difficulties are hampering their ability to invest in the Islamic Republic’s oil fields.


Russia’s Upgraded Tu-22M3M Long-Range Bomber to Be Rolled Out on August 16
The Diplomat8/8/18
The first prototype of Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-22M3M long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber will be rolled out on August 16 with ground testing to begin shortly thereafter, according to Russian aerospace and defense company Tupolev. Furthermore, the head of Tupolev, Alexander Konyukhov, recently told Interfax news agency that the maiden flight of the upgraded Tu-22M3M is scheduled to take place in the third quarter of 2018. The first upgraded bomber is expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force this October.

Leaked document: Putin lobbied Trump on arms control
Vladimir Putin presented President Donald Trump with a series of requests during their private meeting in Helsinki last month, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space, according to a Russian document obtained by POLITICO. A page of proposed topics for negotiation, not previously made public, offers new insights into the substance of the July 16 dialogue that even Trump’s top advisers have said they were not privy to at the time. Putin shared the contents of the document with Trump during their two-hour conversation, according to a U.S. government adviser who provided an English-language translation.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Hyten: To address Russian and Chinese missile threats, it’s all about the sensors
Breaking Defense8/7/18
To address the Russian and Chinese threats to the United States, as laid out in the National Defense Strategy, a focus on missile defense sensors is an absolute must, U.S. Strategic Command commander Gen. John Hyten hammered home during an August 7 speech at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. “The most important thing to do in the missile defense business is making sure you can see and characterize the threat,” Hyten said. “If you can’t see and characterize the threat, I don’t care what kind of shooter you have, there is nothing you can do about it. So the most important thing is, you look at all the threats that are coming together, hypersonics, etc., is that we have to be able to see that threat.”

America’s top nuclear commander: Russia and China can’t be our friends if they’re developing weapons we can’t deter
America’s top nuclear commander warned Tuesday that Russia and China are not “our friends” as Moscow and Beijing sprint to develop hypersonic weapons, a threat the United States currently cannot defend against. “You can’t call them [Russia and China] our friends if they’re building weapons that can destroy the United States of America, and, therefore, we have to develop the capability to respond,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

Nuke Sub Launch Tube Problems Found: ‘Warning Flags Are Up’
Breaking Defense8/7/18
The Navy has discovered problems with the welds on 12 nuclear missile launch tubes, some for America’s $122.3 billion Columbia-class submarine program and others for the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought submarines. The issue is serious enough that Rep. Joe Courtney, top Democrat on the House seapower subcommittee, told me “the warning flags are up.”

Opinion and Analysis

Time for a nuclear pause agreement?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Adam Scheinman
There can be no denying it: Nuclear arms control is in a rut. Regrettably, prospects for new agreements look unlikely to improve in the near future. But must nations wait passively for circumstances to improve, or worse yet, sit on their hands as conditions deteriorate? No—instead, nuclear-armed nations could pursue a “nuclear pause” agreement whereby they would commit, for a limited time, not to conduct nuclear tests or produce additional fissile material for weapons.

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