Nuclear Policy News – September 10, 2018

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Top News

North Korea uses 70th anniversary to push economy, not nukes
Associated Press

Trump Praises North Korea Parade Without Nuclear-Capable Missiles
Voice of America

Making Sense of North Korea’s Nuclear-Free Foundation Day Military Parade: First Takeaways
The Diplomat


East Asia

North Korea uses 70th anniversary to push economy, not nukes
Associated Press9/9/18
North Korea held a major military parade and revived its iconic mass games to celebrate its 70th anniversary, but in keeping with leader Kim Jong Un’s new policies the emphasis was firmly on building up the economy, not on nuclear weapons. The North rolled out some of its latest tanks and marched its best-trained goose-stepping units in Sunday’s parade but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the event to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy.

Trump Praises North Korea Parade Without Nuclear-Capable Missiles
Voice of America9/9/18
U.S. President Donald Trump said it was “a big and very positive statement” that North Korea staged its latest military parade without its usual display of missiles capable of striking the U.S. “Thank you To Chairman Kim,” Trump tweeted after Sunday’s 70th anniversary parade celebrating the country’s founding.

North Korea is still making nukes, and the Trump admin is taking a harder line
NBC News9/10/18
As President Donald Trump issues a steady stream of praise for Kim Jong Un in interviews and on Twitter, a steady stream of evidence that North Korea is still making nuclear weapons has pushed his administration to take a much more aggressive stance toward Pyongyang. The newest intelligence shows Kim’s regime has escalated efforts to conceal its nuclear activity, according to three senior U.S. officials.

Middle East

Iran completes facility to build centrifuges: nuclear chief
Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief was quoted on Sunday as saying, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the United States exits. In June, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the facility at the Natanz nuclear plant would be completed within a month.


Russian lawmaker: North Korea’s leader confirmed readiness to visit Russia – RIA
Kim Jong Un has confirmed his readiness to visit Russia, the RIA news agency quoted speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko as saying after she met the North Korean leader in Pyongyang on Saturday. Kim “wants peace”, Matvienko said after the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

North Korea and U.S. return to negotiating table over Korean War remains
Washington Post9/7/18
The United States and North Korea returned to the negotiating table Friday, with generals from the two countries meeting to discuss the possible recovery of more remains from service members killed in the Korean War, an official said. It was the first known direct talks between the two sides since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang was canceled last month, although President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged messages this week through South Korean mediation.

Trump expecting ‘positive’ letter from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un soon
“I know that a letter is being delivered to me, a personal letter from Kim Jong Un to me. It was handed at the border … yesterday,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “It’s being delivered. It’s actually an elegant way… and I think it’s going to be a positive letter.” The two leaders have traded correspondence as they negotiate over North Korea’s nuclear program and Trump has also praised Kim on social media.

Trump policy on Iran ‘dangerous and ill-advised,’ Kerry says
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement he helped negotiate was “dangerous and ill-advised.” Speaking on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Kerry called the deal the “single strongest, single most accountable, single most transparent nuclear agreement anywhere in the world,” saying Trump had mucked everything up by exaggerating the importance of potential long-term problems.

Opinion and Analysis

Making Sense of North Korea’s Nuclear-Free Foundation Day Military Parade: First Takeaways
The DiplomatAnkit Panda
In many ways, this is North Korea operating more like regular nuclear powers do. While it may not pursue the total opacity that a nuclear power like Israel adopted—especially given the long history of prominent and overt signaling of its nuclear capability—Pyongyang may treat the public presentation of its nuclear weapons capability more in the way that India or Pakistan do. Above all, for North Korea, nuclear weapons are now being framed as an enabler of the country’s ability to securely pursue economic development under the “new strategic line.”

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