Nuclear Policy News – December 18, 2017

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Australia arrests man accused of trying to sell missile parts for North Korea

Korean, U.S. forces hold drill for removing North Korea’s WMDs
Yonhap News Agency

Trump National Security Strategy Sees U.S. Confronting China and Russia
New York Times


Australia arrests man accused of trying to sell missile parts for North Korea
Australian police said on Sunday they had arrested a man accused of working on the black market to sell missile components and coal on behalf of North Korea, the first charges ever brought in Australia over the sale of weapons of mass destruction.

Korea unmoved as world unites against its nuke ambitions
Associated Press12/16/17|
North Korea’s friends and enemies joined forces Friday in opposing its determination to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state and calling on leader Kim Jong Un to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — but the North gave no sign of budging on its nuclear ambitions.

Korean, U.S. forces hold drill for removing North Korea’s WMDs
Yonhap News Agency12/17/17
South Korean and U.S. forces conducted a joint training last week for infiltrating North Korea and removing weapons of mass destruction in case of conflict, military sources said. The “Warrior Strike” exercise was held at Camp Stanley, located north of Seoul, and other places from Tuesday to Friday, involving hundreds of soldiers from the two sides, they said.


Iran airs ‘confessions’ of researcher facing death for spying
Iranian state television broadcast on Sunday what it described as the confessions of an Iranian academic with Swedish residency who it said had provided information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists.


No military solution to Korean Peninsula nuclear crisis: Swedish FM
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Friday called for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, saying that there is no military solution. “There is no military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. We have to exhaust every avenue for diplomacy and dialogue. Efforts are urgent. The consequences of failure would be disastrous,” she told the Security Council.

Russia warns against fresh preconditions for US-N.Korea talks
Daily Star12/16/17
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov Saturday warned of a risk of escalation after Washington toughened its stance on North Korea nuclear talks and US President Donald Trump accused Moscow of failing to help.

Russia’s Lavrov and Iran’s Zarif discuss nuclear issue by phone: Russia
Daily Star12/18/17
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear deal in a phone conversation, Russian foreign ministry said Monday.


Possibility of nuclear war in South Asia cannot be ruled out: Pak NSA
The Times of India12/18/17
Pakistan’s security czar today said that the stability of the South Asian region hangs in a delicate balance and the possibility of a nuclear war cannot be ruled out.


A Tillerson Slip Offers a Peek Into Secret Planning on North Korea
New York Times12/17/17
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson let slip last week a few tantalizing details about one of the nation’s most secret military contingency plans: how the United States would try to race inside North Korea to seize its nuclear weapons if it ever saw evidence that Kim Jong-un’s government was collapsing.

Trump National Security Strategy Sees U.S. Confronting China and Russia
New York Times12/18/17
Moreover, Mr. Trump’s strategy contains more than a few hints of a return to a Cold War view of the world. While Mr. Obama used his strategies to de-emphasize nuclear weapons as a key to American defense, Mr. Trump calls those weapons “the foundation of our strategy to preserve peace and stability by deterring aggression against the United States, our allies and our partners.”

Mattis says North Korean ICBM not yet a ‘capable threat’ against U.S
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that analysis continued on North Korea’s most recent missile test, but he did not believe its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) posed an imminent threat to the United States.


How the US Department of Energy Shapes North Korea Policy
The DiplomatAustin Bodetti
Even if Perry struggles with nuclear physics, his employees at OICI, Livermore, and Los Alamos have more than enough expertise to compensate for him. Americans can only wonder, though, whether they have enough intelligence to counter the threat presented by North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. OICI, though under the radar of public perception, might be the best placed to fill in the gaps.

We are sleepwalking toward war with North Korea
VoxZach Beauchamp
But here’s the genuinely scary thing. Numerous conversations with US policymakers, former US government officials, and experts all point to one disturbing conclusion: Far from being unthinkable, a war with North Korea is becoming more likely by the day.

Cyber security at nuclear facilities: US-Russian joint support needed
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsAnna Wagner
The United States and Russia have worked extensively, both bilaterally and multilaterally, on the enhancement of nuclear security domestically and globally. It has always been one of a few topics on which both states could find common ground. Assisting other countries, especially nuclear newcomers, by building capacity in the nuclear cyber security field can be the first step toward bilateral talks on this issue.

How Trump is protecting Europe from Russian nukes
The HillStephen Blank
Russia has abundantly shown its intention to threaten if not use such weapons in Europe, this debate, which the U.S. must lead, is unavoidable. It might be a bruising debate since few members are even now willing to admit that Russia is essentially at war with Europe. But on the heels of this victory, strengthening NATO capabilities to threaten Russia will have a salutary effect on Moscow and on European and global security.

Nuclear Deterrence And Pakistan’s Second Strike Capability In Indian Ocean Region
Eurasia ReviewAhyousha Khan
But, with India’s massive nuclearization and naval buildup Pakistan cannot sit in denial and needs to develop its second strike capability. It is important for Pakistan to develop second strike capability more than ever because with huge investment in CPEC and Gwadar Port, Pakistan wants to claim its piece in the Indian Ocean Region for its economic development as well. Development of credible second strike capability would enable Pakistan to protect and promote its interest in the Indian Ocean Region where Indian naval vessels patrol throughout the year.

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