Nuclear Policy News – February 2, 2018

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White House Wants Pentagon to Offer More Options on North Korea
New York Times

U.S., Russia Likely to Meet Nuclear Treaty Obligations by Feb. 5: State Department
US News

Shanahan to roll out Nuclear Posture Review tomorrow
Inside Defense

Three Steps to Avert an Accidental Nuclear War


Russia supports S. Korea’s efforts to improve inter-Korean ties for peace on peninsula
Yonhap News2/1/18
Russia has voiced its support for South Korea’s ongoing efforts to improve inter-Korean relations to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.

Pentagon downplays N. Korea military parade
Yonhap News2/2/18
The Pentagon on Thursday played down the significance of North Korea’s military parade reportedly set for next week.

AP Interview: New Zealand urges North Korea ‘de-escalation’
Washington Post2/1/18
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed support Thursday for economic sanctions against North Korea while also urging a “de-escalation” on the Korean Peninsula, and said her country should maintain a close relationship with the United States even if they don’t always agree.

Generals to join US Olympic delegation to South Korea
The Hill2/1/18
The top U.S. general in South Korea and his predecessor will join Vice President Pence in the official delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the White House announced Thursday

Pentagon downplays N. Korea military parade
Yonhap News Agency2/2/18
The communist regime is thought to be preparing for a large parade next Thursday, the day before the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, to mark the anniversary of its army’s foundation.

Cha’s withdrawal raises concerns about preventive strike on N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency2/2/18
U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of his pick for ambassador to South Korea has fanned concerns that the administration is seriously considering a military strike on North Korea.

How would Trump attack North Korea? President considering ‘bloody nose’ strike, reports say
The Trump administration is mulling over whether to conduct a “bloody nose” strike against North Korea, according to multiple reports, a move that experts warn could lead to a full-blown conflict.

Protecting an Olympics Held in North Korea’s Nuclear Shadow
New York Times2/1/18
Security is a top concern at every Olympics, where athletes and fans in scattered venues can be difficult to protect. But rarely do they take place in the shadow of a nuclear standoff, as is the case with the Winter Games that open next week here in South Korea.

White House Wants Pentagon to Offer More Options on North Korea
New York Times2/1/18
The White House has grown frustrated in recent weeks by what it considers the Pentagon’s reluctance to provide President Trump with options for a military strike against North Korea, according to officials, the latest sign of a deepening split in the administration over how to confront the nuclear-armed regime of Kim Jong-un.

Sudden exit of ambassador pick has Trump facing Korean crisis without key diplomat
NBC News2/1/18
At roughly the same time President Donald Trump was laying out his administration’s North Korea policy in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, South Korean and U.S. officials in Seoul were waking up to the news that the administration’s long-awaited choice for ambassador, Victor Cha, had withdrawn himself from consideration.

Trump to meet with North Korean defectors in Oval Office in bid to raise pressure on Kim Jong Un
Washington Post2/2/18
President Trump will meet North Korean defectors in the Oval Office on Friday, a provocative action meant to highlight human rights violations and one that could raise alarms in Pyongyang.


France looks to sidestep US sanctions by offering Iran export loans
Fox News2/1/18
France is looking to sidestep U.S. sanctions by offering export credits to Iranian buyers later this year, according to the head of a state-owned investment bank, Bpifrance.


U.S., Russia Likely to Meet Nuclear Treaty Obligations by Feb. 5: State Department
US News2/1/18
The United States fulfilled its obligations under the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia in August last year and expects Moscow also will be within the limits set by the accord by the Feb. 5 deadline, the State Department said on Thursday.


Shanahan to roll out Nuclear Posture Review tomorrow
Inside Defense2/1/18
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will roll out the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review at the Pentagon tomorrow.

Sandia Labs creates new technology to aid in limitation of nuclear weapons
A new technology has been developed by Sandia National Laboratory to detect nuclear weapons.

EPA orders cleanup at St. Louis nuclear waste site. What does it mean for the nation’s other toxic messes?
Washington Post2/1/18
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered a long-awaited cleanup of a Superfund site northwest of St. Louis, saying residents living near the landfill contaminated with World War II-era nuclear waste deserve action after waiting 27 years for federal regulators to issue a decision.


Trump wants to attack North Korea? He should learn from Israel first.
Washington PostDavid Ignatius
If the Trump administration is really thinking about trying to give North Korea a “bloody nose” with a limited military attack, it should look carefully at Israel’s experience — which shows the possible benefits of a quick strike but also the difficulty of keeping a lid on a conflict once it starts.

The State of the Union and the Dangerous Turn in the United States’ North Korea Policy
CFRPatricia Kim
President Trump’s State of the Union speech signaled the White House’s dangerous and growing fixation on using maximum pressure alone to denuclearize North Korea. But the soundest way to resolve the nuclear crisis lies in the simultaneous application of both maximum pressure and diplomatic engagement.

China and Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review
Union of Concerned ScientistsGregory Kulacki
The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) repeats one of the most pervasive misconceptions about the current state of the US nuclear arsenal: that it does not compare well with the nuclear arsenals of Russia and China, which are supposedly engaged in nuclear modernization efforts the United States is neglecting.

Three Steps to Avert an Accidental Nuclear War
BloombergErnest Moniz and Sam Nunn
Human error, cyberattacks and Cold War postures are increasingly likely to set off a global disaster.

When Allies Get Nervous
The Weekly StandardThomas Karako
Today the challenge of keeping nonnuclear states from going nuclear may be growing, perhaps nowhere quite as much as in northeast Asia.

Playing With Fire and Fury on North Korea
New York Times
It’s hard not to come away from the State of the Union address without a heightened sense of foreboding about President Trump’s intentions toward North Korea. The signs increasingly point to unilateral American military action. To which we say: Don’t.

US shouldn’t assume it can ‘prevail’ by using military force against N Korea: 38 North
Asia Times2/2/18
“The fact that the US has much greater military and economic capability than North Korea does not mean that it can prevail,” Jervis wrote in a special report posted on 38 North on Wednesday.

Trump has drawn three red lines. They’re all likely to be crossed.
Washington Post2/1/18
The Trump administration has in fact, either accidentally or by design, laid out aggressive markers in three parts of the world — three red lines — without any serious strategy as to what happens when they are crossed.

The missile employee messed up because Hawaii rewards incompetence
Washington PostGene Park
“Why,” Gizmodo understandably wondered, “was the employee in a position to send a false missile alarm to a couple million people?” As we say in the islands, e komo mai (welcome) to Hawaii.


North Korea nuclear fears boost demand for survivalist gear, services
Washington Times2/1/18
U.S. companies that provide survivalist gear and services have noted an uptick in sales and interest in their goods as Americans consider their level of preparedness and government agencies encourage people to educate themselves on disaster response.

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