Nuclear Policy News – December 17, 2018

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Top News

Lawmakers Want a Greater Say as U.S. Seeks a Saudi Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal

Hard-Line U.S. Tactics Will ‘Block’ Path to Denuclearization, North Korea Warns
New York Times

Trump Needs Patience, Pressure to Sway Kim, Ex-Negotiator Says


East Asia

Is Trump on Path to ‘Strategic Patience’ on North Korea?
Voice of America12/15/18
President Donald Trump could find himself embracing “strategic patience” on North Korea, an Obama administration approach he once denounced, as nuclear talks with Pyongyang have stalled, analysts say. A Trump tweet Friday showed the president’s evolving position.

Trump Needs Patience, Pressure to Sway Kim, Ex-Negotiator Says
One of the few South Koreans to hold direct nuclear negotiations with North Korea says President Donald Trump must balance patience and pressure if he wants to end Pyongyang’s atomic ambitions. Trump needs to reassure Kim Jong Un that the U.S. wouldn’t threaten his grip on power while also holding Pyongyang accountable for all the fissile material it has produced for bombs, said lawmaker Lee Soo Hyuck, an influential foreign policy figure in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party.

Hard-Line U.S. Tactics Will ‘Block’ Path to Denuclearization, North Korea Warns
New York Times12/16/18
North Korea warned on Sunday that if the United States continued to escalate its sanctions and human rights campaign against the North, that approach could permanently shatter any chance of denuclearizing the country. Washington is holding fast to its policy of exerting “maximum” economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea, even though President Trump has claimed progress in denuclearizing the North since his meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, in June in Singapore.


Russia proposes UN resolution to preserve INF treaty
Russia has submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The resolution follows the United States’ decision to withdraw from the landmark agreement of the final days of the Cold War arms race. “The unilateral actions by the US on effectively initiating a procedure of ‘suspending’ their participation in the Treaty, a step not envisaged in this Agreement, put the future of the INF Treaty in jeopardy,” the Russian Mission to the UN announced in a statement Friday.

Russia claims Pentagon ignoring request to discuss nuclear dispute
The Hill12/15/18
Russian officials claim that their U.S. counterparts are unwilling to sit down for discussions related to alleged violations of a nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia. A spokesman for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told The Associated Press on Saturday that Defense Secretary James Mattis has yet to respond to a proposal from Shoigu to begin conversations between the two countries about alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Multilateral Arms Control

Labor set for nuclear showdown as Gareth Evans warns of risk to US alliance
The Guardian12/17/18
Gareth Evans has warned signing up to the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons will “tear up” the United States alliance ahead of a critical contested vote in an otherwise tranquil Labor conference. The former foreign affairs minister made the comments to Guardian Australia on the sidelines of Labor’s national conference, intervening in a dispute over how to translate in-principle support for disarmament into practical action.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Lawmakers Want a Greater Say as U.S. Seeks a Saudi Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal12/16/18
The Trump administration’s push to sell civilian nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia is emerging as the next battleground in the struggle between the White House and Congress over U.S. policy toward Riyadh following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Audit finds cyber vulnerabilities in US missile defense system
Defense News12/14/18
The Army, Navy and Missile Defense Agency are failing to take basic cybersecurity steps to ensure that information on America’s ballistic missile defense system won’t fall into nefarious hands, according to a Defense Department Inspector General audit released Friday. Investigators visited five sites that manage ballistic missile defense elements and technical information, but the names of the commands were redacted in the publicly released report.

Opinion and Analysis

Bad Idea: Space-Based Interceptors and Space-Based Directed Energy Systems
Defense 360James N. Miller and Frank A. Rose
Due to a range of technological developments, both the strategic nuclear balance and the situation in outer space vis-à-vis China and Russia are headed into challenging times, where strategic stability will be placed under increased pressure. At a time of growing budgetary pressures as well as increased competition with other great powers, the United States can ill afford to waste precious dollars on space-based missile defenses and a new arms race that will make us less, rather than more, secure.

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