Nuclear Policy News – January 18, 2019

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Top News

Second Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting on agenda as North Korea envoy visits
USA Today

Missile Defense Review Calls for Protecting US From Cruise Missiles
Defense One

Dems express alarm at Trump missile defense plans
The Hill


East Asia

Second Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting on agenda as North Korea envoy visits
USA Today1/18/19
Details of a second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are on the agenda Friday as a top North Korean envoy meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the nation’s capital. Kim Yong Chol, a high-level official in North Korea’s Communist government, is scheduled to meet with Pompeo, at 11 a.m., the State Department confirmed Friday. He is reportedly carrying a letter from Kim for Trump.

Talks between US, NKorea take place in Sweden
Associated Press1/18/19
A senior North Korean diplomat has arrived in Sweden to take part an unannounced high-level meeting in Stockholm, officials said Friday. Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Vilhelm Rundquist said Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui has landed in Sweden “to take part in talks in a minor format where international experts take part.”

North Korea Obscures Leaders’ Visits to Missile Development Sites, Report Says
New York Times1/17/19
Over the years, outside analysts have closely followed visits by North Korean leaders to factories, farms and military units to discern the regime’s policy priorities. The sleuthing is challenging: The North Korean state news media often withhold the locations of these sites and their purposes, identifying them only by the names of their managers. Now, two analysts based in the United States have located six such factories believed to be linked to North Korea’s missile program, visits to which by the country’s leaders were deliberately obscured by the state news media to thwart Washington’s intelligence-gathering or cyberattacks.

What Does Kim Jong Un Want? Trump’s Next Summit Could Be Costly
A top North Korean official’s visit to Washington is the strongest sign yet that President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are on the verge of announcing a second summit. This time, Kim’s likely to raise his price. In speeches, state media commentaries and meetings with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, the once-reclusive North Korean leader has laid out a remarkably transparent list of demands to break the deadlock in nuclear talks.


Japan Intercepts 2 Russian Nuclear-Capable Fighter-Bombers
The Diplomat1/17/19
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled fighter jets to intercept two Sukhoi Su-24 nuclear-capable strike attack aircraft over international waters in the Sea of Japan on January 16, according to the Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD). The Russian aircraft reportedly did not enter Japanese airspace.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Missile Defense Review Calls for Protecting US From Cruise Missiles
Defense One1/17/19
The Pentagon is planning to create a missile shield to protect the U.S. from low-flying Russian and Chinese cruise missiles using a mix of interceptors, fighter jets, satellites and radars, the Trump administration announced Thursday. The plan — laid out in the administration’s long-anticipated Missile Defense Review — stops short of calling for the deployment of hypersonic interceptors and space-based lasers, controversial weapons that reportedly been under consideration. Instead, the review calls for spending more to develop technologies that could be used in these types of weapons.

Dems express alarm at Trump missile defense plans
The Hill1/17/19
The top Democrats from the House and Senate Armed Services committees on Thursday indicated they were alarmed by the Trump administration’s new missile defense plans, and urged the president to avoid policies that could spur another Cold War and waste critical resources. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House panel, called on the administration to “avoid missile defense policies that will fuel a nuclear arms race,” following President Trump’s unveiling of the Missile Defense Review.

Pentagon considers an ICBM-killing weapon for the F-35, but is it affordable?
Defense News1/17/19
Over the next six months, the Defense Department will weigh whether to develop a new weapon for the F-35 fighter jet that will enable it to strike down an intercontinental ballistic missile in the early stages of flight. And it’s the Pentagon’s lead official for developmental technologies who is bullish on the prospect, telling reporters Jan. 17 that a new weapon could be both operationally effective and low cost.

The Missile Defense Review is out. Will Congress fund it?
Defense News1/17/19
The Missile Defense Review, formally unveiled Jan. 17 at the Pentagon by President Donald Trump, calls for major investments from both new technologies and existing systems. “I will accept nothing less for our nation than the most effective, cutting-edge missile defense systems,” Trump said. “We have the best anywhere in the world. It’s not even close.”

Opinion and Analysis

Russia’s Conventional Weapons Are Deadlier Than Its Nukes
Foreign PolicyRowan Allport
Ultimately, Moscow’s existing nuclear systems are more than adequate for its needs. Instead, enhanced conventional capabilities would offer the greatest potential reward— and the biggest threat to the West. For this reason, the United States should think carefully before terminating the INF Treaty and falling into a potential Kremlin trap.

Do Iran’s New Space Launchers Violate International Law?
LawfareHilary Hurd
Whether the U.S. can convince Europe that it needs a second deal related specifically to missiles is hard to predict. In the meantime, Iran will continue to develop its space-launch vehicle program and, U.S. rhetoric notwithstanding, it has no obligation under Security Council Resolution 2231 to stop.

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