TOP NEWS Any U.S. talks with North Korea would press denuclearization demand: Pence Reuters North Korean ship spotted likely violating sanctions a third time CNN PACOM Harris: U.S. Needs to Develop Hypersonic Weapons, Criticizes ‘Self-Limiting’ Missile Treaties USNI News EAST ASIA Japan’s Abe, Trump agree to keep up pressure on North Korea CNBC2/14/18 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to keep up pressure on North Korea until Pyongyang abandons its nuclear and missile programmes, Japan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. U.S. commander: N.K. seeks reunification under communist system Yonhap News Agency2/15/18 A top U.S. military commander said Wednesday he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is intent on reunifying the Korean Peninsula under a single, communist system. Any U.S. talks with North Korea would press denuclearization demand: Pence Reuters2/14/18 The United States is open to talks with North Korea, but only to convey the U.S. stance that “the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet” must give up its nuclear weapons, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday. This American scientist has seen North Korea’s nuclear program up close PBS2/14/18 How advanced is North Korea’s nuclear weapons program? Just ask the few Western experts who have seen glimpses of the program and its evolution, like nuclear scientist Sig Hecker, who has visited seven times and given eye-opening access to their facilities. US Vice President Mike Pence says he ignored Kim Jong Un’s sister CNN2/15/18 US Vice President Mike Pence said he actively chose to ignore North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister at the Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. Japan’s worries about North Korea’s ‘charm offensive’ BBC2/14/18 North and South Korea may still officially be at war, they may have thousands of artillery and missiles pointing at each other across the DMZ. But one thing can unite them like nothing else, a collective desire to beat Japan. North Korean ship spotted likely violating sanctions a third time CNN2/14/18 A North Korean tanker has likely violated United Nations sanctions for the third time in recent months, according to authorities in Japan. MIDDLE EAST France says Iran’s missile program must be put ‘under surveillance’ Reuters2/14/18 Iran’s ballistic missile program must be placed under international surveillance, French President Emmanuel Macron said, in an bid to get tougher on Tehran while preserving the nuclear deal that Donald Trump has threatened to scrap. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY PACOM Harris: U.S. Needs to Develop Hypersonic Weapons, Criticizes ‘Self-Limiting’ Missile Treaties USNI News2/14/18 The head of the U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday that the United States is hampered in keeping pace with China’s ground-based missiles thanks to treaties it has signed to limit its stockpiles. Federal budget proposal commits funds for plutonium pit program Los Alamos Monitor2/14/18 President Donald Trump’s budget requests $30.6 billion for the Department of Energy, with $26 billion marked for the replacement of infrastructure and to modernize the Department of Energy’s nuclear enterprise. OPINION AND ANALYSIS Is Japan About to Hit Its Nuclear Tipping Point? Daily BeastJake Adelstein 2/15/18 While much of the rest of the world was entranced by North Korean cheerleaders and Kim Jong Un’s baby sister, Japan was quietly considering if and when to build its own nuclear missiles to discourage North Korea from so much as contemplating a missile strike. Kim Jong Un gives Donald Trump a lesson in diplomacy Financial TimesPhilip Stephens 2/15/18 Strip out the noise, and the North Korean leader has outsmarted his opponent at every turn. Must we mean what we say? Making sense of the Nuclear Posture Review War on the RocksFrancis Gavin 2/15/18 The Nuclear Posture Review and critiques of the document, as well as most statements about the nature of nuclear weapons and their influence on international politics, are often based on little more than guesswork.