Nuclear Policy News – January 19, 2018

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Six Chinese Ships Covertly Aided North Korea. The U.S. Was Watching.
Wall Street Journal

UN chief: Threat from nukes, other weapons, gathers force
Washington Post

How Should We Write About Nuclear Weapons?
The Diplomat

Korea to push for regular high-level talks with N.K.
Yonhap News Agency


Six Chinese Ships Covertly Aided North Korea. The U.S. Was Watching.
Wall Street Journal 1/19/18
Satellite photographs and other intelligence gathered by U.S. officials provide what they say is detailed evidence of at least six Chinese-owned or -operated cargo ships violating United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

Trump Rebuked China for North Korea’s Oil Smuggling. It’s More Complicated.
New York Times 1/18/18
With those sanctions constricting its trade, including the import of refined petroleum, North Korea has increasingly turned to illegal clandestine shipments to acquire the fuel it needs, according to diplomatic officials and documents obtained by The New York Times.

US Special Representative on North Korea Policy: “We have a standing offer for dialogue”
The Hankyoreh 1/19/18
Joseph Yun says that the US is willing to talk if North Korea announces a halt to missile, nuclear testing

Korea to push for regular high-level talks with N.K.
Yonhap News Agency 1/19/18
South Korea’s unification ministry said Friday that it will push to regularize high-level talks with North Korea and provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable people there, as it makes inter-Korean reconciliation a policy priority for this year.


Companies Stuck Amid Trump Ultimatum on Iran
Wall Street Journal 1/16/18
Companies wondering what to do about business in Iran are stuck trying to interpret language from the Trump administration indicating that waivers from sanctions, while continuing for now, won’t be renewed again.


The Latest: Kazakhstan to NKorea: Abandon nuclear ambitions
Washington Post 1/18/18
Kazakhstan’s president is calling on North Korea to follow his country’s path and give up its nuclear ambitions.


Russia Refuses to Join Deal Banning Nuclear Weapons
Moscow Times 1/19/18
Russia will not join the world’s first nuclear disarmament deal, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.


Pentagon considers changing nuclear retaliation rules
CNN 1/18/18
The Pentagon is considering recommending a change in policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons that could potentially open the door to a US nuclear response to a massive cyberattack, according to a defense official familiar with a draft of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review who cautions it is not final.


Trump’s Year of Living Dangerously with North Korea
Vice Mike Pearl
Every step North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has taken into the nuclear big leagues has been met by a provocation from Trump.

Really? We’re Gonna Nuke Russia for a Cyberattack?
Politico George Perkovich
In plain English, the Trump team seems to be threatening to nuke anyone who conducts a massively disruptive cyberattack on the power grid or water system of the U.S. or one of its friends. For three reasons, the Trump administration would be wise to reconsider and more carefully calibrate the circumstances under which it would initiate nuclear war.

 What if H.R. McMaster Is Right About North Korea?
The Atlantic James Jeffrey
In the increasingly urgent, dramatic debate about the North Korean nuclear threat, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster stands out in the Trump administration as the strongest advocate of a hawkish position. But where do H.R. McMaster’s views on North Korea really come from?

Trump Wants New Nukes. We Can’t Let Him Have Them.
Huffington Post Andy Weber
Trump’s NPR, a draft of which was leaked to HuffPost last week, will needlessly add three new nuclear weapons systems to the already formidable U.S. arsenal, pouring tens of billions of dollars into a new American arms race and making nuclear conflict more likely.

Commentary: Killing the Iran nuclear deal will be bad for the U.S.
Reuters Seyed Hossein Mousavian
The reality is that the JCPOA’s text stipulates the highest standards on nuclear transparency and inspections ever negotiated and provides verifiable assurances that Iran’s nuclear program cannot be diverted towards developing nuclear weapons.

The bomb for Australia? (Part 1)
The StrategistRamesh Thakur
In this three-part series, I examine the counter-arguments that proponents of Australia obtaining nuclear weapons need to address before the nation contemplates such a move.

How Should We Write About Nuclear Weapons?
The DiplomatFranz-Stefan Gady
How should one combine the human with the abstract when writing about nuclear weapons?

As Russia looms, modernizing US nuclear arsenal is non-negotiable
The Hill Peter Huessy
It is the Russians who see nuclear weapons as “useable.” Understanding this reality will focus attention back where it belongs — the need for the United States to modernize its nuclear forces to better deter our adversaries and keep the peace, precisely because it is our enemies that routinely threaten the use of nuclear weapons against us, not the other way around.


UN chief: Threat from nukes, other weapons, gathers force
Washington Post1/18/18
“Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War,” Guterres said. “I remain deeply concerned over the growing risk of military confrontation and the unimaginable consequences that would result.”

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