TOP NEWS North Korea Had Spurned Talks With U.S. Due to Trump’s Latest Sanctions Foreign Policy UN chief: Iran may be defying UN on missiles, OK on nukes Associated Press Despite Tillerson overture, White House says not right time for North Korea talks Reuters EAST ASIA North Korea Had Spurned Talks With U.S. Due to Trump’s Latest Sanctions Foreign Policy12/13/17 In the weeks before U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s call Tuesday for talks with Pyongyang, North Korean officials were privately telling their international counterparts that they see little point in discussions with the United States and other key powers, several current and former U.S. and U.N.-based officials told Foreign Policy. UN’s North Korea envoy is said to be very worried after trip Stars and Stripes12/13/17 The United Nations envoy to North Korea returned from that country deeply worried about the prospects for bringing an end to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, according to a European member of the Security Council who was briefed on the visit. U.N.’s Guterres warns against ‘sleepwalking’ into war over North Korea Reuters12/13/17 U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warning against the danger of “sleepwalking” into war, said on Thursday that Security Council resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs must be fully implemented by Pyongyang and other countries. Opposition party cautions against U.S.-N.K. nuke freeze compromise Yonhap News Agency12/14/17 A South Korean opposition party on Thursday called on the government to ensure the United States won’t settle for North Korea’s nuclear freeze rather than complete denuclearization. MIDDLE EAST UN chief: Iran may be defying UN on missiles, OK on nukes Associated Press12/14/17 Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that Iran may be defying a U.N. call to halt ballistic missile development even as it complies with the nuclear deal with six world powers. Iran says ‘fully ready’ if U.S. violates nuclear deal Tehran Times12/13/17 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi has said that Iran is “fully ready” if the U.S. violates the 2015 nuclear deal. RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE Putin warns against U.S. strike on North Korea Reuters12/14/17 Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that a strike on North Korea by the United States would have catastrophic consequences and that he hoped to work with Washington eventually to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula. Putin says Washington has in fact quit INF treaty TASS12/14/17 “Now we hear speculation about INF Treaty-related problems,” he said. “It looks like conditions are being set, and information as well as propaganda work is underway for the United States to walk out on that treaty. Even more so, since in fact it has already dropped the agreement.” “The more so, since in fact it has already dropped the agreement,” the Russian leader said, adding that the United States had deployed Aegis Ashore missile interceptors that could be easily replaced with intermediate missile launchers. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY Despite Tillerson overture, White House says not right time for North Korea talks Reuters12/13/17 No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s offer to begin talks with Pyongyang any time and without pre-conditions. Tillerson’s North Korea Talk Sparks Contradictory Responses at Home and Abroad The Diplomat12/14/17 The contradictory messages sent by Tillerson and the U.S. government once again confused the international community and implied the looming conflicts within Trump’s administration. OPINION AND ANALYSIS Can Trump Cut a Deal With North Korea? PoliticoGeorge Perkovich 12/13/17 There is no winning to be had here. Short of a potentially catastrophic war, the only feasible option is to negotiate limits on the size and operation of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and establish a modus vivendi in which each side deters the other from aggression. This worked with murderous communist regimes in the Soviet Union and China—Mao Zedong and Josef Stalin were responsible for deaths of tens of millions of their citizens—and there is no evidence it would be less effective with North Korea. How to ensure Iran never resumes reprocessing Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsSahar Nowrouzzadeh and Katlyn Turner 12/13/17 Critics of the deal often use this sunset provision to argue that the JCPOA delays but does not eliminate Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. These critics ignore the reality that, if the Iranians were to return to reprocessing after 2031, they would have to start from scratch. They would have to contend with intrusive monitoring arrangements that will persist after 2031. And they would have to decide—unlike other nations that have foregone reprocessing—that the technology makes economic, technical, and environmental sense after all. On paper, the JCPOA’s reprocessing provisions don’t last forever. In practice, they very well might. The Vatican tries to reduce the revived global threat of nuclear war Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsLawrence J. Korb 12/13/17 Hopefully the Vatican conference will galvanize the international community to pressure the United States to move in the right direction. While some may think this is a naïve hope, I know from my experience in the Reagan Administration that the voices of Catholic bishops on nuclear issues had an impact on the president. Their efforts led Reagan to say that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and to try to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Dotards and Hooligans 101: Why Scholars Study North Korea’s Insults Wall Street JournalJonathan Cheng 12/14/17 Mason Richey, an American scholar in Seoul, has spent thousands of hours dissecting a vivid language that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Making sense of CHAMP, the silver bullet miracle missile that isn’t C4ISRNetKelsey Atherton 12/13/17 The worst time for people to learn about a new weapon is in the middle of a geopolitical crisis. So it is with CHAMP, a long-in-development missile built for the Air Force that is now, thanks to several delays in production, making a popular debut coincidentally paired with fears about North Korea.