TOP NEWS U.S. Opens Door to North Korea Talks, a Victory for South’s President New York Times Pakistan developing new types of nuclear weapons: US Times of India US Missile Defense Agency Makes $9.9 Billion Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, Citing North Korea and Iran The Diplomat EAST ASIA North Korea blasts Trump nuclear strategy, says ‘those fond of fire are bound to perish in flames’ Newsweek2/13/18 North Korea has officially responded to President Donald Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review, warning that such a strategy could spark a devastating war at a time of relative calm on the Korean Peninsula. US shifts on holding discussions with North Korea’s Kim Strait Times2/14/18 The Trump administration, scrambling to avoid a rift with an ally, has told South Korea it is open to holding preliminary talks with North Korea, according to two senior administration officials and a spokesman for the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. U.S. Opens Door to North Korea Talks, a Victory for South’s President New York Times2/13/18 The Trump administration, scrambling to avoid a rift with an ally, has told South Korea it is open to holding preliminary talks with North Korea, according to two senior administration officials and a spokesman for the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. Japan and Norway agree to jointly work against North Korea’s nuclear program Japan Times2/14/18 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg agreed Wednesday on the need to work together in maximizing pressure on North Korea to prevent it from pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Malaysia further downgrading ties with North Korea a year after airport assassination, sources say Japan Times2/13/18 One year after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, Malaysia is further downgrading once-close ties with Pyongyang, sources familiar with the government’s plans said. China shot down another missile in space Popular Science2/13/18 On February 5, China used a long-range missile interceptor, tentatively identified as the DN-3, to destroy a target missile in space. MIDDLE EAST S. Korea zeroes in on Saudi Arabia nuclear power deal Yonhap News2/14/18 South Korea’s energy ministry said Wednesday it will make concerted efforts with the local nuclear industry and related associations to submit a winning proposal for Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power project, which is expected to select a contractor by the end of this year. SOUTH ASIA Pakistan developing new types of nuclear weapons: US Times of India2/14/18 Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical ones, that bring more risks to the region, America’s intelligence chief warned on Tuesday. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY US Missile Defense Agency Makes $9.9 Billion Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, Citing North Korea and Iran The Diplomat2/13/18 This is the largest nominal budget request from the Missile Defense Agency ever. OPINION AND ANALYSIS Seoul must stay sober amid Pyongyang’s flattery Asia TimesTed Gover 2/14/18 South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his administration must keep a level head amid the celebratory mood of the Games and the rapidly unfolding campaign of flattery coming from North Korea. Can James Mattis prevent nuclear war with North Korea? Newsweek2/14/18 Over the past year, the retired Marine Corps general has served as a reassuring presence for allies put off by Trump’s talk of isolationism, Moscow’s aggressive moves in Ukraine and Crimea and Beijing’s penchant for building runways and bases on every available strip of land in the South China Sea. Is North Korea Causing Trouble or Giving Peace a Chance? New York Times2/13/18 After its charm offensive at the Olympics, North Korea’s delegation has returned home from South Korea, leaving some questions behind. Chief among them: Can the new opening between the two Koreas, begun amid the feel-good spirit of the Winter Games, be nudged and nurtured into serious dialogue over North Korea’s nuclear program?