Nuclear Policy News – November 30, 2018

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Top News

Republicans press Trump to get tough with Russia on nuclear talks amid Ukraine crisis
The Hill

Trump, South Korea’s Moon to Meet at G-20 with North Korea Talks Stalled
Voice of America

Russia-Ukraine sea clash puts spotlight on 1994 agreement
NBC News

Elizabeth Warren, Eyeing 2020, Decries Military Overreach
New York Times


East Asia

Trump, South Korea’s Moon to Meet at G-20 with North Korea Talks Stalled
Voice of America11/30/18
U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the Group of 20 summit, where they are likely to discuss stalled nuclear negotiations with North Korea. Experts said the meeting on the sidelines of the two-day gathering that begins Friday in Buenos Aires is unlikely to resolve the differences between Washington and Pyongyang over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

South Korea sends a train into North for the first time in a decade
Washington Post11/30/18
A South Korean train rolled across the heavily militarized frontier into North Korea for the first time in a decade on Friday, as Seoul pushed ahead with a plan to reunite the two railway networks despite heavy U.N. sanctions. The train pulled six cars carrying dozens of South Korean officials and experts, who will undertake an 18-day, 750-mile survey of railway tracks in the North. The journey required special permission from the United Nations to carry equipment and fuel into the North despite the sanctions regime.


Russia-Ukraine sea clash puts spotlight on 1994 agreement
NBC News11/29/18
Twenty-five years ago, Ukraine was the world’s third-largest nuclear power, with more warheads than the United Kingdom, France and China combined. The government in Kiev inherited this arsenal after the breakup of the Soviet Union, finding itself in possession of an estimated 5,000 nuclear weapons, more than 170 intercontinental ballistic missiles and several dozen nuclear bombers. In 1994, Ukraine agreed to dismantle this stockpile in return for a promise from Russia that the country wouldn’t be attacked.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Trump administration tries to reassure Europe ahead of expected withdrawal from arms control treaty
Washington Post11/29/18
The Trump administration is stepping up efforts to convince European allies that its looming withdrawal from a landmark arms-control treaty on account of Russian violations is the right course of action. Among other steps, the administration is assuring allies that none of the missiles the United States would contemplate deploying after withdrawing from the Cold War-era pact would be armed with nuclear warheads, according to a senior U.S. official.

Republicans press Trump to get tough with Russia on nuclear talks amid Ukraine crisis
The Hill11/29/18
Nearly half of the Senate Republican conference is pressing President Trump to adopt a tough stance on nuclear arms control with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of Russian aggression against Ukrainian naval forces on the Sea of Azov. Trump announced Thursday that he would cancel a scheduled meeting with Putin at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after Russian forces captured three Ukrainian naval ships during a territorial dispute.

Elizabeth Warren, Eyeing 2020, Decries Military Overreach
New York Times11/29/18
Senator Elizabeth Warren inched closer to a likely presidential run Thursday, making a major foreign policy speech that cited the need to rein in “unsustainable and ill-advised military commitments” across the world. The speech had several policy proposals that are sure to reverberate among other 2020 presidential hopefuls. Ms. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, called for an end to the war in Afghanistan, a rethinking of American troop deployment abroad, a commitment to a new nuclear posture including increased arms control and a no-first-use policy.

Opinion and Analysis

Why America needs low-yield nuclear warheads now
Washington PostJon Kyl and Michael Morell
The Russians believe we are not likely to risk a global thermonuclear war in response to a “tactical” nuclear attack by them. We must change that calculation; we must close the credibility gap. To convince Moscow that there are no possible benefits to limited nuclear escalation, the United States needs to diversify its nuclear delivery system options on the lower levels of the escalatory ladder, including adding submarine-launched missiles and sea-launched cruise missiles with low-yield nuclear warheads.

North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM: New Data Indicates Shorter Range Than Many Thought
38 NorthMichael Elleman
Remarkably, when all available data from the July 28 test are combined, the models and findings converge to create a consistent picture of the Hwasong-14’s capabilities. The Hwasong-14 could deliver a North Korean nuclear weapon to Seattle assuming an overall RV mass of about 500 kg, of which the nuclear bomb contributes roughly 300 kg. If North Korea wishes to target Chicago, New York or Washington, DC with a nuclear weapon, it will have to rely on the larger, more powerful Hwasong-15, which has only been flight tested once.

Not So Fast, Rep. Smith: Why We Need Modernized Nuclear Weapons
Breaking DefenseThomas Callender
We cannot take the deterrent effect of our current nuclear enterprise for granted. Other nations continue to modernize and expand their nuclear forces. If U.S. nuclear forces are not properly maintained and modernized, they will lose their ability to effectively deter potential adversaries.

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