Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2018

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North Korea’s New Nuclear Promises Fall Short of U.S. Demands
New York Times

U.S. seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran

Pompeo says North Korea nuclear talks to be completed by January 2021


East Asia

North Korea’s New Nuclear Promises Fall Short of U.S. Demands
New York Times9/20/18
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, told South Korea’s president on Wednesday that he would commit to some concrete steps toward denuclearization — including an offer to “permanently dismantle” facilities central to fuel production for nuclear warheads. But he made no promises to relinquish his nuclear weapons or missiles. Mr. Kim’s commitments fell far short of what American officials have demanded — a complete abandonment of the North’s nuclear and missile programs. Nonetheless, President Trump welcomed the agreements, reached during Mr. Kim’s summit meeting in North Korea with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, as “very exciting.”

Mount Paektu: Moon and Kim visit mythical mountain
They clutched hands, their wives at their sides, at the top of a sacred peak in what appeared to be a fitting end to a three-day summit. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took South Korean President Moon Jae-in Thursday to Mount Paektu, one of Korea’s most important cultural and geological sites.

Senior Chinese diplomat says warmly welcomes inter-Korean summit
China strongly supports and warmly welcomes the agreement reached by the two Koreas at their summit in Pyongyang, and believes that the opportunity for peace should not be lost again, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said on Thursday. State Councillor Wang Yi made the comment in a statement carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.

Middle East

U.S. seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran
The United States is seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to include Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its regional behavior, the U.S. special envoy for Iran said on Wednesday ahead of U.N. meetings in New York next week. Iran has rejected U.S. attempts to hold high-level talks since President Donald Trump tore up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers earlier this year.

Iran says U.S. offer to reach a treaty is a mocking call for peace: twitter
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that United States cannot seek to negotiate a new treaty with Tehran while it has violated its treaty obligations by withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal. “U.S. calls JCPOA (the nuclear deal) a personal agreement between two governments, claiming it seeks a treaty. Wrong.” Zarif tweeted. “U.S. has violated its treaty obligations too… Apparently, U.S. only mocks calls for peace.”

Israel Reinforces Nuclear Facilities to Counter Iranian Threats
Israel is upgrading and reinforcing its nuclear facilities to withstand attacks to counter Iranian threats to strike the Jewish state’s nuclear sites, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Commission said. “We cannot ignore the repeated and explicit threats, made by Iran and its proxies, to attack Israel’s nuclear sites,” Zeev Snir said in a speech Tuesday to the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. “These outrageous threats require Israel to take action and continue to protect and defend its nuclear facilities.”

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Trump touts North Korea gesture. Lawmakers warn of perils.
President Donald Trump sought to project momentum into his dealings with North Korea on Wednesday, saying a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in boded well for peace despite little indication that the two leaders had made any real progress toward denuclearization. In contrast, lawmakers and experts urged caution.

Pompeo says North Korea nuclear talks to be completed by January 2021
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that denuclearization negotiations with North Korea will be completed by January 2021. The deadline reflects a commitment from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, according to Pompeo.

New Space Force price tag fuels Capitol Hill skeptics
Defense News9/18/19
Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman had already decided to lead opposition in the U.S. House to President Donald Trump’s “Space Force” proposal. But a new, widely leaked Air Force estimate that creating a space force as a new military service would cost $13 billion over the first five years only stiffened Coffman’s resolve. Coffman, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee and sits on its Strategic Forces Subcommittee, was sure other lawmakers agree with him.

Opinion and Analysis

North Korea is now under minimum pressure
Washington PostIshaan Tharoor
In the event that Trump wants to get tough again, it’s not clear he has the tools to do so. North Korea’s deepening ties and renewed economic links with Seoul belie any maximum pressure campaign. So, too, the current trade battles between the United States and China, the country which retains the greatest influence over Kim.

The Ledger on the Third Inter-Korean Summit
Center for Strategic and International StudiesVictor Cha, Sue Mi Terry, Michael Green
Given all of the economic incentives presented to the North at this summit, the negotiations are headed in a direction where pressure will be put on the United States by North Korea, South Korea, and China to accept a peace declaration and lift sanctions despite the absence of any significant progress towards denuclearization. This is a dangerous path that could do harm to the U.S.-South Korea alliance without better policy coordination between the allies.

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