Nuclear Policy News – December 7, 2017

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Near North Korea’s Border, a Chinese Paper Offers Tips on Nuclear Fallout
New York Times

Korea says war is inevitable as allies continue war games
Associated Press

Questions swirl about plutonium put production at US lab
Associated Press


Near North Korea’s Border, a Chinese Paper Offers Tips on Nuclear Fallout
New York Times12/6/17
The official newspaper of a Chinese province adjoining North Korea published a full page of blunt advice on Wednesday about what to do in case of a nuclear explosion or radioactive fallout, from hiding indoors to bathing quickly with soap.

Korea says war is inevitable as allies continue war games
Associated Press12/7/17
North Korea says a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if, as it continued to lash out at a massive joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea involving hundreds of advanced warplanes.

Lawmaker says Moon, Xi share understanding on ‘freeze for freeze’ idea to resolve N.K. nuclear issue
Yonhap News Agency12/7/17
A South Korean ruling party lawmaker said Thursday that President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping share an understanding that suspending North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises at the same time is the most realistic way to start resolving the standoff.

Top UN Official to Visit North Korea
The Diplomat12/6/17
Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, will visit North Korea from December 5 to December 8, according to a United Nations press release. “Feltman will discuss with DPRK officials issues of mutual interest and concern,” the UN press release noted.


EU calls on US to stick to Iran nuclear deal
Associated Press12/5/17
The European Union’s top diplomat says the United States stepping away from a landmark nuclear deal would be counterproductive and insisted other disputes with Tehran should be tackled otherwise. Federica Mogherini said Tuesday after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the EU attaches great importance on upholding the agreement, adding that scrapping the deal “would not put us in a better position to discuss all the rest, on the contrary.”


Questions swirl about plutonium pit production at US lab
Associated Press12/5/17
The agency that oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile said Monday that further study is needed to determine the best option for the United States as it looks to ramp up production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads.

B-1B bomber joins U.S.-South Korea drills as tensions escalate
A U.S. B-1B bomber on Wednesday joined large-scale U.S.-South Korean military exercises that North Korea has denounced as pushing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, as tension mounts between the North and the United States.

Newly Revealed Experiment Shows How F-35 Could Help Intercept ICBMs
Defense One12/6/17
The F-35 sensors aren’t meant to replace the infrared satellites that detect launches, or the  sea-based X-Band Radar that can feed targeting data about missile launches to destroyers. Rather, Northrop officials said, the DAS data would help the other missile-defense gear get a targeting track on a missile more quickly, improving the odds of nailing the shot.


The Hwasong-15: The Anatomy of North Korea’s New ICBM
The DiplomatAnkit Panda
After joining the exclusive club of countries that possess staged thermonuclear weapons after this September’s test of a claimed hydrogen bomb with a yield in excess of 100 kilotons, North Korea has, with the KN22, successfully manufactured and flight tested a ballistic missile that few countries would able to produce. If the KN22 (and the KN20) sends a message, it’s that the rest of the world underestimates North Korea’s indigenous knowledge base and capabilities at its own peril.

Deterrence in Retreat: How the Cold War’s Core Principle Fell Out of Fashion
War on the RocksT. Negeen Pegahi
Deterrence, defined as “discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences,” is a key way actors may try to achieve their ends. But despite its continued prominence in national security discussions, the actual role of deterrence in U.S. policy has declined in recent decades, due to expanding U.S. objectives – along with the strategic problems this expansion has ushered in – and increasing U.S. capabilities. This longer-term shift has only been exacerbated and made more obvious by the current administration.

Canada’s misguided debate on North Korea’s missiles
The Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsMatt Korda and Andrea Berger
Trump’s obsession with ballistic missile defense is now spreading to Canada and skewing the country’s conversation over its role in addressing the North Korean nuclear threat. In particular, it has triggered a seriously misguided debate about whether Canada should join the US ballistic missile defense to counter a mostly non-existent North Korean threat to the Canadian homeland.

Bad Idea: Resuming Nuclear Testing
Defense 360, William Caplan
The resumption of nuclear testing is a bad idea. There is no real need for new capabilities and the technologies developed by the NNSA can ensure the reliability of the current U.S. arsenal without explosive tests. The United States should not risk both forfeiting its nonproliferation credibility and setting off a string of nuclear tests that threatens the nuclear order. The consequences of resuming testing would indeed be explosive.


Haley: ‘Open question’ if US athletes can attend Olympics in South Korea
Whether US athletes will be able to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea remains an “open question,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Wednesday night.

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