Nuclear Policy News – June 15, 2018

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Trump pick for South Korea ambassador says North Korea remains a nuclear threat

U.S. Insists Sanctions Will Remain Until North Korea Denuclearizes
New York Times

‘Why can’t we just do it?’: Trump nearly upended summit with abrupt changes
Washington Post

Documentary shows Trump saluting North Korean general
Washington Post


Trump Sees End to North Korea Nuclear Threat Despite Unclear Path
New York Times6/13/18
President Trump declared Wednesday that North Korea is “no longer a nuclear threat” to the United States even though the two sides had yet to forge a concrete disarmament plan and offered incomplete accounts of what they agreed to during this week’s summit meeting in Singapore.

Trump pick for South Korea ambassador says North Korea remains a nuclear threat
Harry Harris, the Trump administration’s nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, said North Korea continues to be a nuclear threat and that major military exercises should be paused to give Kim Jong Un a chance to prove whether he is “serious.”

U.S. Insists Sanctions Will Remain Until North Korea Denuclearizes
New York Times6/14/18
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Asian powers on Thursday that President Trump was sticking to demands that North Korea surrender its nuclear weapons, as he sought to hold together a fragile consensus on maintaining tough sanctions against the North despite Mr. Trump’s declaration that it was “no longer a nuclear threat.”

Half of Americans think the North Korea summit will help decrease the nuclear threat
Washington Post6/14/18
Just over half (51 percent) of Americans said it was likely the summit will help decrease the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, according to a Monmouth poll released Thursday.

‘Why can’t we just do it?’: Trump nearly upended summit with abrupt changes
Washington Post6/14/18
Some of the most intense drama surrounding President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came not across the negotiating table, but in the days and hours leading up to Tuesday’s historic meeting — a behind-the-scenes flurry of commotion prompted by Trump himself.

Trump’s halt of ‘war games’ could weaken defenses in Korea
President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend major U.S. military exercises in South Korea could weaken allied defenses, depending on the length and scope of the hiatus. But the potential for diplomatic damage seems even greater.

Suspending war games with South Korea a ‘mistake’: McCain
ABC News6/14/18
“Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests — and it is a bad negotiating tactic,” McCain said in a statement.

Documentary shows Trump saluting North Korean general
Washington Post6/14/18
North Korean state television aired a 42-minute documentary on Thursday that offered a different view of Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump in Singapore.

‘They’re looking forward to their day in court’: After summit, Otto Warmbier’s parents press on with lawsuit against North Korea
Washington Post6/14/18
“The summit doesn’t affect what we’re doing at all,” said Richard Cullen, the Warmbiers’ attorney on the case. “We’re moving full speed ahead. They’re looking forward to their day in court, where they can prove that Otto’s death was the result of his brutal treatment at the hands of the North Koreans.”


Work begins to boost airflow at US nuclear repository
Star Tribune6/14/18
Work started Thursday on a new ventilation system that will clear the way for more radioactive waste to be disposed of at the U.S. government’s underground nuclear repository in southern New Mexico.

Trump says North Korea is ‘no longer’ a nuclear threat. The Pentagon budget suggests otherwise.
Washington Post6/13/18
President Trump proclaimed Wednesday that there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea after his talks with Kim Jong Un, but the Defense Department is spending billions of dollars preparing to counter one.


North and South Korea: Is the balance changing too rapidly?
Washington PostTetsuo Kotani
Trump regards the Singapore summit as the beginning of a process. But the process is not merely about Korea — it’s about the entire geostrategic landscape in Asia.

Concession…or Common Sense? Trading Drills for Dialogue
Defense OneJames Siebens and Mackenzie Mandile
Except for taking Seoul by surprise, Trump’s decision to halt US-ROK exercises has plenty of precedent.

Will Trump’s Halt To US-South Korean Exercises Work? Remember The Vietnam Bombing Halt
Breaking DefenseMark Cancian
President Trump announced that the United States would stop flying bombers over South Korea and suspend exercises there to facilitate diplomatic negotiations with North Korea. This echoes President Johnson’s March 1968 decision to halt the bombing of most of North Vietnam, also done to encourage negotiations.

Democrats sound like Republicans: Fed up with appeasement
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
It took a few days, but by Wednesday Democrats were sounding properly incensed about President Trump’s cringe-worthy performance in Singapore and his preposterous declaration that we no longer face a threat from North Korea.

About That Movie Trailer Donald Trump Gave Kim Jong Un
The AtlanticUri Friedman
“A Story of Opportunity for North Korea,” the four-minute movie trailer that Donald Trump showed Kim Jong Un when the two leaders met this week in Singapore, is a prime example of the new, quintessentially Trumpian ideas that the president is implementing to try and finally resolve the old challenge of denuclearizing North Korea.

Trump’s Iran Policy: From the Art of the Deal to the Mirage of Regime Change
Atlantic CouncilManochehr Dorraj and Mahmood Mon Shipouri
What is the motivation behind the unilateral abrogation of the nuclear deal and this list of impossible demands?

Toward deterrence: the upside of the Trump-Kim summit
War on the RocksMark Bell and Julia Macdonald
Accelerating the de facto acceptance of North Korea as a member of the nuclear club may be the summit’s most positive, if unintended, effect.

This Is What Trump Needs to Do to Make North Korea Get Rid of Their Nukes
TimeKelsey Davenport
The handshake between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will go down in history. But it’s not yet clear if the summit will produce an equally historic outcome on denuclearization.

The Message From Singapore: If You Want America’s Respect, Get Yourself Some Nukes
SlateJoshua Keating
The message to these two-bit dictators is pretty clear: If you want the U.S. to take you seriously and treat you with respect, get your hands on some nuclear weapons as quickly as possible.

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