Top News U.S. seeks to expedite aid for North Korea amid stalled nuclear talks Reuters Open Scientific Collaboration May Be Helping North Korea Cheat Nuclear Sanctions NPR Russia says it won’t let U.S. see missile at heart of nuclear dispute Reuters East Asia U.S. seeks to expedite aid for North Korea amid stalled nuclear talks Reuters12/18/18 U.S. officials will try to expedite humanitarian aid to North Korea, a U.S. envoy said on Wednesday, as Washington and Pyongyang struggle to find a breakthrough in stalled talks aimed at ending the North’s nuclear program. Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, made the announcement as he arrived in Seoul for four days of talks with South Korean officials. Open Scientific Collaboration May Be Helping North Korea Cheat Nuclear Sanctions NPR12/19/18 New research shared exclusively with NPR shows one way the North may have been able to develop these technologies despite the global blockade. An analysis published Wednesday by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey of North Korean studies in scientific journals suggests Pyongyang is circumventing the sanctions regime through open research collaborations with other countries. Japan to spend more on defense, refit first aircraft carrier for US-made F-35B stealth jets Military Times12/18/18 Japan plans its first aircraft carrier and big increases in defense spending and weapons capability in the coming years, according to new defense guidelines approved Tuesday that cite its need to counter potential threats from North Korea and China and other vulnerabilities. The guidelines approved at a meeting of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet call for refitting an existing helicopter carrier into a ship that can deploy expensive, U.S.-made F-35B stealth fighters capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings. Russia/FSU/Europe Russia Claims To Be On Track to Deploy a Maneuverable ICBM Next Year Defense One12/18/18 Russia’s new Avangard intercontinental ballistic missile will be ready for deployment as soon as 2019, Russian state media outlet TASS reports. Strategic Missile Force Commander Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev said the highly maneuverable ICBM, which was first tested in 2004, will be ready for combat duty next year. Putin: Russia has enough missiles without violating treaty Associated Press12/18/18 President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected the U.S. claim that Russia developed a new cruise missile in violation of a key nuclear treaty, arguing that Russia has no need for such a land-based weapon because it already has similar missiles on its ships and aircraft. Washington warned this month it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days if Russia did not return to full compliance. Russia may have nuclear arms in Crimea, hacked EU cables warn The Guardian12/19/18 Brussels has launched an investigation into the apparent hacking of the EU’s diplomatic communications network after thousands of cables were made public, including descriptions of Donald Trump as a “bully” and Crimea as a “hot zone” where nuclear weapons may now be present. Among the reports made public was a warning on 8 February that Crimea had been turned into a “hot zone where nuclear warheads might have already been deployed”. Russia says it won’t let U.S. see missile at heart of nuclear dispute Reuters12/19/18 Russia said on Wednesday it would not let the United States inspect a new nuclear-capable cruise missile at the heart of a dispute between Washington and Moscow that risks unraveling a landmark arms control treaty. Washington has threatened to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), alleging that the new Russian missile, the Novator 9M729 (called SSC-8 by NATO), violates the pact, which bans either side from stationing short and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe. U.S. Nuclear Policy Exclusive: U.S. to offer ‘black box’ nuclear waste tech to other nations Reuters12/19/18 The U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security office is developing a project to help other countries handle nuclear waste, an effort to keep the United States competitive against global rivals in disposal technology, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The push comes as the United States struggles to find a solution for its own mounting nuclear waste inventories amid political opposition to a permanent dump site in Nevada, proposed decades ago, and concerns about the cost and security of recycling the waste back into fuel. Nuclear Winter Is Coming: Nuclear ‘War’ To Hit Washington In 2019 Investors Business Daily12/18/18 Nuclear weapons are about to explode as an issue on Capitol Hill, because partisan warfare is threatening to consume debates over nuclear procurement and policy in 2019. Two events are converging that will blow up an already tenuous give-and-take deal between Republicans and Democrats. Opinion and Analysis The New Arms Race and Its Consequences Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceUlrich Kühn 12/13/18 Taken together, the effects of the end of the INF Treaty could be severe – for Europe and for the world. It is high time for all sides to get serious in finding a way out of the current crisis. It is not too late to rediscover the instruments of diplomacy and cooperative security.