Nuclear Policy News – December 12, 2017

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N. Korean defense conference calls for intensifying nuclear force
Yonhap News Agency

Tillerson set to meet Trudeau for North Korea crisis talks: source

India quietly launches second SSBN
Jane’s 360


Fearing the Worst, China Plans Refugee Camps on North Korean Border
New York Times12/11/17
A Chinese county along the border with North Korea is constructing refugee camps intended to house thousands of migrants fleeing a possible crisis on the Korean Peninsula, according to an internal document that appears to have been leaked from China’s main state-owned telecommunications company.

South Korea’s Moon, China’s Xi to talk North Korea, trade in Beijing summit
Curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will top South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s agenda in Beijing during a visit this week aimed at breaking the ice after a furious row over Seoul’s deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system.

N. Korean defense conference calls for intensifying nuclear force
Yonhap News Agency12/12/17
North Korea has kicked off a defense conference where a senior ruling party official called for further intensifying the country’s nuclear force, the North’s state-run news agency said Tuesday.

Moon urges N.K. to stop delusional thinking, come to denuclearization talks
Yonhap News Agency12/11/17
President Moon Jae-in has said that it is “delusional thinking” for North Korea to believe that nuclear weapons will guarantee its security, urging Pyongyang to stop such misjudgment and come out to denuclearization talks.

Thai PM says no trade with North Korea, ahead of U.S. envoy’s visit
No trade takes place between Thailand and North Korea, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday, ahead of an expected visit by a U.S. envoy seeking to step up pressure on North Korea over its weapons programs.


Strategic submarines Borei to enhance Russia’s nuclear potential — Navy’s commander
The potential of Russia’s naval nuclear force will grow as more nuclear-powered Borei project submarines continue to be built, the Navy’s commander-in-chief Admiral Vladimir Korolyov said on Tuesday.

China, Russia Kick Off Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Exercise
The Diplomat12/12/17
The Sino-Russian drill coincides with a joint two-day ballistic missile defense exercise involving the militaries of the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan. The Airspace Security 2017 exercise aims to bolster anti-missile defense cooperation between China and Russia, including planning joint missile defense operations.


India quietly launches second SSBN
Jane’s 36012/11/17
Official sources told Jane’s that the launch of Arighat , which took place during a low-key ceremony held at the Ship Building Centre (SBC) at Visakhapatnam on 19 November, entailed flooding the dry dock housing the SSBN to enable it to float into the surrounding waters for additional fitment ahead of its commissioning in 2020-21.


Tillerson set to meet Trudeau for North Korea crisis talks: source
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week for talks on how to address the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, an Ottawa source said on Monday.


The INF Treaty and Russia’s Challenge to U.S. Security
Huffington PostDavid W. Kearn
Certainly, any future negotiations with Russia on arms control should be predicated on a return to compliance with the INF Treaty. The Treaty continues to serve U.S. and European security interests. While some experts view such a weapon as potentially useful for the United States, it seems clear that the maintenance of a stable European balance is worth maintaining and that the United States is more than capable of developing more operationally flexible and cost-effective alternatives than land-based intermediate-range cruise missiles to address emerging threats.

Strategic Sense and Nuclear Weapons Today
National Institute for Public PolicyColin S. Gray
We have a very troubling challenge. The more responsible we are and sound in talking down possible roles for nuclear weapons, the more we encourage the Russians (and probably the Chinese) in the belief that we are weak or unready to defend ourselves. Given that the U.S. strategic force posture is notably aged, to be polite, and given that it cannot be modernized in a hurry, we are obliged, for want of anything better, to look to the credibility and reputation of our politicians and high officials to buy us time while new metal is bent. Prudent Western leaders must now attach considerable urgency to the need both for manifest resolve and new metal.

North Korea’s Nuclear Threat Reaches New Heights, But US Policy Remains Unchanged
The DiplomatAnkit Panda
However new and impressive the Hwasong-15 might be, it changes little as far as the US and North Korea’s regional neighbors are concerned. Instead, it serves as a reminder of the urgency of the threat, which assumed a new character this year after Pyongyang introduced a wide range of strategically significant missile systems even beyond its two new ICBMs.

What North Korea’s ICBM Means for Japan’s Defense Planning
The DiplomatYuki Tatsumi
There is no question that Japan needs to enhance its defense posture to better protect the country from North Korea’s missile threat. The central challenge for the defense planners in Tokyo, though, is how to balance among competing priorities, namely among (1) enhanced defense against missile threats, (2) continued development of amphibious capabilities, and (3) improvements to Japan’s cybersecurity capacity to better protect C4ISR assets across the three Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) services— critical to improve the capability to conduct joint operations .


U.S. and South Korea Consider Halting Military Drills During Olympics
The U.S. and South Korea are considering delaying joint military drills until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February in a bid to reduce tensions with North Korea, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

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