Nuclear Policy News – March 19, 2018

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North Korea-Sweden Talks Focus on ‘Peaceful Solution’ to Nuclear Conflict
New York Times

Spies, Not Diplomats, Take Lead Role in Planning Trump’s North Korea Meeting
New York Times

EU Explores Fresh Steps to Save Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia’s heir to the throne talks to 60 Minutes
CBS News


Will North Korea give up nuclear weapons? Kim Jong Un ‘gave his word,’ says South Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s commitment to giving up his country’s nuclear weapons is unprecedented, according to South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha.

North Korea-Sweden Talks Focus on ‘Peaceful Solution’ to Nuclear Conflict
New York Times3/17/18
The Swedish and North Korean foreign ministers concluded three days of talks in Stockholm on Saturday over the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, discussions that may help facilitate a meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.

U.S. and South Korean Presidents Discuss North Korea Nuclear Talks
Wall Street Journal3/17/18
Trump and Moon talk on phone hours after U.S. leader suggests he could withdraw troops stationed in South

German BND spy agency: North Korean rockets can hit Europe
North Korean rockets tipped with a nuclear warhead now have the capacity to strike Germany and central Europe, a top official with the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) told lawmakers last week, German media reported on Sunday.

Wine and Diamonds: How North Korea Dodges Sanctions
New York Times3/16/18
The United Nations detailed on Friday how North Korea gets around international sanctions designed to hobble the government and its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea’s Most Powerful Missile Now Has Its Own Shrine
New York Times3/17/18
The sleuths suspected that the satellite images showed the launching site of North Korea’s most powerful missile, but they were baffled by a mysterious bustle of construction there.

China names former missile force commander defense minister
ABC News3/19/18
China on Monday appointed a former missile force commander as its new defense minister amid lingering concerns over the goals of its rapid military modernization.

Spies, Not Diplomats, Take Lead Role in Planning Trump’s North Korea Meeting
New York Times3/16/18
The Central Intelligence Agency has emerged as the primary player in President Trump’s audacious diplomatic opening to North Korea, several officials said on Friday, conducting back-channel communications and taking a major role in planning Mr. Trump’s coming meeting with Kim Jong-un, the country’s ruler.


Saudi Arabia’s heir to the throne talks to 60 Minutes
CBS News3/18/18
In his first interview with an American television network, Mohammed bin Salman shared his thoughts on Iran, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, his country’s troubled past and its hopeful future

US pushes for changes to Iran deal as Trump signals tougher stance
US officials in Vienna pressed European allies for changes to the Iran deal Friday, as President Donald Trump wrapped a turbulent week at home that could have big implications for the international pact to constrain Tehran’s nuclear program.

Corker prediction: Trump will pull out of Iran nuclear deal in May
Washington Post3/19/18
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is predicting that President Trump will not extend the United States’ participation in the Iran nuclear pact past May — a development likely to please the deal’s critics but throw into turmoil the international effort to keep Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in check.


EU Explores Fresh Steps to Save Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal3/16/18
European foreign ministers, anxious to salvage the nuclear deal with Iran, on Monday plan to sketch out new measures to increase pressure on the country over its ballistic missile program and regional actions, European Union officials said.


Interview: Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chair Deb Fischer on Russia, space wars, and the state of the nuclear arsenal
Defense News3/19/18
Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer, as chair of the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, oversees a national security portfolio that has commanded plenty of headlines in recent months: America’s nuclear arsenal, ballistic missile defense, national security space programs, and the Department of Energy’s national security programs.


Will Trump convince Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons?
Washington Post3/17/18
When President Trump announced his plan to sit down for an in-person talk with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, there was one person who was particularly surprised by the move: Christopher R. Hill, a former U.S. diplomat who led negotiations with North Korea in the mid-2000s.

Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns
The HillRebecca Kheel
Nuclear nonproliferation advocates are sounding the alarm about a potential nuclear energy deal between Saudi Arabia and the United States, saying the exceptions the kingdom is seeking could lead to nuclear proliferation in a volatile region.

Mike Pompeo has a crisis to handle — even before the North Korea summit
Washington PostFareed Zakaria
Pompeo’s most immediate challenge will not be rebuilding the department and restoring morale; it will be dealing with an acute foreign policy crisis that is largely of the president’s own making — the Iran nuclear deal.

The Dirty Secret of American Nuclear Arms in Korea
New York TimesWalter Pincus
Skeptics should remember that it was the United States, in 1958, that broke the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement, when the Eisenhower administration sent the first atomic weapons into South Korea.

Unrealistic expectations will doom the North Korea summit
Washington PostNathan Gardels
At first, President Donald Trump’s bold leap into a summit and negotiations with Kim Jong Un seemed the best opportunity for deescalating nuclear confrontation with North Korea. Why not give peace a chance? Nothing else has worked so far.

Build Missile Defense Space Sensors Now
Breaking DefenseRebeccah Heinrichs
Faced with an improving Russian threat, the United States should deploy a serious space sensor layer to provide persistent birth-to-death tracking of missiles, including against the kind that rip through the air at low altitudes 20 times the speed of sound (hypersonics).

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