Nuclear Policy News – October 17, 2017

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North Korea rejects diplomacy with US for now, source saysCNN

U.S., Japanese officials arrive in Seoul for talks on N.K. nukesYonhap News Agency

EU Foreign Ministers Agree to Stand by Iran Nuclear DealWall Street Journal

U.S. official says not ruling out eventual direct talks with North KoreaReuters


North Korea rejects diplomacy with US for now, source says
A North Korean official reaffirmed Pyongyang’s commitment to developing a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching “all the way to the East coast of the mainland US,” on Monday, telling CNN that the rogue nation is currently not interested in diplomacy with the US until it achieves that goal.

North Korea warns states: Don’t join any U.S. action and you’re safe
North Korea warned countries at the United Nations on Monday in a statement: don’t join the United States in military action against the Asian state and you will be safe from retaliation.

North Korea says ‘a nuclear war may break out any moment’
Associated Press10/16/17
North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”

US, Japan agree to maximize diplomatic pressure on N. Korea
Associated Press10/17/17
U.S. and Japanese diplomats agreed Tuesday to maximize pressure on North Korea to resolve tensions over its nuclear program, while citing the need to be prepared for the worst if diplomacy fails.

U.S., Japanese officials arrive in Seoul for talks on N.K. nukes
Yonhap News Agency10/17/17
Senior U.S. and Japanese diplomats arrived in Seoul Tuesday to discuss diplomatic measures to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.


Russian, Iranian diplomats to discuss Iran nuclear deal this week: Ifax
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will meet Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi in Moscow this week to discuss the situation around the Iran nuclear deal, the Interfax news agency quoted the Russian as saying on Tuesday.

No country should ditch nuclear deal: CTBTO chief
Tehran Times10/16/17
Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Lassina Zerbo said on Monday that no country should take actions to ditch the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


EU endorses new sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency10/17/17
The European Union has banned sales of crude oil refined petroleum products to North Korea as it further tightened sanctions on the communist country over its nuclear and missile programs.

EU Foreign Ministers Agree to Stand by Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal10/16/17
European foreign ministers on Monday attacked President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his administration’s backing for the Iranian nuclear agreement, calling the move a serious mistake that could lead to a military confrontation with Tehran.

NATO conducts annual nuclear defense drill in Western Europe
NATO countries on Monday kicked off its annual nuclear drill at two bases in Western Europe — part of a three-week event to test defenses. Military leaders conducted the nuclear defense drill, called “Steadfast Noon,” at Kleine Brogel in Belgium and Buchel in Germany — two bases where the U.S. military stores nuclear weapons.


Japanese A-bomb survivor and activists press nations to ratify nuclear ban pact
Japan Times10/17/17
A survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki joined activists and diplomats Monday to press Japan and other countries to quickly ratify a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons.


U.S. official says not ruling out eventual direct talks with North Korea
The United States is not ruling out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said on Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang warned nuclear war might break out at any moment.

Key Republican says Trump must work with Europe on Iran
U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday to work closely with European allies as it develops its new Iran policy.

Trump says ‘total termination’ of Iran deal possible
Associated Press10/16/17
President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his threat to fully withdraw the United States from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, while holding out the possibility that fixes to the accord may prevent an American pullout.


Trump’s Irrational Hatred of the Iran Deal
The New YorkerEvan Osnos
Decertifying the Iran agreement would fracture the United States’ credibility among its original partners in the deal. It would open a rift with China just as it is weighing whether to join the United States again, this time in negotiating with North Korea. Global Times, a state-backed Chinese newspaper, has asked, “If America would overturn a pact it made to the rest of the world, solely because of a transition in government, how can it retain the reputation of a great power?”

Between disarmament and deterrence
The HinduToby Dalton
But civil society actors and governments concerned about disarmament should not be tempted to rest on the laurels of this achievement. If they are to make further progress, they must also focus on practical steps to reduce the risks of nuclear weapons being used. Without such work, the prohibition treaty risks becoming merely a moral victory, rather than contributing to concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Is the U.S. about to ‘cheat’ on the Iran nuclear deal? Here’s how this could backfire\
Washington PostJane Vaynman
The JCPOA, with its tough monitoring regime, is not kind to cheaters on either side of the bargain. The Trump administration may find that the monitoring provisions intended to restrain Iran may also complicate future U.S. negotiation efforts and undermine U.S. credibility.

Trump’s Iran Strategy Looks Ominously Familiar
PoliticoPhilip Gordon
The question now is whether Congress will learn the lessons of that experience and prevent the president from repeating these same missteps—or if it will again be complicit in a colossal foreign policy debacle.

What’s our Iran policy, again?
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
Members of the administration have to answer a basic question: Have they come around to the view that no JCPOA is better than a flawed JCPOA, even if our allies stay in? If so, that’s going to set off a firestorm in Congress and internationally. If it’s not true, Trump should stop making empty threats.


How to survive a nuclear bomb in DC (yes, really)
Washington Examiner10/16/17
Most Washingtonians have spent at least a little time over the past few weeks wondering what’s going to happen as Kim Jong Un and President Trump rattle sabers on Twitter and in the press. The nuclear war tightrope is a difficult one to walk, but both men seem determined to do so and it’s caused a renewal of interest in what sort of nuclear protocols the city has on hand.

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