Nuclear Policy News – February 26, 2018

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Trump: If North Korea sanctions don’t work, it may be ‘very unfortunate’ for the world

IAEA: Tehran Sticking to Nuclear Commitments
Financial Tribune

New Nuke Cruise Missile Could Go on Zumwalt-Class Destroyers: StratCom

As Winter Games close, North Korea says it is willing to talk to the U.S., according to Seoul
Washington Post


Trump: If North Korea sanctions don’t work, it may be ‘very unfortunate’ for the world
President Donald Trump said Friday “we’ll have to see” what the United States will do if sanctions on North Korea fail to deter its nuclear and missile programs. However, he cryptically warned of a potential “phase two,” which may prove “very, very unfortunate for the world.”

Why Trump’s new North Korea sanctions matter
Hint: It’s another sign of the White House’s emerging strategy for trying to resolve its nuclear standoff.

U.S. ‘will see’ if N.K. willingness for talks is commitment to denuclearize
Yonhap News Agency2/26/18
The United States “will see” if North Korea’s stated willingness to hold talks is a commitment to abandon its nuclear weapons program, the White House said Sunday.

White House: Talks with North Korea must lead to ending nuclear program
The White House said any talks with North Korea must lead to an end to its nuclear program after senior officials from Pyongyang visiting South Korea said on Sunday their government was open to talks with the United States.

North Korea wants to talk to the US. That’s a big deal.
After years of threatening to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons, North Korea now says it wants to chat with US leaders as way to lower tensions due to its improving nuclear weapons program.

Ivanka Trump arrives in South Korea, but Seoul says no meeting with North planned
Washington Post2/23/18
The growing divide between Seoul and Washington over how to deal with North Korea was apparent even amid the niceties of pre-dinner remarks. South Korean President Moon Jae-in talked about engagement, while Ivanka Trump reiterated the need for “maximum pressure.”

As Winter Games close, North Korea says it is willing to talk to the U.S., according to Seoul
Washington Post2/25/18
North Korea is “willing to have talks” with the United States, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Sunday, as the PyeongChang Winter Olympics closed in a burst of fireworks and diplomacy.

N. Korean media says nuke arsenal only aimed at U.S.
Yonhap News Agency2/24/18
North Korea’s state run media said Saturday that the country’s nuclear arsenal is only aimed at the United States and suggestions that it will be used to reunify the Korean Peninsula by force are a ploy to disrupt efforts to improve cross-border relations.

China exports barely any fuel to North Korea in January: customs
China exported barely any fuel to North Korea in January, data showed on Saturday, deepening months-long cuts in trade with its isolated neighbor amid growing tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.


Iran plans nuclear submarines in defiance of U.S. and Trump’s warnings
Iran has declared its intention to build nuclear submarines despite a succession of warnings from U.S. officials and President Donald Trump that a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran could be scrapped.

IAEA: Tehran Sticking to Nuclear Commitments
Financial Tribune2/24/18
Iran is sticking to the 2015 nuclear accord, a UN atomic watchdog report showed on Thursday, three months ahead of US President Donald Trump’s deadline to fix its “disastrous flaws”.


New Nuke Cruise Missile Could Go on Zumwalt-Class Destroyers: StratCom
The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes a long-term plan that could put nuclear cruise missiles aboard the new Zumwalt class (DDG 1000) of stealthy Navy destroyers, according to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.


North Korea Defies the World With Nuclear Ambitions: QuickTake
Washington Post2/23/18
North Korea isn’t your regular totalitarian dictatorship.

Getting Russia’s nuclear strategy mostly right
The HillStephen Blank
If we look at Russia’s activities it becomes clear that the strategy is much broader, namely it is a strategy to demonstrate nuclear capability ostentatiously throughout all the stage of any crisis to control the escalation processes during that crisis.

Will the U.S. Help the Saudis Get a Nuclear Weapon?
New York Times2/25/18
The last thing the Middle East needs is another country with the potential to build nuclear weapons. Yet that could happen if the United States mishandles Saudi Arabia’s plans to enter the nuclear power business and erect as many as 16 nuclear reactors for electricity generation over 25 years.

Forget sanctions. ‘Relentless diplomacy’ is the only way to end North Korea nuclear threat, says retired US Army officer
CNBCDaniel L. Davis
President Donald Trump on Friday announced, “the largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche” ever, which was “aimed at disrupting North Korean shipping and trading companies.” If Washington’s ultimate objective is deterring aggression and preventing war, this new set of sanctions will not help that outcome.

5 Myths About Trump’s North Korea Policy
Foreign PolicyPatrick M. Cronin
The Trump administration’s strategy for handling North Korea is bold and consistent under pressure. That has not stopped critics from distorting the record of America’s recent policy toward Pyongyang

An attack on North Korea would be massive — and massively stupid
Washington PostJosh Rogin
In response to worries that it is planning a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea, the Trump administration has been offering an odd reassurance. Any attack on the regime of Kim Jong Un would not be limited, officials and surrogates are saying, but enormous and overwhelming.

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