Nuclear Policy News – February 1, 2018

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Withdrawal of U.S. envoy candidate and tough talk from Trump worry South Korea
Washington Post

U.S. Test of Missile Interceptor Fails Off Hawaiian Coast, Officials Say
New York Times

Russia rejects U.S. evidence of Iran’s “lawless behavior”
CBS News


US special envoy on North Korea says war is still an option, but we’re not yet close to fighting
Business Insider2/1/18
The US special envoy on North Korea said all options remained on the table for solving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang, but that he did not think the military option was close.

U.S. seeks S. Korea’s understanding of delayed appointment of top envoy
Yonhap News Agency2/1/18
The United States has sought South Korea’s “understanding” with regard to Washington’s recent withdrawal of Victor Cha from consideration for ambassador to Seoul, the foreign ministry in Seoul said Thursday, adding that the allies continue to cooperate on filling the long-vacant post as soon as possible.

Withdrawal of U.S. envoy candidate and tough talk from Trump worry South Korea
Washington Post1/13/18
Now the Moon government will be trying to talk down a Trump administration that is apparently more serious about giving North Korea a “bloody nose” than analysts realized — at the same time as North Korea is preparing for a huge military parade.

Is Russia worried about North Korea? Kim Jong Un would consider ‘war’ if U.N. cut his oil, ambassador says
Russia’s ambassador to North Korea has warned that a United Nations attempt to cut all oil supplies to the nation could spark a global conflict.

North and South Korea Made Peace for the Olympics. But It Won’t Last
It’s also doubtful that the gesture will lead to a permanent thaw; Kim has repeatedly said his nuclear arsenal is not up for negotiation.

How might Trump’s speech play in North Korea, China?
CBS News1/31/18
In his first State of the Union address, Trump warned that North Korea would “very soon” threaten the United States with nuclear-tipped missiles.

U.S. ‘confident’ of safe Olympics despite N.K. tensions
Yonhap News Agency2/1/18
The United States is confident that South Korea will host a safe Winter Olympics despite tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the State Department said Wednesday.


Russia rejects U.S. evidence of Iran’s “lawless behavior”
CBS News2/1/18
Russia is pushing back against U.S. efforts to get the U.N. Security Council to take action against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and its support of terror groups.


4 China-hosted nuclear activity monitoring stations certified by CTBTO
Four China-hosted nuclear activity monitoring stations were presented with certificates by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Tuesday in Guangzhou, south China.


U.S. Test of Missile Interceptor Fails Off Hawaiian Coast, Officials Say
New York Times1/31/18
An American interceptor missile missed its target in a test off the Hawaiian coast on Wednesday, Defense Department officials said, renewing concerns of how the United States will defend itself in the event of a missile attack by North Korea or another adversary.

US Army is looking at artillery guns to fire ‘hyper velocity’ shells to down ballistic missiles
International Business Times2/1/18
The Pentagon has reportedly turned to a project to build what is called a Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP) that can be fired from existing field artillery guns to take down ballistic missiles. These projectiles will be fired from heavy howitzers and the Navy’s deck guns at incoming ballistic missiles.

Experts alarmed by apparent signs of Pentagon seeking more nukes
Experts who have seen the draft warn that beefing up nuclear weapons would send a wrong message to the international community and almost certainly increase the chance of a nuclear war.

North Korea threats spur U.S. search for new radiation therapies
The escalating threat of a potential nuclear war between North Korea and the United States has led the Department of Defense to join hands with a clutch of companies in developing more effective medical treatments for acute radiation syndrome.


The Cataclysm That Would Follow a ‘Bloody Nose’ Strike in North Korea
The AtlanticMira Rapp-Hooper
History and strategy indicate that McMaster’s least bad option would be an invitation to disaster.

The big North Korea news last night was not from the State of the Union speech
Washington PostDaniel Drezner
I spoke with Cha earlier this month and knew that he was decidedly uneasy with the rhetoric coming from the administration on North Korea. That he felt the need to write such an op-ed is way more important — and ominous — than anything in Trump’s State of the Union speech.

In confronting North Korea, Trump risks disaster
Washington PostIshaan Tharoor
President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday was heavy on misleading claims and nationalist vitriol, yet rather light on foreign-policy chat. What Trump did discuss about global affairs, though, has already raised alarms.

A ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea is not happening anytime soon
Washington PostJosh Rogin
The American media and South Korean media are seized today with new speculation that the Trump administration is intent on moving forward with a “bloody nose” limited military strike on North Korea — a horrendously risky move that could spark a nuclear confrontation. But everybody should take a deep breath; President Trump isn’t about to push the “bloody nose” button.

What the Iran Nuclear Deal Tells Us About Making Foreign Policy Today
The Washington DiplomatDennis Jett
The debate over the agreement revealed not just a sharp difference of opinion, but also how difficult making foreign policy is today.

Here’s what might happen if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon
Business Insider1/31/18
What would happen if North Korea actually decided to follow through on its threat and launch a nuke? We spoke with a few experts on North Korea and missile defense to get a detailed look at the early stages of a nuclear war with the hermit kingdom.

Why a North Korea Hawk Couldn’t Find a Home in the Trump Administration
The AtlanticUri Friedman
Just hours before Donald Trump pledged in his State of the Union address to counter the nuclear threat from North Korea with “maximum pressure” and “American resolve,” the man who was once poised to be the U.S. envoy to South Korea issued a dire warning about what might be behind the president’s words.

Is Trump seriously considering a military strike against North Korea?
Vanity FairAbigail Tracy
After criticizing a plan for a “bloody-nose” strike, the White House pick for the South Korean ambassadorship was shown the door.

The Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan
Foreign AffairsCatherine Collins and Douglas Frantz
Outside of Pakistan, Khan has largely been forgotten, despite the fact that his fingerprints are all over the world’s most volatile nuclear hot spots.

Donald Trump Is Playing a Dangerous Game of Nuclear Poker
TimeW.J. Hennigan
At a vast tract of uninhabited desert in southern Nevada, hundreds of moonlike craters dimple the wasteland, remnants of Cold War nuclear explosions that melted the bedrock and fused the sand to ensure that America could take part in the unthinkable: global thermonuclear war.

How North Korea Built a Nuclear Arsenal on the Ashes of the Soviet Union
TimeSimon Shuster
Starting in the early 1990s, the North Korean military methodically sought to assemble its weapons program from the ruins of the Soviet missile industry. The regime’s first team of foreign missile experts was recruited inside Russia, and recruitment efforts have continued in the decades since.

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