Nuclear Policy News – November 7, 2017

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Moon, Trump agree to build up deterrence, urge N. Korea to give up nukes
Yonhap News Agency

Iran urges Europe to push business ties as U.S. brings nuclear deal into doubt

Kerry urges Congress to avoid ‘gigantic mistake’ on Iran deal
Daily Star


Moon, Trump agree to build up deterrence, urge N. Korea to give up nukes
Yonhap News Agency11/7/17
The presidents of South Korea and the United States agreed Tuesday to completely remove the limit on the payload of South Korean ballistic missiles and discuss Seoul’s introduction of nuclear-powered submarines and other advanced weapons, Seoul officials said.

N.K. vows to bolster its nuke power on Trump’s visit to S. Korea
Yonhap News Agency11/7/17
North Korea on Tuesday reaffirmed its resolve to strengthen its nuclear power as U.S. President Donald Trump is set to arrive in Seoul for a two-day visit amid Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threats.

War With Kim Jong Un ‘Must Not Happen,’ South Korea Says
NBC News11/7/17
Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program must be halted by diplomacy and not military action, South Korea’s foreign minister told NBC News ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to the country.

At North Korea’s doorstep, Trump warns of U.S. power while also striking conciliatory note
President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of U.S. military power to stop any attack, but in a more conciliatory appeal than ever before he urged Pyongyang to “make a deal” to end the nuclear standoff.

In Seoul, Trump calls or North Korea to make a deal
Associated Press11/7/17
Trump, in his first day on the Korean peninsula, again pushed Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but sidelined apocalyptic threats for an optimistic note, saying confidently, if vaguely, that “ultimately, it’ll all work out.” And while he said the United States would use military force if needed, he expressed his strongest inclination yet to deal with rising tensions with Pyongyang through diplomacy.


Iran urges Europe to push business ties as U.S. brings nuclear deal into doubt
Europe must make clear how it will react if the United States pulls out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran and do more to encourage international banks to return to the country, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday.

UN nuclear agency counters Trump objections to Iran deal
Financial Times11/7/17
Yukiya Amano said the IAEA’s inspectors are able to visit military sites if needed, as he countered objections hurled at the Iran nuclear deal by President Donald Trump.


Russia starts development of Borei-B nuclear-powered submarines
Russia has started building Borei-B class strategic nuclear-powered submarines, chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff Valery Gerasimov said. “Work to create the advanced Borei-B nuclear-powered missile underwater cruiser has started,” he said at a Defense Ministry Board meeting.

Putin, Trump likely to discuss North Korea issue at APEC summit – Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump are likely to discuss pressing global problems, including the North Korea issue, on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.


India Successfully Test Fires Indigenous Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile
The Diplomat11/7/17
India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-launched a nuclear-capable Nirbhay cruise missile, the country’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range cruise missile on November 7, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced in a statement.


Kerry urges Congress to avoid ‘gigantic mistake’ on Iran deal
Daily Star11/7/17
Former Secretary of State John Kerry Monday warned the U.S. Congress that it would be “extraordinarily dangerous” for it to reject the Iran nuclear deal that he helped broker. President Donald Trump last month decertified Iran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement, but stopped short of scrapping the deal outright, instead handing the issue over to Congress.

Columbia Class Ballistic Missile Sub On Schedule, Down to $7.2 Billion Apiece
UNSI News11/6/17
The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program (SSBN-826) is coming down in cost and staying on schedule despite an early challenge, program officials said last week. After moving into engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) at the beginning of 2017 and beginning early construction prototyping activities, the SSBN program is proving it can leverage all the tools at its disposal to take cost and schedule out of the Navy’s top acquisition priority.

Kerry: Trump’s rhetoric gave North Korea a reason to say ‘Hey, we need a bomb’
The Hill11/6/17
“And I think the rhetoric to date has frankly stepped over the line with respect to the messages that are being sent. It’s given North Korea a reason to say ‘Hey we need a bomb because if we don’t have a bomb, we’re going to — you know — not be able to protect themselves and they’ll come after us.’”


Trump Should Help North Korea Keep Its Nukes Safe
The AtlanticMichael Auslin
It may seem counterintuitive, but the U.S. needs to worry less about the risk of a North Korean nuclear war than about a nuclear accident. And as President Trump embarks on his trip through Asia, he would do well—as crazy as this sounds—to consider how the U.S. can help Kim keep his nukes safe. The best partner in this effort might well be China, the North’s only official ally and its major supporter. Regardless of the state of Sino-North Korean relations, which appear to be in a rough patch right now, Beijing remains the only actor close enough to Pyongyang to even try to instill some nuclear responsibility.

Iran’s hardliners said the US could not be trusted – Trump may prove them right
ProspectCatherine Ashton
Removing the sanctions allowed Iran to get hold of its assets and for trade and investment to develop.   Instead, many companies who might be considering investment, or wanting to trade with Iran, are now holding back. This is bad news for the forces of moderation in Tehran. It is also bad news for the US. It risks cutting off any chance of talking with Iran about other issues about which it has real concerns. Let us hope Congress helps President Trump to think again.

Slouching Toward War With North Korea
New York TimesNicholas Kristof
Security experts overwhelmingly say the least terrible choice is the deal for a freeze on North Korean testing in exchange for reductions in sanctions or U.S.-South Korean military exercises, but at this point it’s not clear that either Washington or Pyongyang would agree to such an arrangement. Deterrence is next best, and war is the worst option. But that’s the option Trump seems headed toward.

What China Gains With Its Détente With South Korea Over THAAD
The Diplomat, Ankit Panda
The implications of this agreement may be far more serious. While the benefits for South Korea are apparent, the agreement also represents China securing an assurance from a U.S. ally that it will indefinitely refrain from certain types of actions within the scope of its alliance with the United States. This type of Chinese interference in limiting the future scope of a U.S. alliance is unprecedented and unsettling over the long-term. The playbook with THAAD — establishing economic leverage through unjustified economic sanctions and then lifting those sanctions after concessions on future behavior — is a coercive approach that may work elsewhere with U.S. allies and partners too.


What Do Americans Think About War With North Korea?
The Diplomat, Timothy S. Rich
Furthermore, although previous research finds Americans supportive of additional troops if North Korea attacks South Korea, respondents in my survey that received any of the casualty-referencing prompts were less supportive of increasing the number of U.S. armed forces stationed in South Korea (currently at approximately 28,000 soldiers). In addition, respondents that received information on potential South Korean casualties were more likely to say North Korea did not have a right to nuclear weapons.

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