Nuclear Policy News – October 29, 2018

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Trump’s Iran sanctions resolve faces test from oil-thirsty China, India

On North Korea, the South’s Leader Has One Key Point: Kim Jong-un Is Different
New York Times

U.S. Charges Singaporean Trader With Laundering Money For North Korea


East Asia

On North Korea, the South’s Leader Has One Key Point: Kim Jong-un Is Different
New York Times10/29/18
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea takes every opportunity to describe Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, as a “young and candid” strategist, one who is ready to bargain away his nuclear arsenal to secure economic growth for his impoverished nation. In doing so, Mr. Moon is attempting something that his predecessors who favored dialogue with the North also tried to do, but failed: changing North Korea’s global image as a regime that simply cannot be trusted.

US urges North Korea denuclearization before ‘shared goal’ of ending war
North Korea must take steps towards verified denuclearization before achieving the “shared goal” of an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War, a U.S. envoy said on Monday. Stephen Biegun, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, was in Seoul to meet senior South Korean officials, including his counterpart Lee Do-hoon, amid rising signs of discord between the allies on North Korea.

Middle East

Trump’s Iran sanctions resolve faces test from oil-thirsty China, India
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May he would reimpose sanctions on Iran, the State Department began telling countries around the world the clock was ticking for them to cut oil purchases from the Islamic Republic to zero. With just days to go before renewed sanctions take effect Nov. 5, the reality is setting in: three of Iran’s top five customers – India, China, and Turkey – are resisting Washington’s call to end purchases outright, arguing there are not sufficient supplies worldwide to replace them, according to sources familiar with the matter.


Russia says preparing answers to U.S. questions on arms control pact: RIA
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that Moscow has started preparing answers to the questions related to arms control pact delivered by U.S. officials, RIA news agency quoted him as saying. “Just a week ago, a couple of days ahead of the announcement of the (U.S.) aim to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, Americans via their embassy in Moscow sent the Russian foreign ministry an extensive list of questions which are a concern to them,” Lavrov said.

Czech leader tells Mattis quitting nuclear deal would be bad
Associated Press10/28/18
The Czech Republic’s prime minister has told U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that a possible U.S. withdrawal from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty would be wrong. Andrej Babis told reporters in Prague on Sunday that relations (with Russia) “aren’t ideal and we’re returning to Cold War times.” Babis said that “it would be good for the superpowers to cooperate.”

Multilateral Arms Control

Nuclear ban treaty could come into force in 2019, campaigners say
A treaty banning nuclear weapons could come into force by the end of 2019, backers of a campaign that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize said in an annual progress report on Monday. The treaty aims to stigmatize nuclear weapons as previous treaties marginalized landmines and cluster munitions. Signatories promise to reject nuclear strategies and encourage others to follow suit.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

U.S. Charges Singaporean Trader With Laundering Money For North Korea
The Department of Justice is accusing a Singaporean trader of helping North Korea circumvent sanctions, saying Tan Wee Beng laundered millions of dollars through the U.S. and Singapore. “Tan Wee Beng and his co-conspirators made deliberate efforts to launder money through the U.S. financial system on behalf of North Korea,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Thursday from the agency announcing the DOJ’s charges.

Trump faces complaints that new Iran sanctions are too weak
Associated Press10/27/18
A battle is brewing between the Trump administration and some of the president’s biggest supporters in Congress who are concerned that sanctions to be re-imposed on Iran early next month won’t be tough enough. As President Donald Trump prepares to re-impose a second batch of Iran sanctions that had been eased under the 2015 nuclear deal, conservative lawmakers and outside advisers have become worried that the administration may break a promise to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran.

Opinion and Analysis

Surviving The U.S. Withdrawal From The Iran Nuclear Deal: What We Do—And Don’t—Need To Worry About
War on the RocksEric Brewer
The Trump administration must move beyond simplistic criticisms of the JCPOA and unrealistic demands on Iran, and toward more limited, concrete proposals that have a chance of working.

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