Nuclear Policy News – November 29, 2017

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North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump
New York Times

Graham: U.S. ‘headed to war if things don’t change’ with North Korea

U.S. top diplomat urges new steps to press N. Korea to abandon weapons programs


North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump
New York Times11/28/17
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew both higher and longer than previous such launches, a bold act of defiance against President Trump after he put the country back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

North Korea Launches Biggest ICBM Yet, Despite U.S. Sanctions
Foreign Policy11/28/17
The missile, fired from Sain Ni, flew over 600 miles and peaked at an altitude of about 2,900 miles above the earth, higher than the record 2,800-mile altitude reached in a July test. Missile experts said the long flight time — more than 50 minutes — and high trajectory suggested that the missile could have as much as 8,000-mile range, enough to put Washington, D.C. in the crosshairs. The U.S. Defense Department confirmed that the launch was an ICBM.

Korean, Japanese foreign ministers have phone talks to discuss N.K. missiles
Yonhap News Agency11/29/17
South Korea and Japan’s foreign ministers had a telephone conversation Wednesday to discuss North Korea’s launch of a new, longer-range ballistic missile early in the day and how to respond to the provocation, the South Korean foreign ministry said. In the 20-minute conversation that began at 4:40 p.m., South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha expressed “deep concern” over the North’s resumption of provocations despite repeated warnings from the international community.

China expresses strong objection after N. Korean missile test
Yonhap News Agency11/29/17
China voiced its strong objection and concerns over North Korea’s latest missile test Wednesday, joining South Korea, the United States and Japan in denouncing the North’s first weapons test in nearly 11 weeks.

PM: N.K. missile launch might not have been full success
Yonhap News Agency11/29/17
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Wednesday that North Korea’s latest test of a long-range missile might not have been a full success as it lost contact with the control center on the ground in the middle of the flight.


Israel, Egypt Pushed U.S. to Bomb Iran Before Nuclear Deal, John Kerry Says
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said both Israel and Egypt pushed the United States to “bomb Iran” before the 2015 nuclear deal was struck.

JCPOA Too Strong to Be Easily Scrapped: Iranian President
Tasnim News Agency11/29/17
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said over the past year, Washington has been seeking to ruin the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but it has gotten nowhere due to the strength of the deal.


Germany sharply condemns N. Korea missile launch
Associated Press11/29/17
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has sharply condemned North Korea’s latest missile test. Gabriel said in a statement Wednesday that “the ruthless behavior of North Korea is an enormous threat for international security.” He said that “the regime in Pyongyang has again escalated tensions in the region with its latest test.” Gabriel added that the missile launch was “proof what a threat North Korea poses for world peace.”

Non-nuclear concerns should not undermine JCPOA: German ambassador
Tehran Times11/29/17
Germany will continue to make it clear that concerns about nonnuclear issues should not be used as pretext to jeopardize the Iran deal, aka the JCPOA, Germany’s ambassador to Tehran says in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times.

Moscow calls on Pyongyang to stop its missile nuclear tests
Russia calls on North Korea to stop its missile nuclear tests and the US and South Korea to hold off from the drills scheduled for December, the Russian Foreign Ministry said due to a regular missile test conducted by North Korea on Wednesday.


Graham: U.S. ‘headed to war if things don’t change’ with North Korea
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday warned that the U.S. could be hurtling toward a war with North Korea “if things don’t change” after the country’s latest weapons test. Graham, an outspoken defense hawk, told CNN during an interview that he believes “every test puts them closer” to a military conflict.

Trump: ‘We will handle’ North Korea missile launch
The Hill11/28/17
President Trump on Tuesday expressed confidence following North Korea’s latest missile launch, saying “it’s a situation we will handle.” “We will take care of it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “It is a situation that we will handle.”

U.S. top diplomat urges new steps to press N. Korea to abandon weapons programs
“In addition to implementing all existing U.N. sanctions, the international community must take additional measures to enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic” traveling to North Korea, Tillerson said in a statement.


From North Korea, With Dread
New York TimesAdam B. Ellick and Jonah M. Kessel
The risk of war is greater than the public appreciates. There’s a complacency surrounding this crisis, which has been kicked down the road by several American presidents. Now, with war more likely than ever, talks are even more urgent, and we hope this video can serve as a call for politicians on both sides to seek exit ramps for peace.

Analysis: N. Korea may declare ‘victory,’ turn to economy
Associated PressFoster Klug
The nightmare scenario, made reality again Wednesday, is terrifying and increasingly routine. Yet there are signs it might also signal something surprising: a calculated bit of restraint as Pyongyang nears a unique potential declaration, possibly in leader Kim Jong Un’s annual New Year’s Day speech. The North, some speculate, may announce that since it now considers itself a nuclear power equal to the United States, it can put more effort into Kim’s other priority of trying to fix one of the world’s worst economies.

War with North Korea is not a viable option
Japan TimesDoug Bandow
In any case, the U.S. would escape the conundrum of choosing between war and nuclear threat. There is no reason to believe Kim is suicidal. The North seeks to avoid American involvement, not trigger it. Stepping back militarily and allowing prosperous and populous states to take over their own defense surely is better than starting the very war Washington has spent 64 years attempting to prevent. North Korea is the land of second-best solutions, it has been said. But war is far worse than second best.

North Korea punctures a pause
Politics and StrategyMark Fitzpatrick
The best option for dealing with North Korea is to take a longer-term approach. There is no reason that the deterrence and containment policies which prevented the Soviet Union and China from using their nuclear weapons cannot work vis-à-vis North Korea. Meanwhile, every effort should be made to inform the North Korean people that their government is corrupt and unworthy. Eventually, the North Korean regime will change or fall from within.

US would be wise to prepare for EMP attacks on its cities
The HillIlan Berman
Rather, the time to do so is now, ahead of any potential EMP event, and with the understanding that serious, sustained investments in the resiliency of our national infrastructure would diminish not only the impact of EMP weapons, but also their appeal in the calculus of America’s adversaries.

China Should Send 30,000 Troops Into North Korea
Foreign Policy, Alton Frye
What it could do is shore up a policy of reassurance, removing any doubt that China would be engaged in the case of an attack against North Korea. That reassurance could relieve Pyongyang’s expressed fear of American aggression and thus remove the justification for its destabilizing nuclear- and missile-test programs. Coupled with offers to relax economic sanctions and political isolation, this initiative should offer maximum incentive for Kim Jong Un to suspend such tests.


75 Years Ago, Scientists Conducted An Unprecedented Nuclear Experiment
Seventy-five years ago this week, scientists from the University of Chicago created the first controlled, self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, a feat that was essential in the development of an atomic bomb during World War II.

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