Nuclear Policy News – March 8, 2018

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Talks With North Korea? China Approves (No Matter the Outcome)
New York Times

U.S., South Korea to Discuss Pyongyang’s Denuclearization Offer
Wall Street Journal

Putin: Russia would retaliate if hit by a nuclear attack, even if it led to ‘global catastrophe’


North Korea defends its nuclear weapons one day after it’s suggested country may give them up
North Korea’s state newspaper ran a column defending its nuclear arsenal Wednesday, a day after South Korean envoys indicated that North Korea was interested in “candid talks” with the United States involving possible denuclearization.

North Korea wants nuclear talks but does Trump know what he wants to say?
The Guardian3/7/18
The Trump administration is considering how to respond to the North Korean offer of talks on its nuclear weapons programme at a time when its capacity to engage with Pyongyang has been hamstrung by the departure of its top Korea experts, according to former officials and analysts.

For Pyongyang, Mideast offers cautionary nuclear tale
Washington Post3/8/18
As North Korea considers negotiating over its nukes, it may find lessons in the Middle East, where leaders imperiled, paranoid or pugnacious have long used the doomsday weapon threat to secure a wobbly perch.

Talks With North Korea? China Approves (No Matter the Outcome)
New York Times3/7/18
As the Trump administration decides how to deal with the North’s new offer to talk, China is a bystander. Even so, analysts say, Beijing is sure to be pleased by the prospect of a drawn-out diplomatic process that delays the possibility of war on its border — even if the talks ultimately come to nothing.

Kim Jong-un’s sister could be sent to US to launch talks on ending nuclear crisis
South China Morning Post3/8/18
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may propose sending his sister, Kim Yo-jong, to the US as part of efforts to launch direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang, according to a South Korean diplomatic source.

U.S., South Korea to Discuss Pyongyang’s Denuclearization Offer
Wall Street Journal3/7/18
McMaster, counterpart to meet as both sides try to determine whether North’s overture is serious

South Korean officials leave for US with message from North Korea to Trump
Top South Korean negotiators left for the United States Thursday to brief their American counterparts on the outcome of their historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.


Saudi Arabia is in nuclear talks with the US — and it could be a sign the country is trying to get even with rival Iran
Business Insider3/7/18
The US recently opened talks with Saudi Arabia to potentially allow the Gulf country to enrich and process uranium within its borders, a move that could be driven by the growing threat of Iran.


Putin: Russia would retaliate if hit by a nuclear attack, even if it led to ‘global catastrophe’
President Vladimir Putin has warned that he would not hesitate to strike back if Russia was hit by a nuclear adversary, even if it led to a “global catastrophe.”


India Tightens Curbs on Trade With North Korea
US News3/7/18
India has imposed new restrictions on trade with North Korea, a government statement said on Wednesday, in line with U.N. Security Council sanctions slapped on the reclusive country for its nuclear and missile programs.


Government Scientists Have A Plan For Blowing Up Asteroids With A Nuke
BuzzFeed News3/7/18
There’s a teeny chance that a giant asteroid might blast Earth in 2135, so scientists are working on a solution.


Was there a nuclear revolution? Strategy, grand strategy, and the ultimate weapon
War on the RocksJoshua Rovner
The theory of the nuclear revolution influenced scholarship on issues ranging from deterrence and the offense-defense balance to crisis stability and the problem of misperception. But U.S. leaders never embraced the revolution.

North Koreans say they’re ready to talk. Should we believe them?
USA TodayMichael O’Hanlon
After weeks of charm diplomacy during and immediately after the Pyeongchang Olympics, North Korea has now offered up a stunner: an offer to get rid of its nuclear weapons entirely if the Korean standoff can somehow be ended and the nation’s security guaranteed.

Korea 2018: The Beginning of the End of the Post-1990 World Order?
38NorthRuediger Frank
What we do not yet fully understand is the reason why the North Korean side went beyond announcements and offers to actually sending a high-level delegation to Pyeongchang.

Letting the Korean Breakthrough Run Its Course
The AtlanticAdam Mount
The new round of talks can only succeed if the Trump administration resists its own worst impulses.

The belated consequences of killing the ABM Treaty
Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon
The hardest sell in the crucial debates over strategic arms control in the 1960s was that constraining offenses required strictly limiting ballistic missile defenses.

Vladimir Putin’s Re-Election Strategy: Nukes and Assassins
Daily BeastAmy Knight
This iron-fisted image is Putin’s strong card with the increasingly nationalistic, patriotic Russian electorate, who are fed a steady diet of anti-Western propaganda on state-controlled television.

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