Nuclear Policy News – May 2, 2019

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China’s Stealth Jet May Be Ready This Year, U.S. Commander Says

Trump Increases Budget for Banned Missiles
Arms Control Today

rump Arms Control Gambit: Serious or a Poison Pill?
Arms Control Today – Daryl Kimball

East Asia

China’s furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon
China is making significant advances toward achieving a more reliable second-strike nuclear capability, bolstering its deterrence against an attack on its land-based nuclear weapons, Reuters reveals today in a special report.

China’s Stealth Jet May Be Ready This Year, U.S. Commander Says
China may declare its first stealth fighter operational this year as it also develops long-range bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, part of a regional buildup by Beijing that the U.S. is closely monitoring, according to the U.S. Air Force’s Pacific commander.

Kim Jong Un’s Cryptic Moves Puzzle North Korea Watchers
A swirl of mysterious personnel changes in Pyongyang have fueled speculation that Kim Jong Un could be changing negotiating tacks after U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from their nuclear talks in March.

South Asia

The Kargil War: India and Pakistan 20 Years Later
The Diplomat5/1/2019
Poignantly, May marks the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War – the first actual hot war between nuclear powers – in which India and Pakistan fought each other for nearly three months in the Kargil Sector of the disputed Kashmir territory. This latest clash underscores the importance of closely reviewing what happened at Kargil in order to better understand and anticipate the contours of strategy and escalation in future India-Pakistan conflicts.

US Nuclear News

Trump Increases Budget for Banned Missiles
Arms Control TodayMay 2019
The Trump administration has requested nearly $100 million in fiscal year 2020 to develop three new missile systems that would exceed the range limits of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a pact the United States is preparing to exit in August.

The US has started a “new nuclear arms race” since Trump pulled out of the INF treaty
In the three months following US president Donald Trump’s announcement last October that America would suspend its participation in the decades-old Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, his administration has signed roughly $1 billion in new ballistic missile contracts. The new missiles would guarantee a usable US nuclear arsenal through at least 2075, according to a new study released today by Pax, a Dutch nonprofit that promotes peace and reconciliation.

U.S. missile contracts have surged since decision to exit arms treaty, study shows
The Japan Times5/2/2019
Washington has signed more than $1 billion in new missile contracts in the three months since it announced plans to withdraw from a key Cold War-era arms treaty, campaigners said Thursday. “The withdrawal from the INF treaty has fired the starting pistol on a new Cold War,” warned Beatrice Fihn, who heads the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

GOP Rep. says Russia has nuclear weapons in Venezuela but offers no evidence
Roll Call5/1/2019
Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart asserted Tuesday that Russia might already have nuclear missiles stationed in Venezuela as that country’s political turmoil continues to churn in the wake of a disputed presidential election. Díaz-Balart, a longtime Florida Republican, provided no evidence to support his claim. The article notes that the Russian military flew and landed a nuclear-capable bomber in Venezuela in 2018, but there have been no reports or claims that they have outfitted such aircraft with nuclear bombs or transported nuclear missiles to the country.


Trump Arms Control Gambit: Serious or a Poison Pill?
Arms Control Today – Daryl KimballMay 2019
If in the coming weeks, however, Team Trump suggests China must join New START or that Russia must agree to limits on tactical nuclear weapons as a condition for its extension, that should be recognized as a disingenuous poison pill designed to create a pretext for killing New START.

A figure like Senator Richard Lugar is needed to face current challenges
The Indian Express – C. Uday Bhaskar5/2/2019
The preliminary deliberations at New York indicate that the NPT cannot deal with the current global nuclear challenge and some radical initiatives in the Richard Lugar mode are urgently called for. Alas, the US and global bench strength of perspicacious and committed nuclear policymakers is very modest.

Special Interest

Ep. 43: Nuclear weapons awareness in the 20th and 21st centuries
Defense One Radio with Erin Connolly, Jamie Withorne, and Dr. Edward Geist5/1/2019
Nuclear weapons have taken on growing importance during the Trump presidency. In this episode, we’re going to speak with a couple of researchers and analysts — Erin Connolly of the Center for Arms Control, and Jamie Withorne of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies — who have been thinking about nukes and the cultural and political issues surrounding them throughout the country. And we’ll end (25:34) with a retrospective looking back at the dangerous days of the Cold War. Dr. Edward Geist of RAND recently published a comparative history of nuclear aftermath planning called “Armageddon Insurance: Civil Defense in the United States and Soviet Union, 1945–1991.”

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