Nuclear Policy News – May 23, 2018

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Ahead of planning meeting in Singapore, Trump suggests N. Korea summit could fall through
Washington Post

Trump Backs Away From Demand for Immediate North Korean Denuclearization
New York Times

Deep in the Desert, Iran Quietly Advances Missile Technology
New York Times

Democrats fight Pentagon’s push for battlefield nukes
Defense News


Trump focused on Kim Jong Un meeting ‘pageantry’ rather than North Korea’s nuclear weapons program: report
President Donald Trump has reportedly been more concerned with the optics surrounding his potential summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rather than the details and inner workings of the totalitarian regime’s nuclear weapons program.

How to get to North Korea’s nuclear site
A small coterie of foreign reporters is about to set off on a marathon journey to a remote location in North Korea to witness Pyongyang’s purported destruction of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Viewing Areas Identified and Preparations for Closure Continue
38 North5/22/18
Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates additional preparations for the announced closure of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site that could take place in the next few days, depending on weather.

U.S. military sends war ship to Japan ahead of Trump’s North Korea summit
The U.S. Navy sent one of its most advanced warships to Japan in the lead up to a planned summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Moon Mission: South Korea Fights to Keep Trump-Kim Summit on Track
Wall Street Journal5/22/18
Korean president visits Washington as heated rhetoric dents optimism for North Korea talks

Trump-Kim Summit Meeting Is a ‘99.9% Done Deal,’ South Korea Says
New York Times5/22/18
Confronting growing doubts about whether a planned meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, would take place, a South Korean official said Monday that there was a “99.9 percent” chance of it happening.

Ahead of planning meeting in Singapore, Trump suggests N. Korea summit could fall through
Washington Post5/22/18
President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that there is a “substantial chance” a scheduled summit with Kim Jong Un could be canceled, as top aides prepared to travel to Singapore for a crucial planning meeting this weekend with North Korean officials.

Trump Backs Away From Demand for Immediate North Korean Denuclearization
New York Times5/22/18
President Trump opened the door on Tuesday to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, backing away from his demand that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, completely abandon his arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions.

As summit looms, North Korean media return to angry tone
Washington Post5/22/18
North Korean media stepped up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States, warning Tuesday that a budding detente could be in danger.

Foreign media depart on train for North Korean nuclear site
Washington Post5/23/18
A group of foreign journalists departed by train Wednesday to watch the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear test site after eight reporters from South Korea received last-minute permission to join them.


How Iran Can Evade Sanctions This Time
The Atlantic5/22/18
Tehran has always found a way to skirt even the most crippling of economic measures.

Iran tells Europe to step up and save nuclear deal
Iran poured scorn on threatened U.S. sanctions on Tuesday and told European powers to step up and salvage its international nuclear deal – though Germany signaled there was only so much it could do to fend off Washington’s economic clout.

Deep in the Desert, Iran Quietly Advances Missile Technology
New York Times5/23/18
Five outside experts who independently reviewed the findings agreed that there was compelling evidence that Iran is developing long-range missile technology.


Russian sub test-fires 4 intercontinental missiles in salvo
Washington Post5/22/18
A Russian nuclear-powered submarine successfully test-fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles on Tuesday, the navy said.


Democrats fight Pentagon’s push for battlefield nukes
Defense News5/22/18
House Democrats are fighting on multiple fronts to block the Trump administration from developing a new tactical nuclear weapon, and the debate threatens to turn into a partisan fight on the House floor.


How the ‘Compulsive Secrecy’ of the Atomic Age Has Changed the Way We Think
I visited places where atomic bombs have been dropped, in the name of science or as acts of war, and where radioactive wolves roam but people fear to tread.

North Korea says it’s dismantling its nuclear test site. How significant is that?
Washington PostOr Rabinowitz
Is the North Korean move significant — or symbolic?

Aim, bluff, lose: The art of not making deals
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
President Trump is caught in a vicious, losing cycle of his own making. First, take aim at an Obama administration policy or law. Second, declare that you have something much better. Third, roll out the “something,” which turns out to be nothing viable — in other words, fail.

Congress must manage the consequences of the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal
The HillMartin B. Malin
Congress must closely monitor the reinstatement of sanctions on Iran to reduce the blowback on U.S economic interests, and provide strict oversight of the Trump administration’s evolving strategy toward Iran.

Six past mistakes Trump can avoid in talks with North Korea
The HillFrank Aum
The Trump administration’s guiding philosophy for negotiating with North Korea is to “not repeat the mistakes of past administrations.” With the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un now set for June 12 in Singapore, it is important to identify these past mistakes and how to avoid them.

Trump follows Bolton’s lead on managing expectations for North Korea
Washington PostEd Rogers
Speaking with Moon and then with the media, Trump tried to walk back expectations and clarify what the chances are for reaching an agreement and eliminating the threat of a nuclear attack from North Korea.

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