Nuclear Policy News – September 11, 2018

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Top News

White House say talks have begun with North Korea for second meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un
Washington Post

South Korean Leader Urges ‘Bold Decisions’ on North’s Denuclearization
New York Times

AP Interview: Iran nuclear chief says atomic program strong
Associated Press


East Asia

South Korean Leader Urges ‘Bold Decisions’ on North’s Denuclearization
New York Times9/11/18
As President Trump considers a second summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea called Tuesday for both leaders to make “bold decisions” that will keep the process of North Korean denuclearization moving forward. “If we are to move up to a higher level and realize the dismantlement of the nuclear assets owned by North Korea, it requires big ideas and bold decisions from the leaders of the North and the United States,” Mr. Moon said during a cabinet meeting in Seoul on Tuesday.

Abe and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon agree to work toward nuclear-free North Korea
Japan Times9/11/18
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon agreed Tuesday to work together toward the denuclearization of North Korea, before the third inter-Korean summit next week. “I would like to express my respect to your country’s persistent efforts seeking to improve South and North Korean ties and bridge between the United States and the North,” Abe said at the outset of the meeting in Vladivostok, which was held on the sidelines of a regional economic forum.

Middle East

AP Interview: Iran nuclear chief says atomic program strong
Associated Press9/11/18
Iran’s nuclear chief told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he hopes the atomic deal between Tehran and world powers survives, but warns the program will be in a stronger position than ever if not. The remarks by Ali Akbar Salehi, who also serves as a vice president to Iran’s elected leader Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran tries to salvage an accord now challenged by President Donald Trump


Analysts: Russia’s Vostok ’18 Troop Numbers, ‘China Alliance’ Claims Questionable
Voice of America9/11/18
Russia’s week-long deployment alongside Chinese and Mongolian troops, known as “Vostok-2018” (East-2018), comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in Western affairs and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. Some experts question both the transparency of Vostok-2018 troop estimates and the political significance of China’s inaugural participation.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Trump open to meeting North Korea’s Kim again despite lack of denuclearization progress
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that President Donald Trump is open to another meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un despite national security adviser John Bolton’s assertion that the US is still waiting for Pyongyang to take steps toward denuclearization. Trump has received another letter from Kim, which Sanders described Monday as “very warm” and “very positive,” noting that the White House will not release the letter unless Kim agrees.

White House say talks have begun with North Korea for second meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un
Washington Post9/10/18
The White House said Monday that talks are underway with North Korea over setting up a second summit meeting between President Trump and leader Kim Jong Un, as the two sides seek to put stalled nuclear negotiations back on track. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Kim requested the follow-up to the historic Singapore summit in June in a “warm, very positive letter” to Trump delivered in recent days.

Bolton Expands on His Boss’s Views, Except on North Korea
The New York Times9/10/18
On the same day that the White House welcomed a letter to Mr. Trump from Kim Jong-un, proposing another meeting of the two leaders, Mr. Bolton struck a markedly less optimistic tone, expressing frustration that Mr. Kim had not yet begun to fulfill his promise to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons. “The possibility of another meeting between the two presidents obviously exists,” Mr. Bolton said, “but President Trump can’t make the North Koreans walk through the door he’s holding open. They’re the ones that have to take the steps to denuclearize, and that’s what we’re waiting for.”

Opinion and Analysis

North Korea tries to play Beijing and Washington against each other — and come out the winner
Washington PostAnna Fifield
North Korea’s national spectacle over the weekend featured a performance of the popular Chinese folk song “Love My China” and pleased President Trump by not parading nuclear missiles, showing that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is no diplomatic dunce. By including the song and literally holding hands with a top Chinese official during a weekend of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding, a smiling Kim sent a clear message of comradely friendship to Beijing.

Facing the central questions of nuclear disarmament
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsAaron Miles
Further progress towards nuclear disarmament will require that all concerned grapple with two central questions: In a world where states have eliminated nuclear weapons but retained the knowledge and the technology to produce them, how do we ensure that no state will rearm with nuclear weapons during a future war? If we cannot rule out nuclear rearmament in war, how do we instead progress toward a world where war itself cannot happen?

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