Nuclear Policy News – July 30, 2018

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Top News

Iran currency extends record fall as U.S. sanctions loom

Touring North Korean Farms and Factories, Kim Jong Un Signals a Shift
The Wall Street Journal

Jim Mattis dismisses report that US is preparing to strike Iran as ‘fiction’
The Washington Examiner


East Asia

Japan’s deployment U.S.-developed Aegis Ashore missile defense system could take six years
The Japan Times7/30/18
Completing the deployment of one of two new U.S.-developed land-based missile defense batteries to protect against North Korean attacks is expected to take about six years, officials said Monday. The schedule, as suggested by the U.S. side, for installing an Aegis Ashore missile battery would take one year longer than Japan is planning, and the Defense Ministry is expected to call on Washington to cooperate on a speedier deployment.

Majority of A-bomb survivors want Japan to sign U.N. nuke ban treaty
The Japan Times7/28/18
Most hibakusha surveyed think Japan should join the U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, underscoring their discontent with the government’s opposition to the agreement. The results of the survey by Kyodo News, released Saturday ahead of the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombings next month, also showed that more than 60 percent of the survivors do not discuss their experiences due to old age or reluctance to remember the details of the aftermath.

Touring North Korean Farms and Factories, Kim Jong Un Signals a Shift
The Wall Street Journal7/29/18
When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang this month to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program, leader Kim Jong Un was out of town—visiting a potato farm and factory in the country’s impoverished north, according to state media. Mr. Kim, having declared his nuclear program complete and claimed his place on the world stage next to the U.S. president at a Singapore summit, has begun to lavish attention on the livelihood of his people.

Middle East

Iran currency extends record fall as U.S. sanctions loom
Iran’s currency hit a new record low on Sunday, dropping past 100,000 rials to the U.S. dollar as Iranians brace for Aug. 7 when Washington is due to reimpose a first lot of economic sanctions.

Renault Likely to Pull Out of Iran Because of U.S. Sanctions
Renault SA is shaping up to be the latest European company to fall victim to Donald Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran — even if it doesn’t sell cars in the U.S. Iran operations are likely to be put on hold to comply with U.S. sanctions, Renault Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore told analysts during a conference call about earnings Friday.

South Asia

Like Washington and Moscow, Delhi too to get missile shield
The Times of India7/29/18
Bit by bit, India is working towards making its national Capital more impregnable against military or 9/11-like terror attacks from aircraft, missiles and drones. Sources say the defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has approved the “acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the acquisition of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) worth around $1 billion from the US.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Jim Mattis dismisses report that US is preparing to strike Iran as ‘fiction’
The Washington Examiner7/27/18
“I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information,” Mattis told reporters Friday. “I am confident it’s something that’s not being considered right now.” “It’s fiction,” Mattis added.

Opinion and Analysis

South Africa Leader Who Gave Up Nukes Says North Korea Is a Different Story
Voice of America7/27/18
Kim Young-nam spoke to former South African President F.W. de Klerk on Friday about the denuclearization process for North Korea and how it might compare to that of South Africa. As president of South Africa, de Klerk ordered the end of the country’s nuclear weapons program and oversaw its nuclear disarmament process.

Reducing North Korea’s nuclear threat
The Washington TimesMike Turner
On June 12, 2018, President Trump and Kim Jong-un held a summit in Singapore to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program and the potential for denuclearization. During the summit, Mr. Trump committed to provide “security guarantees” to North Korea in exchange for Mr. Kim pledging his unwavering commitment to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” While this summit may prove to be a first step toward reducing the nuclear threat, the White House and Congress must work together with the international community to create a plan for permanent denuclearization and sufficient verification mechanisms.

Don’t Compromise Objectives with North Korea
The Cipher BriefJoseph DeTrani
To date, we haven’t succeeded in convincing the leadership in Pyongyang that normal relations with the U.S. will only be possible if North Korea dismantles its nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities and returns to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state. Current ongoing negotiations with North Korea are focused on this objective, but if recent history is any indication, the U.S. will either lose patience and walk away from negotiations or it will succumb and openly or tacitly accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. Both outcomes would be unfortunate.

The U.S. And North Korea Have Made Progress. Here’s How They Can Keep It Up
NPRJoel Wit
While the press has been full of stories about frustration with North Korea’s lack of rapid follow-through on its denuclearization pledge at the Singapore summit, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are right in saying that the United States needs to give that process time.

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