Nuclear Policy News – November 13, 2017

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U.S. envoy on N. Korean nukes to visit S. Korea this week
Yonhap News Agency

Pope says world should condemn ‘very possession’ of nuclear weapons

As North Korean threat grows, Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack
Los Angeles Times

US nudging India, Pakistan to table
Express Tribune


South Korea, China agree to manage North Korea issue peacefully, in stable manner
The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South’s presidential office said.

China urges IAEA to strive for universality of NPT, promote peaceful use of nuclear energy
“The agency should continue to enhance the universality and effectiveness of its safeguards system on the basis of ensuring impartiality and objectiveness and conducting full consultation with member states,” Wu Haitao told the UN General Assembly after Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefed the assembly on the agency’s work.

U.S. envoy on N. Korean nukes to visit S. Korea this week
Yonhap News Agency11/12/17
The United States’ top envoy on North Korean nuclear issues is set to visit South Korea this week and hold consultations with his South Korean counterpart, according to sources on Monday. Joseph Yun, special representative for North Korea policy, will arrive in Seoul on Tuesday to attend events by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, the diplomatic sources said.

S. Korea says N.K. showed ‘measured’ reaction to Trump’s visit to Seoul
Yonhap News Agency11/12/17
South Korea said Monday that North Korea showed a “measured” reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest visit to Seoul amid reports on the conditions for direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea.


Iran rejects Macron call for talks on Iranian missiles
Iran rejected on Sunday a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on Tehran’s ballistic missiles, saying they were defensive and unrelated to a nuclear agreement with world powers.


Pope says world should condemn ‘very possession’ of nuclear weapons
Pope Francis, in some his strongest comments ever on nuclear weapons, said on Friday that the world should condemn not only their possible use but “their very possession.” The appeal came at the start of a two-day conference on nuclear disarmament that has brought together 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, as well as United Nations and NATO officials, discussing prospects for a world free of nuclear weapons.

EU and Iran defend nuclear deal, under fire from Trump
Senior officials from the European Union and Iran spoke up on Friday in defense of the agreement limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, as the pact comes under heavy pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Over 5,000 troops participate in mock post-nuclear blast clean-up drill in southern Russia
Troops from units deployed to Russia’s southern Krasnodar and Stavropol Regions have conducted exercises on decontaminating military facilities after a simulated nuclear blast carried out by a fictional enemy, the Southern Military District’s press service told TASS on Monday.

France raises prospect of new sanctions on Iran over ballistic program
France’s foreign ministry suggested on Monday that new sanctions could be imposed on Iran if needed over its ballistic missile program.


US aims to reduce Indo-Pak tension, but will not play mediator
Pakistan Today11/10/17
Alice G Wells, the acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, told lawmakers that the Trump administration is increasingly concerned about the threat to strategic stability in South Asia associated with the introduction of new nuclear-capable ballistic or cruise missile systems in the region.

US nudging India, Pakistan to table
Express Tribune11/13/17
Government officials and diplomatic sources said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took up the issue with the leadership of both Pakistan and India during his recent visit to the two countries.


NATO defends opposition to UN nuclear ban treaty
Associated Press11/10/17
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller told a Vatican disarmament conference Friday that the treaty could undermine years of nonproliferation work and disregards current-day nuclear threats on the Korean peninsula. Gottemoeller says the U.S. nuclear arsenal allowed American allies in Europe and Asia to set aside their own nuclear ambitions. That, she said, has allowed a separate nuclear non-proliferation treaty to work and effective disarmament to take place.

Hibakusha calls for abolition of nuclear weapons during Vatican speech
Japan Times11/12/17
Nuclear weapons are “an injustice that must be abolished by the responsibility of the humans that made them,” said Masako Wada, 74, assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Nihon Hidankyo.


Southern California plant flourishing under bomber program
Washington Post11/11/17
A Northrop Grumman contract to build top-secret B-21 stealth bombers has brought more than a thousand new employees to the Mojave Desert northeast of Los Angeles. The U.S. Air Force contract for 100 of the bat-winged aircraft is estimated to run about $80 billion.

As North Korean threat grows, Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack
Los Angeles Times11/10/17
Amid increasing North Korean threats against the U.S., Hawaii has launched the most aggressive effort in the country to prepare for attack. TV commercials warn the state’s 1.4 million residents to “get inside, stay inside” if a bomb drops. State officials are holding online forums and flying between islands for town halls to field questions from residents.

3 US Navy aircraft carriers operate off Korean Peninsula
Fox News11/12/17
The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt strike groups operated together, marking the first time three American aircraft carriers have trained together since 2007, according to the U.S. Pacific Fleet which released a video of the training on Sunday. The carriers will conduct several training activities, including air defense drills, sea surveillance and defense air combat, until Tuesday.


‘They Want to Know If Trump’s Crazy’: Inside the secret back-channel North Korea talks
The Global PoliticoSusan B. Glasser
Among issues the North Koreans have raised with her in recent months, DiMaggio said, were everything from Trump’s tweet urging Tillerson to give up on diplomacy with North Korea (“Is this a good cop/bad cop that he’s doing with Tillerson?”) to Trump’s decision this fall to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal forged by his predecessor, Barack Obama. That, DiMaggio said, “has sent a clear signal to the North Koreans: Why should they enter a deal with us, if we’re not going to stick with it?”

Negotiate with North Korea. But the Iran deal is nonnegotiable
Washington PostNathan Gardels
Negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear and missile program is the only alternative to war. But attempting to renegotiate the Iran deal, as U.S. President Donald Trump has called for, would open a can of worms that would likely kill the hard-won agreement to stem nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Furthermore, unraveling the done deal with Iran would doom a potential deal with North Korea because Pyongyang would suspect that whatever is agreed can be changed unilaterally by the U.S. down the road.

Why Relying on China to Stop North Korea May Not Work
New York TimesMark Landler and Jane Perlez
Mr. Trump arrived in China on Wednesday for the stiffest test yet of his audacious bet: that by cultivating Mr. Xi and offering him concessions, like delaying punitive trade moves, he can persuade him to move against North Korea in a way that none of his predecessors have. Yet it may be a gamble based on a fundamental misreading of Beijing’s influence over North Korea and especially its young leader, Kim Jong-un, under whom relations between the erstwhile allies have steadily deteriorated.


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