Nuclear Policy News – November 27, 2017

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Senior N. Korean official says its nuke program targets no country but U.S.
Yonhap News Agency

Former Joint Chiefs chairman: Use of nuclear weapons ‘more probable than it used to be’
The Hill

Russia ready to cooperate for peaceful resolution of N. Korean issues
Yonhap News Agency

Cyber and Space Weapons Are Making Nuclear Deterrence Trickier
Defense OneJames Miller and Richard Fontaine


Senior N. Korean official says its nuke program targets no country but U.S.
Yonhap News Agency11/26/17
A senior North Korean official said its nuclear weapons program targets nobody but the United States and the rest of the world does not need to feel threatened, its official newspaper reported Sunday.

Castro meets North Korea minister amid hope Cuba can defuse tensions
Cuban President Raul Castro met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Friday amid hopes the Communist-run island might be able to convince its Asian ally to avert a showdown with the United States.

Korean envoy on N. Korean nuke to visit U.S. next week
Yonhap News Agency11/26/17
South Korea’s top negotiator on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program will visit the United States next week to discuss diplomatic efforts to end the North’s nuclear program, the foreign ministry said Sunday.


Iran warns it would increase missile range if threatened by Europe
The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned Europe that if it threatens Tehran, the Guards will increase the range of missiles to above 2,000 kilometers, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

Nuclear arms in hands of Israel threatens intl. peace, Iran says
Tehran Times11/25/17
Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Friday that “nuclear weapons in the hands of such regime with a history full of aggression, occupation and state-terrorism is a threat to the international peace and security.”

UN chief nuke inspector: Iran complying with nuclear deal
Associated Press11/23/17
Speaking Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano told the IAEA’s 35-nation board that the “commitments being undertaken by Iran are being implemented.”


France’s Le Drian says China is ‘well placed to push’ North Korea to talks
China has leverage to persuade North Korea to go back to talks over its nuclear ambitions, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday, after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Russia ready to cooperate for peaceful resolution of N. Korean issues
Yonhap News Agency11/27/17
Russia is ready to cooperate with South Korea to peacefully resolve regional issues involving North Korea, Russia’s top envoy on North Korean nuclear issues said Monday during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart.

Russian diplomat warns ‘apocalyptic scenario’ on Korean Peninsula possible
An apocalyptic scenario of developments on the Korean Peninsula is possible, but Russia hopes that a common sense would prevail among the involved parties, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said on Monday.


US-based think tank rules out possibility of Indo-Pak nuclear war
The Express Tribune11/27/17
A US-based think tank has ruled out the possibility of an all-out nuclear war between nuclear-armed states in Asia. Atlantic Council in its new report, ‘Asia in the Second Nuclear Age’ maintained that Pakistan, China and India, despite being enmeshed in a complex rivalry, “are stakeholders in the existing international order, and are committed to an open economic order and multilateral institutionalism.”


Former Joint Chiefs chairman: Use of nuclear weapons ‘more probable than it used to be’
The Hill11/26/17
Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that he believes it’s “more probable than it used to be” that the world will see the use of nuclear weapons in the near future.

Hawaii reinstates ‘attack warning’ siren to prepare for possible North Korean missile
NBC News11/26/17
Hawaii has become one of the first states in the nation to initiate a nuclear preparedness campaign, and starting Dec. 1, it will reinstate the “attack warning” siren, which it hasn’t tested since the Cold War. The siren will follow the monthly “attention alert” signal, which warns people of an incoming tsunami or hurricane.


Cyber and Space Weapons Are Making Nuclear Deterrence Trickier
Defense OneJames Miller and Richard Fontaine
There is an array of steps the United States and Russia should take to manage these kinds of possible slides down the slippery slope. The first one, however, is understanding the interplay between advances in cyber and counter-space weapons and bilateral nuclear stability. The implications are potentially vast – and deserve close attention both in the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review and by the Congress.

Trump and the nuclear button
Washington PostEditorial Board
Mr. Trump’s personality does not seem likely to change. But there is one area where he could make the world safer: the Cold War procedure, in effect in the United States and Russia, of keeping land- and sea-based nuclear missiles on launch-ready alert. This is a holdover from the era of mutual assured destruction that could be modified in tandem by the United States and Russia, a smart, pragmatic move to ease off the hair-trigger alerts, which pose a threat of miscalculation and catastrophe. The nuclear weapons would still retain their awesome destructive power; they would remain a potent deterrent. But giving a leader more than mere minutes to decide whether to launch them in a crisis seems to be a wise step that Mr. Trump, who carries that nuclear weapons authentication card around with him, can surely appreciate.

A Nuclear Reckoning: Senators Ponder the President’s Power to Launch Armageddon
War on the RocksAlexandra Bell
Nuclear weapons can quite literally end human civilization and with the current U.S. posture, one person can decide to make that nightmare a reality. That is why Congress must continually review and, where necessary, revamp nuclear policies. That is why their constituents need to demand that they do so. Changes to programs of record, operating decisions, or political postures should be made with care and caution, but whistling past a potential global graveyard should not be an option. That is why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing is hopefully just the start of a long-overdue nuclear policy reckoning.

Destroyer of Worlds
Harper’s MagazineElaine Scarry, Erin Schlosser, Lydia Millet, Mohammed Hanif, Rachel Bronson, Theodore Postol
Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape.

Thwarting North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions
National ReviewEvan Moore
The only way North Korea will denuclearize is if its leaders face a choice between abandoning their arsenal and the end of their regime. Instead of embarking on another ill-fated diplomatic endeavor, Mr. Trump must coordinate a comprehensive campaign of economic, political, and military pressure to compel North Korea to renounce its nuclear arsenal.

The Dangers of Nuclear Bombast
Project SyndicateJavier Solana
Finding a strategy that credibly contains the North Korean threat is the only way to ensure that South Korea and Japan do not make the regrettable choice of joining the nuclear club. As Waltz observed, nuclear arms have a tendency to spread. But that does not mean we should resign ourselves to proliferation, let alone play down its catastrophic potential. International security depends on preserving diplomatic success stories such as the JCPOA, which are crucial to avoid contagion and to put an end, once and for all, to dangerous spirals of antagonism and polarization.


Possible explosion detected near Argentine sub’s last-known location
The information about the possible explosion was received on Thursday from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, or CTBTO, an international body that runs a global network of listening posts designed to check for secret atomic blasts.

Could ghost imaging spy satellite be a game changer for Chinese military?
South China Morning Post11/27/17
Gong Wenlin, research director at the Key Laboratory for Quantum Optics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai – whose team is building the prototype ghost imaging device for satellite missions – said their technology was designed to catch “invisibles” like the B-2s.

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