Nuclear Policy News – January 30, 2018

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North Korea Cancels Pre-Olympic Event, Blaming South Korean Media
New York Times

Chinese Military Paper Urges Increase in Nuclear Deterrence Capabilities
U.S. News

Haley suggests action on Iran missiles could save nuke deal
ABC News

Trump Nuclear Plan Requires Big Fixes In Decaying Warhead Industrial Complex


North Korea Cancels Pre-Olympic Event, Blaming South Korean Media
New York Times1/29/18
North Korea on Monday canceled a joint cultural event it had planned to hold with South Korea early next month, blaming “insulting” South Korean news media coverage of its participation in the Winter Olympics, South Korean officials said.

South Korea’s Chilly Response to a Joint Olympic Team
The Atlantic1/29/18
Pageantry and fraternal goodwill aside, the International Olympics Committee’s decision to allow the North to participate hasn’t been met with the universal acclaim one might expect.

China needs more nuclear warheads to deter US threat, military says
South China Morning Post1/30/18
Commentary says the existing stockpile is big enough to prevent ‘bullying’ but should be expanded as Washington changes strategy

Mattis has a crucial task — stopping Trump from going to war with North Korea
Defense Secretary James Mattis begins his second year in the Trump Administration with perhaps just one absolutely crucial task — stopping President Donald Trump from going to war against North Korea.

South Korea defense chief: North’s nuclear strike rhetoric just ‘propaganda‘
Defense News1/29/18
South Korea‘s defense minister says she has doubts North Korea will use a nuclear weapon against South Korea or the United States.

North Korea says Trump’s ‘America First’ will end U.S. ‘Empire of Evils’
North Korea has disparaged President Donald Trump’s trademark “America First” stance, predicting that it would ultimately bring down the U.S. and its global sphere of influence.

N. Korea ‘spooked’ by Trump’s threats of military strike: ex-CIA official
Yonhap News Agency1/30/18
North Korea appears to have reached out to South Korea after being “spooked” by U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of a military strike, a former CIA official said Monday.

Kim Jong Nam reportedly met with a US agent in Malaysia and it could be part of a plot to overthrow Kim Jong Un
Business Insider1/29/18
Days before he was killed by a toxic nerve agent, Kim Jong Nam, the brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, met with a US intelligence official on a Malaysian island, a police official told courts on Monday.

North Korea is scaling back its annual winter military exercises
North Korea’s apparent decision to downsize its annual winter military exercises is seen partly as a public relations “ploy” by the nuclear-armed dictatorship given the approaching Olympic Games in South Korea.

North Korea increasing executions as sanctions strain its military, top U.S. general says
North Korea is increasing executions, the top commander of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula said Monday, as the state has been decreasing military exercises under strain from economic sanctions.

Top U.S. Air Force officials vow ‘extended deterrence’ for S. Korea
Yonhap News Agency1/30/18
U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson assured South Korea on Tuesday of an extended deterrence commitment, during a meeting with a top defense official here.

China academics given free hand to debate North Korea aggression
Financial Times1/30/18
Over the past several months, policy journals have run articles questioning the official line, while scholars at top universities have been unafraid to publish previously heretical views — in western journals, no less.

Chinese Military Paper Urges Increase in Nuclear Deterrence Capabilities
U.S. News1/30/18
China must strengthen its nuclear deterrence and counter-strike capabilities to keep pace with the developing nuclear strategies of the United States and Russia, the official paper of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Tuesday.


Haley suggests action on Iran missiles could save nuke deal
ABC News1/29/18
The United States is encouraging other U.N. Security Council countries to set aside the nuclear deal loathed by President Donald Trump and focus on cracking down on Iran’s missile and other non-nuclear transgressions, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday.


State Dept. to Russia: ‘No more time for excuses’ on North Korea
The State Department warned Russia Monday that “there is no more time for excuses” after it reportedly failed to enforce sanctions restricting exports from North Korea.


Hawaii Completes Mistaken Missile Alert Investigation
US News1/29/18
Hawaii officials will be releasing a report from an internal investigation into an alert that mistakenly warned of a ballistic missile.

Trump Nuclear Plan Requires Big Fixes In Decaying Warhead Industrial Complex
The Trump administration’s proposed nuclear posture calls for replacing virtually all of the Cold War strategic systems in the nation’s arsenal.


Trump Misses the Good Parts of the Iran Deal
Wall Street Journal1/29/18
The accord has prevented Iran from having a nuclear weapon which it could have developed within a year or two of signing the accord.

When Australian nuclear weapons could make sense
The StrategistStephan Fruehling
The debate initiated by three former Australian deputy secretaries of defence—Hugh White, Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith—about the possibility of Australia acquiring nuclear weapons is certainly being noticed by many Americans. ‘Is this serious?’ is a common question from security analysts here in Washington DC.

The Trouble With Kissinger’s North Korea Advice
The DiplomatJoseph Bosco
Kissinger is moving the goal posts on where the final red line is on North Korean behavior.

Arms race in Asia is cause for concern
South Chines Morning Post1/30/18
It’s not only North Korea that is expanding its weapons programme; the scene is playing out across the continent, making it even more imperative that nations establish reliable mechanisms for dialogue to avoid accidental conflict


A microscopic fungus could mop up our Cold War-era nuclear waste
Popular Science1/29/18
It turns out our best bet for containing radioactive waste might be to stick yeast on it.

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