Top News Japan’s New Ship-Based Interceptor Shoots Down a Ballistic Missile in Test Defense News Putin says normalizing ties between U.S. and North Korea is vital for peace Reuters This Is How to Achieve Progress With Iran National Interest East Asia North Korea’s ‘Mass Games’ provide tourist spectacle, and sobering reminder Reuters9/13/2018 Packed into Pyongyang’s giant stadium this week with thousands of other tourists, Australian Mitchell Hamilton marvelled at the return of North Korea’s “Mass Games,” a huge pageant that has produced some of the most iconic images of the isolated country. North Korean Coal Slipped Into South Despite Warning From U.S. Wall Street Journal9/13/2018 Shortly after midnight one Friday last fall, thousands of tons of coal labeled as Russian arrived at the South Korean port of Donghae. US: N. Korea Denuclearization Must Keep Pace With Progress in Inter-Korean Ties Voice of America9/12/2018 The United States said Wednesday the denuclearization of North Korea must follow the same speed as the advancement of inter-Korean relations, after Seoul announced the opening of a new liaison office. Japan’s New Ship-Based Interceptor Shoots Down a Ballistic Missile in Test Defense News9/12/2018 As the State Department presses North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions, one neighbor isn’t taking any chances. The Japanese military, working with the U.S. Navy, shot down a mock ballistic missile with one of their new Atago-class destroyers on Tuesday. Russia/FSU/Europe Putin says normalizing ties between U.S. and North Korea is vital for peace Reuters9/11/2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that it was vital for peace on the Korean Peninsula that the United States and North Korea normalized their troubled relationship. U.S. Nuclear Policy Congress to Review Modified 2019 Nuclear Weapons Spending Bill in Coming Days Executive Gov9/12/2018 A congressional conference committee has proposed adding $458M more for nuclear weapons to the 2019 spending bill, with a total $44.6B allocated to the Department of Energy, Defense News reported Wednesday. Opinion and Analysis The Case Against Doing Nothing on North Korea BloombergVictor D. Cha and Abraham M. Denmark 9/12/2018 Barely three months after they met in Singapore, President Donald Trump says he’s happy to sit down again with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. One might justifiably ask why, given how little the North has conceded since their last tete-a-tete. There is room to make tangible progress, however, if the U.S. first rethinks its negotiating strategy. This Is How to Achieve Progress With Iran National InterestPaul R. Pillar 9/12/2108 Amitai Etzioni, writing in 2011, blamed diminishing U.S. influence in the Middle East on “reduced U.S. involvement” in the region and “Iran’s expansionist policies.” But the one conspicuous reduction in U.S. involvement at the time was evacuation of U.S. forces from Iraq after eight and a half years of warfare there. And it was the U.S.-launched war in Iraq, more than any other development in the Middle East during the intervening fifteen years, that expanded Iranian influence. If that influence is the main worry, then U.S. military expeditions clearly are not the way to curb it. Special Interest Point and Nuke Foreign Policy9/12/2108 When Dwight D. Eisenhower took the oath of office as the 34th president of the United States in 1953, the total U.S. nuclear stockpile was approaching 1,000. When Ike left, eight years later, that number had grown to around 20,000—with further increases programmed in. Those weapons included one of the strangest creations of the Cold War: an atomic bazooka, putting nuclear destruction in the hands of as few as two soldiers.