Nuclear Policy News – February 5, 2018

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Pentagon unveils new nuclear weapons strategy, ending Obama-era push to reduce U.S. arsenal
Washington Post

North Korea is using its Berlin embassy to acquire nuclear tech, intel chief says

Russia condemns US nuclear bomb plans

To Counter Russia, U.S. Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back in a Big Way
New York Times


UN chief welcomes Korea dialogue, but says political settlement needed
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Friday he is pleased that relations have improved between North and South Korea, but the key challenge continues to be achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

China accuses US of ‘Cold War mentality’ over nuclear policy
China has urged the US to drop its “Cold War mentality” after Washington said it planned to diversify its nuclear armoury with smaller bombs.

North Korea is using its Berlin embassy to acquire nuclear tech, intel chief says
North Korea has been acquiring technology for its nuclear weapons program through its Berlin embassy, according to Germany’s intelligence chief.

Top North Korean Official Will Visit South Korea During Olympics
New York Times2/4/18
North Korea plans to send a high-level government delegation to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics this week, South Korean officials said on Sunday.

North stole cryptocurrency from South Korea worth billions of won last year: NIS
Korea Herald2/5/18
North Korea last year stole cryptocurrency from South Korea worth billions of won, said Seoul’s top spy agency Monday, accusing the reclusive regime of trying to hack into exchanges by sending emails with customer information.

U.S. denies existence of ‘bloody nose’ strategy for N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency2/3/18
The United States denied Friday that it has considered a so-called “bloody nose” strategy to deliver a limited military strike on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Trump meets with North Korean defectors in Oval Office in bid to raise pressure on Kim Jong Un
Washington Post2/2/18
President Trump met with 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.

Will PyeongChang Olympics pave way for N.K.-U.S. talks?
Yonhap News Agency2/5/18
North Korea’s plan to send its titular head of state to the South for the upcoming Winter Olympics has drawn fresh attention to whether the sports event will set the stage for direct contact between Pyongyang and Washington.

U.S. vows ‘end of regime’ if N. Korea launches nuclear attack
Yonhap News Agency2/3/18
The United States vowed Friday to bring an end to North Korea’s regime if it launches a nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies.


Iran’s Rouhani raps new U.S. nuclear plan as threat to Russia
Iran accused the United States on Sunday of threatening Russia with new atomic weapons after Washington published a document outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities to deter others.


Russia condemns US nuclear bomb plans
Moscow has condemned US military proposals to develop new, smaller atomic bombs mainly to deter any Russian use of nuclear weapons.


Pentagon unveils new nuclear weapons strategy, ending Obama-era push to reduce U.S. arsenal
Washington Post2/2/18
The Pentagon released a new nuclear arms policy Friday that calls for the introduction of two new types of weapons, effectively ending Obama-era efforts to reduce the size and scope of the U.S. arsenal and minimize the role of nuclear weapons in defense planning.

Buried In Trump’s Nuclear Report: A Russian Doomsday Weapon
Buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device.

Boeing lands major missile defense contract as threat from N. Korea intensifies
Washington Post2/2/18
The Pentagon made a major investment in its missile defense systems last week, awarding Boeing an additional $6.5 billion contract at a time when tensions with North Korea are growing.

Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review shows greater willingness to use nukes first, say critics
A Trump administration Nuclear Posture Review released Friday shows a greater willingness to use nuclear weapons first and calls for development of new nuclear weapons and capabilities to counter rivals such as Russia and China.

To Counter Russia, U.S. Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back in a Big Way
New York Times2/4/18
A new nuclear policy issued by the Trump administration on Friday, which vows to counter a rush by the Russians to modernize their forces even while staying within the treaty limits, is touching off a new kind of nuclear arms race.

US says Russia ‘developing’ undersea nuclear-armed torpedo
The report also publicly acknowledges, for the first time, that Russia is “developing” a “new intercontinental, nuclear armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”

Pentagon mistakenly labels Taiwan as part of China in key nuclear policy document
Japan Times2/4/18
The U.S. Department of Defense temporarily removed and reposted its new Nuclear Posture Review report from its website after mistakenly labeling Taiwan as part of mainland China — the latest lapse by the Trump administration involving the sensitive issue.


Trump’s request for even more nuclear weapons is flawed overkill
Washington Post2/3/18
Modernization was essential, but there had been a failure to make hard choices or set priorities. Yet now comes the Trump administration seeking even more.

Give Trump more nuclear weapons and more ways to use them? Not a good idea
CNNTom Collina
Sixty percent of the American public already doesn’t trust President Donald Trump with nuclear weapons. That number could be about to rise.

Does Trump Want a Nuclear Arms Race Because Obama Didn’t?
Foreign PolicyJon Wolfsthal
Sadly, New START will expire in 2021 unless the presidents of both countries agree to extend the agreement for up to five years. Thus far, however, Donald Trump shown no interest in extending New START.

Command and control in the Nuclear Posture Review: right problem, wrong solution
War on the RocksJames Acton
If the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system were a fictional character, it might be 11-year-old Harry Potter living under the Dursleys’ staircase on Privet Drive — desperately underappreciated and chronically underfunded, yet absolutely critical to avoiding the worst outcome imaginable.

What Groundhog Day Teaches Us About Nuclear Deterrence
The DiplomatFranz-Stefan Gady
Rewatching the movie, however, I noticed that there is an interesting underlying theme that relates to the nature of deterrence theory when one examines Phil Connors’ (played by Bill Murray) evolving strategies to deal with his logic-defying situation and the fact he is forced to relive the same day over and over again.

The Problem With Striking North Korea
US News2/2/18
If the reason for withdrawing Cha’s nomination is true, this is extremely alarming.

Trump’s rhetoric threatens peace-making in Korean peninsula
The GuardianSimon Tisdall
Despite the painstaking efforts of Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, to use this week’s opening of the Winter Olympics to build bridges with North Korea, Donald Trump remains locked on a dangerous collision course with what he calls Kim Jong-un’s “depraved regime”.

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