Nuclear Policy News – October 23, 2018

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Top News

Trump threatens nuclear buildup until other nations ‘come to their senses’

Bolton meets with Moscow after Trump threatens to exit landmark nuclear weapons treaty
Los Angeles Times

Japan to urge U.S. not to leave nuke pact, citing possible arms race, North Korea denuclearization
The Japan Times

EU warns Trump of nuclear arms race risk after INF withdrawal move
The Guardian

East Asia

Japan to urge U.S. not to leave nuke pact, citing possible arms race, North Korea denuclearization
The Japan Times10/23/18
The government plans to call on the United States not to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, sources have said. Tokyo is concerned that Washington’s possible unilateral withdrawal from the key nuclear treaty could accelerate its arms race with Russia and China, and hinder progress toward North Korea’s denuclearization.

China says United States is wrong to pull out of nuclear arms pact
It is wrong of the United States to unilaterally pull out of a landmark Cold War-ear treaty that eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe, China said on Monday. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing that China was opposed to the withdrawal.

North Korea bought at least $640 million in luxury goods from China in 2017, South Korea lawmaker says
North Korea imported at least $640 million worth of luxury goods from China last year, in defiance of U.N. sanctions outlawing such trade over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, a South Korean lawmaker said on Monday. The United States has urged strict implementation of sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign which Washington has credited with bringing impoverished North Korea to the negotiating table.

Two Koreas, U.N. forces agree to remove weapons at border
North and South Korea and the U.N. Command agreed on Monday to withdraw firearms and guard posts in the demilitarized zone village of Panmunjom this week, Seoul’s defense ministry said, the latest move in a fast-improving relationship.


Russia pledges ‘balance’ if U.S. quits nuclear pact; Trump eyes more weapons
Russia said on Monday it would be forced to respond in kind to restore the military balance with the United States if President Donald Trump carried through on a threat to quit a nuclear arms treaty and began developing new missiles. But Moscow signaled it may be willing to give some ground, with a senior official telling Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, that Russia was ready to address U.S. concerns about how the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was being implemented.

Russia says US is increasing nukes in military planning
Associated Press10/22/18
A senior Russian official voiced concerns Monday that Washington is increasing the role of nuclear weapons in its military planning as part of a stepped-up campaign by the Trump administration to ensure “U.S. military superiority over the rest of the world,” while he also denied U.S. allegations that Moscow has violated an arms treaty. Andrei Belousov, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, told the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee that Russia is “especially concerned” at the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.

EU warns Trump of nuclear arms race risk after INF withdrawal move
The Guardian10/23/18
The EU has warned Donald Trump about the risk of a new nuclear arms race after the US president announced that he was pulling out of a Reagan-era arms control treaty. John Bolton, Trump’s hawkish national security adviser who has lobbied for US withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, is in Moscow to discuss the treaty, which the US accuses Russia of violating with the development of a new ground-launched missile.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Trump threatens nuclear buildup until other nations ‘come to their senses’
President Donald Trump told reporters Monday that the United States would increase its nuclear arsenal until other nations “come to their senses,” threatening an arms race days after he said he would withdraw the US from a Cold War nuclear treaty. Trump announced over the weekend that he intended to pull the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia and accused Moscow of violating the deal.

Bolton meets with Moscow after Trump threatens to exit landmark nuclear weapons treaty
Los Angeles Times10/22/18
U.S. national security advisor John Bolton arrived in Moscow on Monday to begin two days of talks on a spectrum of issues testing U.S.-Russia relations. But one in particular has come to dominate Moscow’s attention: President Trump’s intention — announced at a campaign rally Saturday — to withdraw from a landmark Cold War nuclear arms treaty.

The Rest Of The Story: Trump, DoD & Hill Readied INF Pullout For Years
Breaking Defense10/22/18
Unreleased Pentagon documents and Congressional demands for information reveal that Washington has long planned for the day when the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia would be ripped up. The report by the Joint Staff and Strategic Command, exclusively obtained by Breaking Defense, make clear that as far back as 2013 — a year before the Obama administration first publicly complained about Russian violations of the treaty — the Defense Department was considering which technologies the US could develop should Washington walk away from the INF.

Opinion and Analysis

Right Idea, Wrong Approach by Trump on Nuclear Pact
BloombergHal Brands
Trump is right that this Cold War-era pact, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, no longer suits American interests. But he’s wrong if he thinks that simply walking away will improve the U.S. competitive position.

Trump Is Right to Leave This Nuclear Agreement
The AtlanticKori Schake
Even if the administration’s motives are not honorable, and the likelihood is low that it can adroitly exit the treaty while sustaining allied unity, there is a reasonable case to be made for withdrawal.

A Serial Killing Spree That Threatens Us All
Defense OneJoe Cirincione
Just in time for Halloween, John Bolton emerges from the basement of the White House to continue his serial killing spree of arms control agreements.

Special Interest

The 2018 UK PONI Papers
RUSIThe 2018 UK PONI Papers examine contemporary civil and military nuclear issues and are written by emerging experts from academia, government and industry who presented at the 2018 UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI) Annual Conference.

Joachim Ronneberg, Leader of Raid That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb, Dies at 99
New York Times10/22/18
In one of the most celebrated commando raids of World War II, Lieutenant Ronneberg and his demolition team sneaked past guards and a barracks full of German troops, stole into a plant, set explosive charges and blew up Hitler’s hopes for a critical ingredient to create the first atomic bomb. Mr. Ronneberg, the last surviving member of the 1943 raid and one of the most decorated war heroes of a nation renowned for valorous resistance to the 1940-45 German Occupation, died on Sunday in Alesund, Norway, his daughter, Birte Ronneberg, said. He was 99.

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