Nuclear Policy News – May 4, 2021

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Top News:

Russia says U.S. seeks “absolute dominance” in military, but Putin won’t allow it

Strategic Forces chair ‘not fully convinced’ on ICBM modernization
Defense News

Blinken tells North Korea: diplomatic ball is in your court

United States

Strategic Forces chair ‘not fully convinced’ on ICBM modernization
Defense News5/3/21
A top lawmaker on nuclear weapons is “convinced, but not fully convinced” on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a hot-button program to modernize intercontinental ballistic missiles, as he heads into defense budget and policy talks in Congress.

OPINION: We don’t have enough information to evaluate arguments for a new ICBM
Defense OneAnkit Panda
The Biden administration should follow precedent and commission an independent look at the case for the Ground Based Strategic Defense program.

East Asia

Blinken tells North Korea: diplomatic ball is in your court
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that North Korea needed to decide whether it wanted to engage diplomatically to see if there were ways to achieve the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsular.

Biden hints at more flexible North Korea approach
Voice of America5/3/21
Donald Trump approached North Korea with threats of “fire and fury,” followed by made-for-television summits with its leader, Kim Jong Un.

China’s U.N. envoy hopes U.S. to emphasize dialogue in policy on N.Korea
China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, said on Monday he hopes a U.S. review of North Korea policy will place more emphasis on dialogue, instead of pressure.

REPORT: China’s growing nuclear threat
Heritage FoundationPatty-Jane Geller, Peter Brookes
Beijing is revealing its grand ambitions through its unprecedented nuclear modernization programs, inserting more uncertainty and risk into an already challenging international security environment.

OPINION: Biden’s North Korea policy is more realistic than Trump’s. That’s a low bar.
SlateFed Kaplan
The new approach is cleareyed, rational, and still based on the pipe dream of denuclearization.

Middle East

ANALYSIS: Iran’s hard-liners step up attacks on Rouhani government, sowing suspicion over nuclear talks
Washington PostKareem Fahim
A fictional series that aired recently on Iranian television portrayed the country’s foreign ministry as infected by Western spies bent on stealing information about nuclear talks with the United States and other world powers.

Flurry of diplomatic contacts fuel Iran deal speculation
Associated Press5/4/21
A flurry of diplomatic contacts and reports of major progress suggest that indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran may be nearing an agreement. That’s despite efforts by U.S. officials to play down chances of an imminent deal that would bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran sought nuclear weapons, technology for WMDs last year, reports find
Fox News5/3/21
The Islamic Republic of Iran made multiple attempts in 2020 to obtain technology for its weapons of mass destruction program and has not stopped its drive to develop atomic weapons, intelligence agencies from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany recently reported.

Russia and Europe

Russia says U.S. seeks “absolute dominance” in military, but Putin won’t allow it
Speaking with the RIA Novosti news outlet, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova evaluated the recent efforts by U.S. President Joe Biden to expand the Pentagon’s anti-missile infrastructure by spending an estimated $18 billion for new interceptors in Alaska.

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