Nuclear Policy News – November 16, 2017

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China sticks by ‘freeze-by-freeze’ Korea de-escalation proposal, contradicting Trump
Washington Post

German Greens want last nuclear weapons withdrawn: document

Trump: China agrees North Korea nuclear weapon freeze not enough
Military Times


China sticks by ‘freeze-by-freeze’ Korea de-escalation proposal, contradicting Trump
Washington Post11/16/17
China said on Thursday it will stick by its “freeze-for-freeze” plan to de-escalate tensions in the Korean Peninsula, contradicting a suggestion by President Trump that it had turned against it. The proposal calls for North Korea to freeze its missile and nuclear tests in return for the United States and South Korea suspending their annual joint military exercises. On Wednesday, Trump suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping had acknowledged to him that the plan was a nonstarter.

South Korean says U.S. must not strike North Korea without Seoul’s consent
U.S. President Donald Trump should “under no circumstances” take military action against North Korea without the consent of the government in Seoul, the chairwoman of South Korea’s ruling party, Choo Mi-ae, said on Wednesday.

North Korea Says It May Give Up Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Abandons Them First
North Korea suggested Wednesday it may be open to giving up its nuclear weapons, but only if the U.S. did so first. Ruling Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a commentary Wednesday in which the country’s authoritarian leadership challenged President Donald Trump to reverse his support for a bigger, stronger U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal and adopt a non-proliferation policy.


German Greens want last nuclear weapons withdrawn: document
Greens want the next coalition government to push for the removal of all nuclear warheads stationed in Germany, a document seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday. The discussion paper on defence and foreign policy did not mention the United States, which is believed to have 20 nuclear warheads at a military base in Buechel in western Germany, according to unofficial estimates.

Russia to float out next-generation strategic nuclear submarine on November 17
The strategic Project Borei-A lead nuclear-powered submarine Prince Vladimir armed with ballistic missiles will be floated out on November 17 in a launch ceremony at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in north Russia, Navy spokesman Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said on Wednesday.

Russian expert says negotiation is only solution to N. Korea nuke issue
Yonhap News Agency11/15/17
The head of Russia’s state-run diplomatic think tank told a forum in Seoul on Thursday that negotiation is the only feasible solution to the problem of North Korea’s nuclear program. Bazhanov Evgeny Petrovich, director of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Russia will not tolerate North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons.


Trump: China agrees North Korea nuclear weapon freeze not enough
Military Times11/15/17
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. and China agree that North Korea cannot just freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions and that it must eliminate its arsenal. Trump was restating a long-standing U.S. position but suggested that China now concurred with Washington that a “freeze-for-freeze” agreement was unacceptable.

Trump: We have to denuclearize N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency11/15/17
U.S. President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that he will not accept a North Korea with nuclear weapons and will continue to put “maximum pressure” on the regime.

US Air Force Wants to Get New Nuclear Weapons Faster
Defense One11/15/17
“My sense is that we’re in a good place right now in terms of how we’re working with industry going forward,” the Air Force chief of staff said in an interview. “The question I’ll continue to have is: How to I move it left. How do we get this capability earlier. Because if you can actually get it faster, you can get it cheaper sometimes.”

U.S. Pacific Commander: Military-backed diplomacy needed to deal with North Korea
“Clearly, while diplomacy must be the main effort with North Korea, it has to be diplomacy backed by credible military power,” Admiral Harry Harris said in Japan at the beginning of a meeting with Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera.


The Most Dangerous Man in the World
Defense OneTom Collina
The fact that the Senate held this hearing at all is a clear sign that some senators, at least, are unnerved by the fact that President Trump has his finger on the nuclear button. Doing something about it is another matter. The “do nothing” caucus is formidable. But so are the risks. “The statements the President makes through his Twitter account no doubt cause concern and confusion on the other side of the Pacific,” said McKeon. “I would be very worried about a miscalculation based on continuing use of his Twitter account with regard to North Korea.”

The Senate Questions the President’s Power to Launch Nukes
New York TimesEditorial Board
Because such changes could affect the country’s ability to deter adversaries with the threat of a rapid nuclear attack, they must be carefully considered. The Republican-led Congress, which has shown few signs of pushing back against presidential powers, may end up taking no action. Mr. Corker says he does not see a legislative solution at the moment, though “over the course of the next several months one might develop.” What we do know is that there are hard questions to be addressed, especially now that the American people have been alerted to the scope and potential peril of Mr. Trump’s powers.

Analysis: Progress by China envoy in N. Korea won’t be easy
Associated PressEric Talmadge
With all the verbal barbs flying between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump these days, China’s decision to send its most senior official to North Korea in more than two years could be a welcome opportunity to defuse the growing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. But the way things are going, it could just as well turn out to be little more than a diplomatic courtesy.

US response to Russia treaty violation plays into Moscow’s hands
The HillSteven Pifer
Developing an intermediate-range GLCM, as long as it is not tested, would not violate the treaty. But it would set the United States on a course to do so. That would not provide a smart response to Russia’s treaty violation.

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