Nuclear Policy News – December 20, 2017

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North Korea tensions: South urges U.S. to delay military drills ahead of Olympics
NBC News

North Korea said to be testing anthrax-tipped ballistic missiles
Asahi Shimbun

US, Canada to co-host meeting on North Korean nuclear threat in January
The Hill


North Korea tensions: South urges U.S. to delay military drills ahead of Olympics
NBC News12/19/17
South Korea is pushing the U.S. to postpone joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics as an olive branch to North Korea, a move the administration is considering, the South’s president told NBC News on Tuesday.

Opposition party calls on Moon to withdraw proposal to delay S. Korea-U.S. military drills
Yonhap News Agency12/20/17
The minor opposition Bareun Party urged President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday to retract his proposal to postpone the springtime South Korea-U.S. military drills until after the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics should North Korea halt provocations.

Japan Is Building Missile Bases to Confront Rising Threat From China
Wall Street Journal12/20/17
Japan’s military is laying the groundwork for batteries of antiship and antiaircraft missiles in a quiet, sugar-cane-filled valley here, as it girds to confront what Tokyo views as its greatest long-term threat: China.

North Korea said to be testing anthrax-tipped ballistic missiles
Asahi Shimbun12/20/17
The source in South Korea said Pyongyang is conducting heat and pressure resistance tests to see whether anthrax germs can survive at temperatures of 7,000 degrees or higher, the level an ICBM encounters when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

N.K. rejects claim it is developing biological weapons
Yonhap News Agency12/20/17
“The DPRK, as a state party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons,” the North’s Institute for American Studies, affiliated with the foreign ministry, was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).


Trump cannot annul nuclear deal, Rouhani says
Tehran Times12/19/17
“Two years have passed since the [implementation] of the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and the U.S. could not annul it, and I do believe they cannot do so in future. Those who are against the JCPOA should not set hopes on Trump [the U.S. president], because he cannot do anything,” Rouhani said during a speech at the 1st National Conference on Reporting the Progress of Charter on Citizens’ Rights.


Macron says nuclear deal is basis for ties with Iran
Tehran Times12/19/17
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that the 2015 nuclear deal is the “basis of Paris-Tehran cooperation” and “unchangeable”.

US seeking pretext for breakup of INF Treaty — Russian senior diplomat
Washington is seeking a pretext for a breakup of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty but it will not succeed in its attempts to apportion all blame to Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday after the U.S. had introduced sanctions against two Russian organizations.

Russia welcomes South Korea’s initiative to delay military drills until after Olympics
Moscow welcomes all steps that help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on South Korea President Moon Jae-in’s initiative to delay military drills with the US until after the 2018 Olympic Games.

US, North Korea create escalation spiral — Russian ambassador
The US and North Korea have created an escalation spiral in connection with the nuclear issue, Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told Russian reporters on Wednesday. According to him, the global community’s ability to prevent the most negative developments depends on joint efforts by Russia and China.


ICAN Nobel Peace Prize resonates in radiation-hit Marshall Islands
Japan Times12/20/17
The awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is resonating in the Marshall Islands, boosting hopes there will be no repeat of its exposure to radiation from nearly 70 U.S. nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958.


US, Canada to co-host meeting on North Korean nuclear threat in January
The Hill12/19/17
The meeting will primarily be attended by representatives from countries that sent troops to support a United Nations unified command backing South Korea during the Korean War. Other regional players, like South Korea and Japan, will also attend, officials said. Tillerson said at the news conference that the meeting, which is set to take place in Vancouver, will focus on advancing the global pressure campaign to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Guam video explains how to prepare for nuclear attack
Associated Press12/19/17
Guam security officials have released two videos to help residents prepare for emergencies, including a nuclear missile attack. The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense said in a statement Tuesday the videos aren’t connected to any imminent threat.

U.S. gives China draft proposal for tougher North Korea sanctions – sources
The United States has given China a draft resolution for tougher U.N. sanctions on North Korea and is hoping for a quick vote on it by the U.N. Security Council, a Western diplomat said on Tuesday.

U.S. seeks ship ban over North Korea violations, Moon postponing drills
The United States has called on the U.N. Security Council to blacklist 10 ships for circumventing sanctions on North Korea, documents showed on Tuesday, while South Korea’s President suggested delaying military exercises with Washington to ease tensions ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics.


Running out of time
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsJohn J. Hamre
Taking all this together, it is clear that we are not running out of time. Indeed, time has stopped for the path we have been on for 15 years. But deterrence has worked for 50 years with Russia, it will work for North Korea. I am dismayed by our rhetoric in Washington. We are talking like frightened little rabbits, afraid of a wolf in the forest. We have nothing to be afraid of, and the more we act like frightened little critters, the more we reward North Korea for pursuing a dead-end strategy. We tried a policy of dissuasion for the past 15 years, and it has failed. But a strategy of deterrence has worked and will continue to work.

On North Korea, China is no partner
The HillMathew Ha and David Adesnik
When it comes to North Korea, China will only become an American partner when it becomes clear that there is a price to pay for undermining sanctions and protecting Pyongyang from repercussions for its reckless provocations.


Here’s how the Trump administration could make it easier to sell military drones
Defense News12/19/17
The proposed change to the Missile Technology Control Regime would make it easier for nations to sell the systems, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, that fly under 650 km per hour, according to multiple sources who are aware of the efforts.

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