Nuclear Policy News – March 6, 2019

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After Hanoi Summit: Rebuilding of Sohae Launch Facility

U.S. Doesn’t Yet Have A Plan to Prevent Russia From Building More Missiles as Treaty Collapses, Top General Says
Washington Post

Scientists Can Strengthen Nuclear Agreements

East Asia

Bolton Warns North Korea of More Sanctions If It Doesn’t Budge
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned North Korea it must be willing to completely give up its nuclear weapons program or perhaps face even tougher sanctions.

After Hanoi Summit: Rebuilding of Sohae Launch Facility
CSIS – Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha3/5/2019
Commercial satellite imagery acquired on March 2, 2019, shows that North Korea is pursuing a rapid rebuilding of the long-range rocket site at Sohae. This facility had been dormant since August 2018, indicating the current activity is deliberate and purposeful.

North Korea Rebuilds Part of Missile Site as Bolton Warns Of More Sanctions
North Korea has restored part of a rocket test site it began to dismantle after pledging to do so in a first summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last year, while Trump’s national security advisor warned that new sanctions could be introduced if Pyongyang did not scrap its nuclear weapons program.

Experts: North Korea Can Make Nuclear Weapons Without Yongbyon
Voice of America3/5/2019
North Korea’s offer to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear facility should not persuade the United States to lift sanctions, nuclear experts say. Even without the showcase installation, the country can produce two to three nuclear weapons a year in other facilities, they say.


U.S. Doesn’t Yet Have A Plan to Prevent Russia From Building More Missiles as Treaty Collapses, Top General Says
Washington Post3/5/2019
Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the United States and its allies were still looking at options after the Trump administration withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Feb. 1, triggering a six-month period before its formal dissolution.

Russia’s New Missiles Are Aimed at the U.S.
Foreign Policy3/5/2019
Normally inured to the fire and brimstone of Russian state TV, international audiences perked up their ears last month when a Sunday evening news show singled out a handful of locations in the United States that could be targets for annihilation by Russia’s new hypersonic weapons.

South Asia

New Kashmir Conflict Threatens Nuclear Exchange Between India and Pakistan
The National Interest3/4/2019
The non-catastrophic resolution of the crisis-du-jour should not inspire misguided confidence that nuclear deterrence will inevitably prevent a war. Recent history leaves one with every reason to believe the circumstances which caused the recent spiraling escalation are likely to repeat themselves again and again.

Opinion and Analysis

What’s in A Name? North Korea And the Contested Politics Of ‘Nuclear Weapons States’
War on the Rocks – Sidra Hamidi3/6/2019
The disagreement over denuclearization represents a broader trend in nuclear diplomacy where seemingly self-evident language becomes a matter of negotiation and conflict. Often, what is at stake is not necessarily what nuclear capabilities states have but how those capabilities are recognized and represented in global politics.

The Other Nuclear Threat
The Atlantic – Joshua T. White3/5/2019
The Trump administration is inundated with challenges around the world. But it should not duck the implications of the past few weeks. It needs to think carefully about how it deals with Pakistan’s risk taking, the implicit signals it sends to India about risk acceptance, and the still-inescapable American role in managing risk escalation in one of the world’s most unpredictable nuclear theaters.

What the Hanoi Summit Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Intentions
The Diplomat – Christopher J. Watterson3/6/2019
Overall it would be unwise to interpret North Korea’s overtures at Hanoi as demonstrating a sincere commitment to denuclearization.

Special Interest

Scientists Can Strengthen Nuclear Agreements
Scientists have been at the heart of the most successful nuclear agreements, from the Soviet–US talks that laid the foundations for the global Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996 to negotiations in 2015 on what is known as the Iran nuclear deal.

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