Nuclear Policy News – July 26, 2018

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North Korea making bomb fuel despite denuclearization pledge: Pompeo

Iran’s Top Banker Is Dismissed in Shake-Up as U.S. Sanctions Take a Toll
The New York Times

US Intelligence: North Korean Engine Dismantlement at Sohae Reversible ‘Within Months’
The Diplomat

East Asia

North Korea making bomb fuel despite denuclearization pledge: Pompeo
North Korea is continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs in spite of its pledge to denuclearize, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, even as he argued that the Trump administration was making progress in talks with Pyongyang.

North Korea’s Ruling Party Informs Officials Kim Regime Will Not Give Up Nukes
Radio Free Asia7/25/18
The Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party has decreed that North Korea will not relinquish its nuclear arsenal, which it termed a “precious legacy” of the country’s late leaders, according to local sources, despite an earlier pledge by party chairman Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

When to End the War? North Korea, U.S. at Odds Over Path to Peace
U.S. News and World Report7/26/18
Washington’s reluctance to declare an end to the Korean War until after North Korea abandons its nuclear arsenal may put it at odds not only with Pyongyang, but also with allies in South Korea

Middle East

Senior Iran military chief tells Trump: ‘We’re ready to stand up against you’
The Guardian7/26/18
The senior Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani has hit back at Donald Trump’s tweeted threats against Tehran in colourful language, likening him to a gambler and a cabaret owner, and saying Iran would be the one to “end” any war between their two countries.

Iran’s Top Banker Is Dismissed in Shake-Up as U.S. Sanctions Take a Toll
The New York Times7/25/18
Iran’s central banker was fired on Wednesday in the first senior shake-up since the United States abandoned the nuclear agreement nearly three months ago and restored sanctions, moves that worsened an already weak Iranian economy.

South Asia

India has taken note of US sanctions on Iran: Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
The New Indian Express7/25/18
India has taken note of US reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, the nation’s second-biggest supplier of crude oil, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today. The Trump administration is piling pressure on India, China, and other buyers to end all imports of Iranian oil by a November 4 deadline.

Pakistan election: Imran Khan claims victory amid rigging claims
BBC News7/26/18
Former cricketer Imran Khan has claimed victory in Pakistan’s election, amid accusations of vote rigging by rivals. Mr. Khan, the charismatic aristocrat who captained Pakistan to a World Cup victory in 1992, has long shed his celebrity playboy image and has recently faced accusations that his election challenge was benefiting from military interference in the nuclear-armed republic.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

US Intelligence: North Korean Engine Dismantlement at Sohae Reversible ‘Within Months’
The Diplomat7/25/18
North Korea’s dismantlement of a missile engine test stand has begun, but is easily reversible, U.S. intelligence finds.

Opinion and Analysis

Would Trump Use the Bomb?
The National InterestLouis René Beres
U.S. President Donald J. Trump, in a direct consequence of his actions and temperament, could plausibly make irrational choices on nuclear matters. In turn, these critical strategic choices could result in (1) a “limited spasm” nuclear exchange; or (2) a full-blown nuclear war.

What Will North Korea Negotiations Mean For The U.S.-China Balance Of Power?
War on the RocksFerial Saeed
To mitigate the risk of drawing the North Korea nuclear issue into U.S.-China competition, the United States should consider ways to constructively engage China in its North Korean denuclearization efforts. Separately, it should seek to build trust and confidence in the military-to-military relationship with China and use the existing framework for economic dialogue to address trade concerns, rather than resort to tariffs and other provocative actions.

Moscow and Beijing Have Tehran’s Back
Foreign PolicyDina Esfandiary and Ariane Tabatabai
Trump’s Iran policies have left the country with no choice but to turn to Russia and China. In fact, Beijing and Moscow were Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s first ports of call on his mini-diplomatic tour to ensure the nuclear agreement’s continued implementation after U.S. withdrawal, continuing a long Iranian tradition of looking to the two as a bulwark against Western unreliability.

It’s crunch time on North Korea
The HillJoseph Bosco
Before the Trump administration invests more of America’s national dignity, and its own self-respect, in a futile and counterproductive pursuit of progress with North Korea (and China), it must review what got it to the brink of apparent success just weeks ago, and what quickly moved it backward from that hopeful point. It is time to deploy the human rights weapon President Trump brandished as either a basis for, or an alternative to, military action against North Korea.

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