Top News: UK nuclear warhead increase prompted by Russia’s missile defence capability Financial Times Washington’s battle over nuclear weapons budget already underway Defense News Xi, Kim share messages reaffirming China-North Korea alliance Washington Post United States Washington’s battle over nuclear weapons budget already underway Defense News3/22/21 Washington’s budget cycle is just getting started, but already Democrats and Republicans are in a war of words over whether to curb or continue the trajectory of spending on nuclear weapons modernization. OPINION: Biden must punish Putin’s cyber-attacks. But building more nukes only makes things worse The GuardianSimon Tisdall 3/21/22 A fear of cyber-attack helps explain, though not excuse, Britain’s ill-considered plan to unilaterally increase its nuclear warhead stockpile. East Asia Xi, Kim share messages reaffirming China-North Korea alliance Washington Post3/22/21 The leaders of China and North Korea are reaffirming their traditional alliance following contentious talks between top diplomats from Washington and Beijing and diplomatic isolation and economic problems in the North that have left it ever-more dependent on the Chinese. China, North Korea statement of cooperation poses new threat to U.S. US News3/22/21 Xi’s office announced Monday morning that he and Kim had traded seemingly benign messages through two interlocutors from each country during a meeting in Beijing earlier in the day. U.S.-China tensions give North Korea an opportunity to strengthen its position in nuclear talks South China Morning Post3/21/22 Beijing is seen as less likely to put pressure on its ally to return to the negotiating table as a result of ongoing tensions with Washington. ANALYSIS: North Korea’s new nuclear gambit and the fate of denuclearization East Asia ForumEvans Revere 3/22/21 Faced with a new US president whose North Korea policy remains unclear, Kim Jong-un has decided to pre-empt the outcome of the ongoing US policy review by ending all prospects of denuclearisation and expanding his nuclear and missile capabilities instead. Middle East Iran’s Khamenei reiterates nuclear deal stance in new year speech Aljazeera3/21/21 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reiterated that Iran will not give in to United States pressure in exchange for sanctions relief. RADIO: The U.S. and Iran are stalled on who takes first steps to revive nuclear negotiations NPR3/22/21 The U.S. and Iran say they want to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that the Trump administration pulled out of — but they’re stuck on who takes the first steps. Russia and Europe Three military personnel killed after Russian nuclear-capable bomber malfunction Reuters3/23/21 Three Russian military personnel were killed on Tuesday when a nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bomber suffered a malfunction with its ejector seats at an airfield near Kaluga, the RIA news agency cited the defence ministry as saying. Russian envoy says UK nuclear arms plan is illegal Reuters3/22/21 Russia’s ambassador to Britain has accused the UK government of breaking its international treaty commitments with a plan to increase the country’s nuclear arsenal and said the political relationship between Moscow and London is “nearly dead”. UK nuclear warhead increase prompted by Russia’s missile defence capability Financial Times3/22/21 Defence secretary says controversial move needed to keep Britain’s deterrent ‘credible’. OPINION: The UK’s response to Russian and Chinese nuclear aggression Real Clear DefenseMarshall Billingslea, Ryan Tully 3/22/21 Last Tuesday, the United Kingdom rolled out its long-anticipated National Security Integrated Review.