Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2017

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North Korea Calls Trump’s Comments a ‘Declaration of War’New York Times

Russia has no plans to quit INF treaty – diplomatTASS

European Diplomats Speak Out Against Trump’s Opposition to Iran DealNew York Times

Mattis: US wants to resolve N. Korea standoff diplomatically Associated Press


North Korea Calls Trump’s Comments a ‘Declaration of War’

New York Times9/25/17
North Korea’s foreign minister escalated tensions with the United States on Monday, saying that President Trump’s threatening comments about the country and its leadership were “a declaration of war” and that North Korea had the right to shoot down American warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean air space.

North Korea bolsters defenses after flight by U.S. bombers as rhetoric escalates

North Korea has boosted defenses on its east coast, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday, after the North said U.S. President Donald Trump had declared war and that it would shoot down U.S. bombers flying near the peninsula.

Experts: NKorea lacks ability, intent to attack US planes

Associated Press9/26/17
It’s also unclear whether North Korea would be able to even see the advanced U.S. warplanes when they come. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing on Tuesday that the North’s inadequate radar systems failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew east of North Korea.

S. Korean leader says N. Korea still has chance for peaceful resolution

Yonhap News Agency9/26/17
South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to come to the dialogue table Tuesday, saying the communist state still had a chance for a peaceful end to its nuclear ambition.


US sees ‘no indication’ Iran launched a ballistic missile, despite Trump tweet

US intelligence radars and sensors “picked up no indication” of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test, according to a Trump administration official familiar with the latest US assessment.


European Diplomats Speak Out Against Trump’s Opposition to Iran Deal
New York Times
After months of quietly urging the Trump administration to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, European diplomats have begun an aggressive defense of it, warning of serious consequences if the United States ignores their concerns.

Russia has no plans to quit INF treaty – diplomat
Russia has not violated the intermediate nuclear force (INF) treaty and it has no intention of quitting it, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and weapons control department, Mikhail UIyanov, told a news conference on Tuesday.


Mattis: US wants to resolve N. Korea standoff diplomatically
Associated Press
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the United States wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea diplomatically and is focused on denuclearizing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

US says it’s not pushing for regime change in North Korea
Military Times
The Trump administration said Monday it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government after the president tweeted that Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” and called Pyongyang’s assertion absurd that Donald Trump’s comment amounted to a declaration of war.

White House: ‘We have not declared war on North Korea’
[White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee] Sanders rejected North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s assertion that President Donald Trump had essentially declared war through his forceful rhetoric against Pyongyang last week.

California is Already Preparing for a North Korean Nuclear Attack
Foreign Policy
Noting the heightened North Korean threat, the Los Angeles-area Joint Regional Intelligence Center issued a bulletin last month warning that a nuclear attack on Southern California would be “catastrophic” and urged officials in the region to shore up their nuclear attack response plans.


Trump Needs a Diplomatic Surge for North Korea
Foreign Policy
Sen. Ben Cardin
We cannot accept policy options that result in only war or recognizing North Korea’s nuclear status; there is a lot of space between conflict and capitulation on the Korean Peninsula.

No joke: When Donald Trump hurls insults, North Korea thinks about war
USA Today

Jon Wolfsthal
The president and his advisers need to do everything they can to ensure that the United States and South Korea can repel a North Korean attack, and at the same time they must avoid statements that increase the chance North Korea will misinterpret these steps as a prelude to an attack.

Would North Korea Shoot Down a US B-1B Bomber? Yes. Could It?

The Diplomat

Ankit Panda
Without a better sense of the exact constellation of North Korea’s KN06 placements around the country and its ISR capabilities, it’s impossible to say just how realistic a bomber shoot-down would be, but it’s not inconceivable that North Korea would attempt some kind of new provocation at the conventional level.

North Korea proved allowing the Iran deal to collapse could lead to proliferation

The Hill

John Bird and Stephen Rademaker
Though it is tempting to believe that while our nonproliferation policies failed in North Korea, they are succeeding in Iran, that would be the wrong conclusion to draw. If anything, North Korea is a cautionary tale of what Iran’s future might hold.


My time with Stanislav Petrov: No cog in the machine

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Bruce G. Blair
In later years I had a chance to engage in extensive conversations with Petrov—at the United Nations, where he received a World Citizen Award, and in my home, where we spent a day in front of a film crew. Petrov and I crossed the cultural divide and quickly bonded, and we trolled the 1983 incident for insights and lessons.

No country has opted out of PyeongChang Olympics for security reasons: Seoul
Yonhap News Agency
Not a single country has officially decided not to join the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics so far despite tension over North Korea’s provocations, the foreign ministry here said Tuesday, vowing to ensure the safety of the global sports event.

Rare Footage Shows Russia Detonating Nuclear Weapon to Create a New Lake
This rare footage from the former Soviet Union shows the detonation of a nuclear bomb to create what is now called the “Atomic Lake.” The Soviet nuclear test, called Chagan, was conducted in January 1965 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan.

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