Nuclear Policy News – November 30, 2017

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US, China hold low-key military talks amid NKorea tensions
Associated Press

Russia accuses U.S. of trying to provoke North Korean leader ‘to fly off handle’

Washington Eyes a Cold War Strategy Against North Korea
New York Times


US, China hold low-key military talks amid NKorea tensions
Associated Press11/30/17
As President Donald Trump greeted the North’s launching of another intercontinental ballistic missile with familiar demands for China to get tougher with its ally, the low-profile and unpublicized meeting at the National Defense University in Washington was taking place amid signs China is more willing at this time to discuss how the two world powers would manage an even worse emergency on the divided Korean Peninsula.

Six Minutes to Counterattack: South Korea Shows Plan to Strike Back at North’s Missiles
Wall Street Journal11/30/17
Six minutes later, the army’s ground-based launchers, navy Aegis destroyers and air force F-16 jets began firing missiles into the waters off eastern Korea, in what was meant as a demonstration of Seoul’s readiness for conflict and its ability to hit back.

Chinese envoy calls for restraint over Korean Peninsula nuclear crisis
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains grave. The top priority for now is for all relevant parties to exercise restraint, to comprehensively and strictly implement relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and to strive for an early resumption of dialogue and negotiations,” said Wu Haitao, the charge d’affaires of China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Opposition leader urges Moon to keep military options against N.K. threats
Yonhap News Agency11/29/17
The leader of the minor opposition Bareun Party raised pressure on President Moon Jae-in on Thursday to remain open to military options as “strategic cards” to counter North Korea’s escalating nuclear threats.


Russia accuses U.S. of trying to provoke North Korean leader ‘to fly off handle’
Russia accused the United States on Thursday of trying to provoke North Korean leader Kim Jong Un into “flying off the handle” over his missile program to hand Washington a pretext to destroy his country.

Britain summons North Korean ambassador over missile test
The British Foreign Office said it had summoned the North Korean ambassador to condemn Wednesday’s ballistic missile test.

France finds traces of radioactive cesium in Russian mushrooms
ASN chief Pierre-Franck Chevet told the French senate that following the discovery of a cloud of radioactive pollution coming from Russia in October, levels of radioactive ruthenium 106 in the air had posed no safety threat to French citizens, but that controls on food imports had been strengthened.


US, UK, France won’t send ambassadors to Nobel ceremony
Associated Press11/30/17
Three nuclear powers will send deputy chief of missions — not ambassadors — to the Dec. 10 ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in what the recipient is calling a “snub.”


Launch of new missile increases pressure on U.S. policymakers to confront North Korean threat
Washington Post11/29/17
Pyongyang’s launch of a new, long-range missile this week deepens a chief foreign policy dilemma for the Trump administration, putting the threat of a North Korean nuclear strike closer than ever before without revealing appealing solutions for American policymakers.

Washington Eyes a Cold War Strategy Against North Korea
New York Times11/29/17
When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared on Tuesday that North Korea now had the missile capability to “threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” he hinted at a long-running debate inside the United States government: Can the same strategy that worked against the Soviet Union — mutually assured destruction — also work against a far smaller adversary?

U.S. warns North Korean leadership will be ‘utterly destroyed’ in the case of war
The United States warned North Korea’s leadership it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out after Pyongyang test fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Trump says China’s special envoy appeared to have ‘no impact’ on N.K.
Yonhap News Agency11/30/17
U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that China’s special envoy to North Korea appears to have had “no impact” on reining in North Korea after the country fired a new long-range missile a day earlier.

U.S. calls for global shutdown of all ties to North Korea
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called for a complete shutdown of all ties with North Korea by every nation on Wednesday, the strongest response yet from the Trump administration after the country’s latest missile test.


What North Korean photos say about new ballistic missile
Associated PressEric Talmadge
Their general conclusion is that it’s bigger, more advanced and comes with a domestically made mobile launcher that will make it harder than ever to pre-emptively destroy. But there’s a potentially major catch: it might not have the power to go much farther than the West Coast if it is loaded down with a real nuclear warhead, not a dummy like the one it carried in its test launch on Wednesday.

America is Not Going to Denuclearize North Korea
Defense OneMira Rapp-Hooper
The notion that North Korea has not yet achieved these most advanced capabilities has helped fuel the administration’s apparent interest in preventive military strikes against Pyongyang. The reality, however, has long been that Kim intends to retain his most dangerous capabilities—including the ability to strike the United States. It is long past time for Washington to develop a strategy that carefully manages, rather than blithely denies, this state of affairs.

The thinking behind Kim Jong Un’s ‘madness’
Kim, “obviously a madman” in the eyes of U.S. President Donald Trump, has completed a six-year transition to what the South calls a reign of terror. His unpredictability and belligerence have instilled fear worldwide: After he tested a “breakthrough” missile earlier this week, he pronounced North Korea a nuclear power capable of striking the United States. But a closer look at his leadership reveals a method behind the “madness.”

What The Law of War Says About Nuclear Strikes
NPR All Things ConsideredDavid Welna
Two Air Force generals — one the current U.S. Strategic Forces commander, the other his predecessor — declared publicly this month that they would defy a presidential nuclear launch order if they found it violated the Law of War. So what are the Law of War’s constraints are on a nuclear strike and could it be a plausible check on President Trump’s unilateral power to launch a nuclear strike?

North Korea Says It Has ‘Completed’ Its Nuclear Program
The AtlanticUri Friedman
So … do we all go home now? Is that how this ends—with North Korea sprinting across the finish line, the United States panting behind it, and the two countries learning to deter one another just as nuclear-armed states have since Little Boy and Fat Man fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

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