Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2018

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Top News

North and South Korea Open Full-Time Liaison Office at Border
New York Times

US sanctions North Korea tech firms based in China, Russia

At summit, South Korea’s Moon seeks to play ‘chief negotiator’ between Kim, Trump


East Asia

North and South Korea Open Full-Time Liaison Office at Border
New York Times9/14/18
North and South Korea on Friday opened their first joint liaison office, a facility that will be staffed by personnel from both countries, marking another advance in the rival states’ rapidly improving relationship. The liaison office, in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, establishes the first channel for full-time, person-to-person contact between the Koreas.

At summit, South Korea’s Moon seeks to play ‘chief negotiator’ between Kim, Trump
Next week’s inter-Korean summit will test whether South Korean President Moon Jae-in can pull off his role of mediator and salvage stalled nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon will cross the border into the North for his third meeting with Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, amid scepticism over whether the North Korean leader was serious about denuclearization, a goal vowed at his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June.

N. Korea says U.S. ‘smear campaign’ over hacking undercuts Trump-Kim accord
Washington Post9/14/18
North Korea accused the United States on Friday of circulating “preposterous falsehoods” and conducting a vicious smear campaign, after Washington charged an alleged hacker for the North Korean government in connection with major cyberattacks, including a 2014 assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The angry rhetoric against Washington came in stark contrast to the latest sign of warming ties between North and South Korea as they opened a new liaison office near the border.

Middle East

Trump takes another shot at John Kerry for meetings with Iranian official
Washington Post9/14/18
President Trump on Thursday night took fresh aim at former secretary of state John F. Kerry, accusing him of engaging in “illegal” meetings with an Iranian official. In a radio interview this week to promote a new book, Kerry said he had met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “three or four times” since leaving office and that their discussions included the nuclear deal that Trump has since scrapped.


UN experts ‘caved in’ to Russia on North Korea sanctions report – US
The Guardian9/13/18
The United States has accused Russia of pressuring an independent panel of UN experts to alter a report that implied “Russian actors” were involved in breaking sanctions against North Korea. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, expressed disappointment in the panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea “for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should have been an independent report”.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

US sanctions North Korea tech firms based in China, Russia
The US announced new sanctions against North Korea Thursday, taking aim at a Chinese company, its North Korean CEO and its Russia-based sister company. The two information technology companies are actually North Korean-controlled entities, the Treasury Department said in a statement Tuesday that accused the Russia-based company Volasys Silver Star, China-based China Silver Star and its CEO Jong Song Hwa of violating US sanctions.

Congress funds Pentagon’s new low-yield nuclear warhead
Washington Examiner9/13/18
Congress has approved money for a controversial new low-yield nuclear warhead after lawmakers passed an annual spending package on Thursday. The legislation, along with $65 million for the warhead called the W76-2, passed the House in a final 377-20 vote and is headed to President Trump’s desk for signature.

Opinion and Analysis

What’s in a Name? Korean ‘Peace’ and Breaking the Deadlock
War on the RocksDuyeon Kim
The need and desire for peace on the Korean Peninsula is indisputable. But a failure to operate on the same page regarding all the components of peace and their relationship with an agreed-upon denuclearization roadmap will further tangle northeast Asian relations.

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