Nuclear Policy News – December 17, 2019

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U.S. senators request intelligence review on not extending nuclear arms treaty with Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

North Korea tests likely if they ‘don’t feel satisfied’: Pentagon chief

ANALYSIS: India’s new security order
War on the Rocks

United States

U.S. senators request intelligence review on not extending nuclear arms treaty with Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty12/17/19
Three U.S. senators have asked Joseph Maguire, the acting director of National Intelligence, to conduct an impact assessment of how Russia and China would react if Washington withdraws from the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

Middle East

ANALYSIS: Smuggling in plain sight: How foreign businesses help Iran violate U.S. sanctions
QuartzJustin Rohrlich
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Iran’s commercial airlines play a supporting role in the country’s “efforts to foment regional violence through terrorism, its weapons programs, and other destabilizing activity.”

East Asia

North Korea tests likely if they ‘don’t feel satisfied’: Pentagon chief
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday North Korea would likely carry out unspecified tests if they “don’t feel satisfied,” amid fears the two countries could return to the collision course they had been on before launching diplomacy.

Most South Koreans support alliance with US but not sharp increase in cost-sharing, poll shows
Stars and Stripes12/17/19
The United States and South Korea began a fourth round of defense cost-sharing talks on Tuesday, two weeks before the current contract is due to expire.

Air China refueling in North Korea raises sanctions suspicions
Financial Times12/16/19
Photographs showing Chinese aircraft refueling in Pyongyang have raised suspicions over where North Korea is sourcing its fuel and whether China is defying international sanctions.

China, Russia propose lifting some U.N. sanctions on North Korea, U.S. says not the time
China and Russia on Monday proposed the U.N. Security Council lift a ban on North Korea exporting statues, seafood and textiles, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters, in a move Russia said is aimed at encouraging talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

ANALYSIS: North Korea’s Sohae satellite launching station: Post-engine test activity observed
38 NorthPeter Makowsky and Jack Liu
New commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station from December 15 reveals that the retractable environmental shelter has been pulled back from the engine test stand, perhaps signaling the beginning of post-test refurbishment of the stand.

ANALYSIS: How to turn the reviving North Korea crisis into a triumph for both nations
The FederalistHarry Kazianis
We can’t undo decades of mutual mistrust overnight. But Kim Jong-un exercising restraint would be a solid step toward a goal of a peaceful regime on the Korean Peninsula.

South Asia

ANALYSIS: India’s new security order
War on the RocksPaul Staniland
There are three characteristics of India’s new security order: an emphasis on risk-taking and assertiveness, the fusing of domestic and international politics, and the use of unrelenting spin to hold critics at bay.

Hypersonic Missiles

ANALYSIS: Hypersonic weapons have some explaining to do
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsIvan Oelrich
Those who write about this new weapon should stop and take a breath—and ask hard, honest questions.


ANALYSIS: Why no mushroom clouds?
Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon
The possession of nuclear weapons is certainly among the reasons why nuclear-armed states haven’t fought major conventional wars and haven’t used nuclear weapons when they’ve fought limited wars. But deterrence fails, and given the historical record of deterrence failure, we can’t count on deterrence to extend the period of non-battlefield use.

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