Nuclear Policy News – March 23, 2018

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The return of John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, sparks concerns
The Washington Post

Bolton, Trump In Sync on Iran Nuclear Deal But Hold Different Views on Russia
The Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia has options if U.S. walks from nuclear power deal: minister

Perry cites competition from Russia, China to defend nuclear talks with Saudis
The Hill


Japan Is Talking to North Korea, Report States
The National Interest3/22/18
The Japanese government has disclosed that it’s been “exchanging views” with North Korea ahead of planned summits between North Korea, the US and South Korea, according to UPI.

The return of John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, sparks concerns
The Washington Post3/23/18
President Trump’s decision to make John Bolton his new national security adviser ricocheted across the globe on Friday, unsettling allies and raising alarm that a hawk who advocates military action against North Korea and Iran will have the president’s ear.

Bolton Brings Hawkish Perspective To North Korea, Iran Strategy
President Trump has chosen John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, to be his next national security adviser.

U.S. Military Will Hold Mass Evacuation Drill During North Korea War Games
The U.S. military has scheduled a mass evacuation drill coinciding with next month’s annual joint war games on the Korean Peninsula, where the exercises are expected to raise tensions at a time of rare calm between the region’s longtime rivals.


Saudi Arabia has options if U.S. walks from nuclear power deal: minister
Saudi Arabia has international partners it can work with if the United States walks away from a potential deal on nuclear power technology over concerns about nuclear proliferation, Khalid al-Falih, the kingdom’s energy minister, said in an interview on Thursday.

U.S.-European Division Clouds Effort to Salvage Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal3/22/18
A disagreement between Washington and Europe over a key Trump administration concern about the Iran nuclear agreement threatens to scuttle efforts to preserve the international accord, U.S. officials said, as talks continue on a supplemental agreement.

U.S. Taking Negotiations ‘One Week at a Time’ on Expiring Iran Deal
The New York Times3/21/18
As they gathered last week, perhaps for the last time, diplomats from countries that brokered the Iran nuclear accord publicly and uniformly declared it was working — despite a death watch over the deal in Washington.

Talks ‘constructive’ on Iran nuclear deal but differences remain, U.S. official says
Los Angeles Times3/21/18
The U.S. official working to save the Iran nuclear deal said Wednesday that he held “very constructive” talks with key European allies, but could not say whether it would satisfy President Trump, the chief critic of the disarmament accord.


Bolton, Trump In Sync on Iran Nuclear Deal But Hold Different Views on Russia
The Wall Street Journal3/22/18
In picking John Bolton as national security adviser, President Donald Trump appears to have found a longtime Washington hand who is in step with his views on major national-security issues, including objections to the Iran nuclear agreement, the need to stop North Korea’s nuclear program and an “America First”-driven foreign policy.

EU may offer credit to firms trading with Iran if Trump pulls out of nuclear deal
The Guardian3/23/18
The EU is looking to provide European companies trading with Iran access to emergency credit lines and funding support if Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.


China provides Pakistan tracking system for missile programme
Pakistan Today3/22/18
China has sold Pakistan a powerful tracking system in an unprecedented deal that could speed up the Pakistani military’s development of multi-warhead missiles, reported South China Morning Post.


Perry cites competition from Russia, China to defend nuclear talks with Saudis
The Hill3/22/18
Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday defended the Trump administration’s negotiations with Saudi Arabia concerning a nuclear energy program, saying that while a deal needs to have nonproliferation standards, the United States also needs to be able to compete with Russia and China.

U.S. lawmakers launch bill bolstering nuclear proliferation safeguards
U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday to ensure that countries striking deals with Washington on sharing nuclear power technology abandon fuel-making activities that could be altered to make material for nuclear weapons.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry promises more triggers for nuclear weapons
The Washington Post3/22/18
The U.S. military is concerned that the government isn’t moving quickly enough to ramp up American production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads, as the Trump administration proceeds with a $1 trillion overhaul of the nation’s nuclear force.

Nuclear Enterprise as Important as Ever, DoD Officials Tell Congress
DoD News3/22/18
The nation’s nuclear deterrence enterprise remains as important as ever in light of the return of superpower competition and rogue nation threats presented by North Korea and Iran, senior Defense Department officials told the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee here today.

The U.S. nuclear arsenal will be useless unless the production of plutonium cores—used to trigger the weapons—is accelerated to replace ageing stock, a military official has warned.

The United States needs new, low-yield nuclear weapons to deter Russia from striking the U.S. military with nuclear weapons during conventional warfare, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom) told Congress during a hearing this week.


McMaster Is Out, an Even Bigger North Korea Hawk Is In
The AtlanticUri Friedman
Trump is replacing his national-security adviser with John Bolton, a persistent advocate of military intervention.

Donald Trump: Get Congress to Pass (and Ratify) the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
The National InterestStephen Herzog
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is back in the limelight as President Trump gears up to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It’s time for Trump to get it passed and signed.

Israel finally admitted it destroyed a Syrian reactor in 2007 — and set off a battle of egos
The Washington PostRuth Eglash
Israel’s admission Wednesday that it was behind a mysterious attack on a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria more than a decade ago has caused a storm.

Israel’s acknowledgment of Syria nuclear strike sparks security debate
Al-MonitorMazal Mualem
The story behind Israel’s 2007 attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor challenges the assumption that Israeli generals are more competent than Israeli politicians at making security decisions.

Israel’s disclosure that it struck a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 ignites a debate over censorship and security
Los Angeles TimesNoga Tarnopolsky
It is the definition of old news: More than a decade after its air force destroyed a nuclear reactor in the middle of the Syrian desert, Israel on Wednesday finally acknowledged that, yes, its airplanes had bombed “the Cube.”

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