Top News

Saudis Want a U.S. Nuclear Deal. Can They Be Trusted Not to Build a Bomb?
New York Times

North Korean still working at main nuclear site, IAEA says
Reuters

U.S., South Korea to reduce scope of ‘Foal Eagle’ military drill: Mattis
Reuters

North and South Korea Get U.N.’s Go-Ahead to Study Joint Rail Project
New York Times

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup
Politico

 

East Asia

North Korean still working at main nuclear site, IAEA says
Reuters11/23/18
North Korea appears to be still expanding operations at its main nuclear site, the U.N. atomic watchdog indicated on Thursday. The statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is a further sign that North Korea is pressing ahead with its atomic activities despite pressure from the United States for it to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

IAEA calls on North Korea to re-admit nuclear inspectors
Associated Press11/22/18
The head of the U.N.’s atomic watchdog on Thursday called on North Korea to allow inspectors back into the country to monitor its nuclear program. Speaking at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director General Yukiya Amano noted that Pyongyang had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the “permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon” — a reactor where it produces plutonium.

U.S., South Korea to reduce scope of ‘Foal Eagle’ military drill: Mattis
Reuters11/21/18
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday a joint military exercise with South Korea called “Foal Eagle” would be reduced in scope next year so it does not harm diplomatic efforts with North Korea. “Foal Eagle is being reorganized a bit to keep it at a level that will not be harmful to diplomacy,” Mattis told reporters.

North and South Korea Get U.N.’s Go-Ahead to Study Joint Rail Project
New York Times11/24/18
The United Nations Security Council has approved a plan by North and South Korea to conduct a joint field study on connecting their railways, exempting the project from the extensive sanctions the U.N. has imposed on the North over its nuclear weapons program, officials said on Saturday. During his three summit meetings this year with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has offered to help renovate North Korea’s decrepit railway system and link it with the South’s, dangling the project as one of the biggest economic benefits the North could expect should it denuclearize.

Middle East

Saudis Want a U.S. Nuclear Deal. Can They Be Trusted Not to Build a Bomb?
New York Times11/22/18
Before Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was implicated by the C.I.A. in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, American intelligence agencies were trying to solve a separate mystery: Was the prince laying the groundwork for building an atomic bomb? The 33-year-old heir to the Saudi throne had been overseeing a negotiation with the Energy Department and the State Department to get the United States to sell designs for nuclear power plants to the kingdom. The deal was worth upward of $80 billion, depending on how many plants Saudi Arabia decided to build.

EU, Iran Commit to Uphold Nuclear Pact Despite Trump
Voice of America11/26/18
The European Union and Iran are affirming their support for the international nuclear deal and say they aim to keep it alive despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the landmark pact. Ahead of EU-Iran talks on civil nuclear cooperation in Brussels Monday, EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said the deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world.”

Russia/FSU/Europe

Russian lawmakers ask Kremlin to review nuclear doctrine
Associated Press11/21/18
A group of Russian lawmakers asked the Kremlin Wednesday to review the nation’s rules for the use of nuclear weapons, amid tensions with the West. Participants in the hearings organized by the upper house’s defense committee suggested that the presidential Security Council should draft a new version of the nuclear doctrine. The lawmakers said in their proposals cited by Russian news agencies that the revised doctrine should in particular spell out a response to an attack on Russia with hypersonic and other strategic non-nuclear weapons.

Russia says planning for new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe
Reuters11/26/18
Russia said on Monday it was planning for a U.S. deployment of new nuclear missiles in Europe following Washington’s planned withdrawal from a landmark Cold war-era arms control treaty despite the United States denying it has such plans. Russia is keen to dissuade U.S. President Donald Trump from carrying out a threat for Washington to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which eliminated both countries’ land-based short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Europe.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup
Politico11/24/18
Democrats preparing to take over the House are aiming to roll back what they see as President Donald Trump’s overly aggressive nuclear strategy. Their goals include eliminating money for Trump’s planned expansion of the U.S. atomic arsenal, including a new long-range ballistic missile and development of a smaller, battlefield nuclear bomb that critics say is more likely to be used in combat than a traditional nuke.

Opinion and Analysis

2019 is shaping up to be the Year of North Korea
The HillHarry J. Kazianis
11/25/18
Although 2019 might be the Year of Kim Jong Un, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for America or the world. It will, however, require some “outside-of-the-box” thinking, flexibility and strategic smarts. There is no reason that permanent peace cannot take hold on the Korean Peninsula.