Nuclear Policy News – May 16, 2018

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North Korea expands threat to cancel Trump-Kim summit, saying it won’t be pushed to abandon its nukes
Washington Post

N.K. invites 8 S. Korean journalists to witness nuclear test site dismantling
Yonhap News

U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Designating Head of Central Bank a Terrorist
New York Times

Europe adopts defiant stance in attempt to save Iran nuclear deal
Washington Post


North Korea Revives an Old Tactic in Threat to Cancel Talks
New York Times5/16/18
After presenting himself as a statesman, and changing his role from tyrant to moderate on the world stage, Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, has revealed his bottom line: He will not give up his nuclear weapons as President Trump has demanded.

North Korea Threatens to Call Off Summit Meeting With Trump
New York Times5/15/18
North Korea threw President Trump’s planned summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, into doubt on Wednesday, threatening to call off the landmark encounter if the United States insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

North Korea cancels meeting with South Korea, threatens to ditch summit with US over military drills
North Korea abruptly canceled talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday, according to media reports.

North Korea Wavers on U.S. Summit, Accentuating the Gap Over Nuclear Weapons
Wall Street Journal5/16/18
For weeks’ the countries’ talks have appeared to be gaining momentum

North Korea will join ‘efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests’
North Korea will join international efforts to ban nuclear tests, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

North Korea Threatens to Cancel Kim-Trump Summit Over ‘One Sided’ Nuclear Demands
North Korea on Wednesday threatened to scrap a historic summit next month between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it has no interest in a “one-sided” affair meant to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons.

North Korea Starts to Dismantle Nuclear-Test Site
Wall Street Journal5/15/18
Buildings have been removed, latest satellite images show, ahead of planned May 23-25 destruction

White House Rebuffs U.N. Appeal to Expand North Korea Food Aid
Foreign Policy5/15/18
The United States sees private investment in Pyongyang, not aid, as the nuclear deal’s prize.

Aid Agency Chief Reports ‘Tremendous Sense of Optimism’ in North Korea
New York Times5/15/18
North Korean officials have a “tremendous sense of optimism” about their country’s recent turn toward diplomacy and have promised to work more openly with humanitarian aid groups, according to the head of the World Food Program, who visited the country last week.

North Korea’s Full Statement on Meeting With Trump
New York Times5/15/18
Here is an official translation of a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency of North Korea on Wednesday.

North Korea expands threat to cancel Trump-Kim summit, saying it won’t be pushed to abandon its nukes
Washington Post5/16/18
North Korea is rapidly moving the goal posts for next month’s summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, saying the United States must stop insisting it “unilaterally” abandon its nuclear program and stop talking about a Libya-style solution to the standoff.

N.K. invites 8 S. Korean journalists to witness nuclear test site dismantling
Yonhap News5/15/18
North Korea has invited eight South Korean journalists to an event to showcase the dismantling of its nuclear test site scheduled for next week, Seoul’s unification ministry said Tuesday.

US Intelligence: North Korean Nuclear Test Site Modifications Would Take ‘Weeks to Months’ to Reverse
The Diplomat5/15/18
North Korea is making significant alterations to its nuclear test site, but none that are irreversible just yet.


EU tells Iran it will try to protect firms from US sanctions
The Guardian5/15/18
EU stays in nuclear deal but official warns there is ‘no one magic option’ over trade after US withdrawal

U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Designating Head of Central Bank a Terrorist
New York Times5/15/18
The Trump administration accused the head of Iran’s central bank of funneling money to Hezbollah and designated him as a global terrorist on Tuesday, placing further financial constraints on Tehran a week after President Trump called for reimposing sanctions that were lifted as part of an Obama-era nuclear deal.


New weapons will maintain Russia’s might for decades, Putin says
Japan Times5/16/18
Russia’s new weapons, including an array of new nuclear systems, will ensure the country’s security for decades to come, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday at a meeting with top military brass.

Europe adopts defiant stance in attempt to save Iran nuclear deal
Washington Post5/15/18
The European Union’s chief diplomat took a defiant stance Tuesday after meeting with Iran’s foreign minister and other top European diplomats to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States.

Europe offers no guarantees but vows to keep Iran deal alive
European powers vowed to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive without the United States by trying to keep Iran’s oil and investment flowing, but admitted they would struggle to provide the guarantees Tehran seeks.

Merkel defends nuclear deal, Iran says won’t ‘surrender’ to U.S.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back on Wednesday against Washington’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal, saying the accord helped outside powers worried about Tehran’s regional role to pursue their concerns with the Islamic Republic.

EU official insists nuclear deal with Iran must prevail
Washington Post5/16/18
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says that all efforts must be made to keep the Iran nuclear agreement alive despite the U.S. pullout because “to end the deal would gravely threaten the peace and security in this tumultuous region.”


Force that protects U.S. nuclear weapons loses explosives on North Dakota road, offers $5,000 to get them back
Washington Post5/15/18
The Air Force is offering $5,000 for leads on the whereabouts of a box of explosive grenade rounds that its personnel accidentally dropped on a road in North Dakota while traveling between two intercontinental ballistic missile sites — the facilities scattered across the U.S. heartland that stand ready to launch nuclear warheads at a moment’s notice.

Rand Paul says he’d support talks between Trump and Iran, ‘mistake’ to exit nuclear deal
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday he wishes President Donald Trump had not moved to exit the Iran deal and supported talks between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Manhattan Project museum urged to say Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were war crimes
A museum dedicated to the Manhattan Project, the World War II research effort for the atomic bomb, is being urged to state in its exhibits that bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes.

Pentagon wants nuclear secrets out of the silos and into the cloud
Amazon Web Services is widely regarded as a front-runner for a Pentagon contract to store highly classified information, including nuclear secrets, in the cloud.


Experts don’t like Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal — or his foreign policy in general
Washington PostSusan Peterson, Ryan Powers, and Michael Tierney
The Brookings Institution assembled 13 experts to offer immediate responses — all of which were negative. Those opinions fairly accurately represent most expert views.

Trump should not dare Iran to start a war
NewsweekBenjamin Friedman
The Trump administration’s renunciation of the Iran deal is an act of needless belligerence that serves little purpose beyond restoring hostility between the United States and Iran.

Trump’s Dream Come True: Trashing Obama and Iran in One Move
New York TimesThomas Friedman
President Trump’s approach to every one of Barack Obama’s policies, including his nuclear deal with Iran: “We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.”

We won the Nobel Peace Prize last year—here’s how Trump and Kim Jong Un could win it
NewsweekBeatrice Fihn
There is one way that both Trump and Kim could deserve the Nobel Peace Prize: they must reject nuclear weapons completely.

An Indecent Disrespect
New York Times5/15/18
President Trump’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal has unleashed a rare fury in Europe.

Contain Iran? Trump should copy Reagan.
Washington PostDavid Ignatius
Arab leaders love the idea that President Trump is ready to give Iran a punch in the nose. But is this White House truly serious about challenging Iranian power in the Middle East? The evidence is mixed, at best.

A North Korea approach that makes sense
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
Instead of utter failure (or Trump’s dangerous concessions to “get a deal”) the Brookings Institution’s Michael E. O’Hanlon has a clever four-step process the administration should consider.

Leaving the Iran Nuclear Deal Will Have Unintended Consequences
Foreign PolicyElizabeth Rosenberg
Trump’s actions may ultimately weaken the strength of sanctions as a tool of U.S. statecraft.

North Korea’s About-Face? It’s a Return to Form.
New York TimesGerry Mullany
Here’s a look at some other times when the North did a sudden about-face.

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