TOP NEWS N.K. to seek talks with U.S. after ICBM’s successful re-entry: Seoul think tank Yonhap News Agency Haley: New UN resolution punishing Iran could be in the works Fox News Crisis Management Gets More Complicated Between Pakistan And India Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon EAST ASIA N.K. to seek talks with U.S. after ICBM’s successful re-entry: Seoul think tank Yonhap News Agency12/21/17 “If the North launches the missile on a standard trajectory and its re-entry technology is confirmed, there is a high possibility that North Korea will seek disarmament talks with the U.S. on its proclaimed nuclear state status,” the institute said in its 2018 forecast for international affairs. Korea’s nuclear envoy leaves for Japan for talks on N.K. nukes Yonhap News Agency12/21/17 “The two sides plan to assess security situations following North Korea’s long-range missile test and discuss ways to cope with them including the stable management of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and how to prod the North to return to meaningful dialogue,” the ministry said. U.S. creating ‘sensational hype’ over China’s military modernization: ministry Reuters12/21/17 The United States has created “sensational hype” over China’s military modernization, the defense ministry has said in reaction to a White House report branding China a competitor seeking to challenge U.S. power. MIDDLE EAST Iran boasts global support for nuclear deal Tehran Times12/20/17 Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, on Tuesday boasted the international community’s full support for the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE Russia spurns U.S. allegations it violates nuclear arms pact Reuters12/21/17 U.S. allegations that Russia is breaking its Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Washington lack evidence and are speculative, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. SOUTH ASIA U.S. accusations are unfounded: Pakistan The Hindu12/20/17 Rejecting US concerns about its nuclear weapons, the statement said that Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state has put in place, a highly efficient, robust and centralised command and control mechanism to secure its nuclear assets. “The safety and security standards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are second to no other nuclear state,” it said. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY Haley: New UN resolution punishing Iran could be in the works Fox News12/20/17 Haley said that while the report devoted a lot of space to Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, there was a distinction between the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Resolution 2231 — the JCPOA she said doesn’t directly address non-nuclear behavior while the resolution does. She said others must uphold its obligations to the deal. “We must not allow ourselves to be held hostage to the nuclear agreement or treat Iran any different than we would any other country violating a resolution.” CNO: North Korea ‘an unprecedented and urgent threat’ Military Times12/20/17 While diplomatic and economic pressure are the primary means by which the United States is pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions and increasingly effective missile tests, the military option must remain at the ready, he said. Exclusive: US making plans for ‘bloody nose’ military attack on North Korea The Telegraph12/20/17 The White House has “dramatically” stepped up preparation for a military solution in recent months amid fears diplomacy is not working, well-placed sources said. One option is destroying a launch site before it is used by the regime for a new missile test. Stockpiles of weapons could also be targeted. OPINION AND ANALYSIS Crisis Management Gets More Complicated Between Pakistan And India Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon 12/20/17 What does an “America First” national security posture mean in the context of two nuclear-armed states that are in crisis? Is it time for India and Pakistan to deal directly with each other to reduce nuclear dangers, both during and after a crisis? Or are these dangers, along with U.S. strategic and regional interests, too great for Washington to refrain from active crisis management? The single line offered in the Trump administration’s new national security strategy — “The prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern requiring consistent diplomatic attention” — doesn’t shed much light on this subject. Commentary: Macron steers France to a new Mideast role ReutersMaysam Behravesh 12/20/17 Then there’s Iran. Macron has also offered to mediate between Tehran and Washington, where President Donald Trump has refused to certify that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal and warned that he might ultimately terminate it. Macron has adopted a tougher line towards Iran than the rest of Europe – thereby perhaps firming up his credentials with Trump – by saying that the agreement was not enough given the “increasing pressure that Iran is exerting on the region, and given increased activity by Iran on the ballistic level since the accord.