Nuclear Policy News - February 15, 2013

Feb 15, 2013


North Korea tells China of preparations for fresh nuclear test
Pakistan tests nuclear capable Hatf II missile
Indian firm in China-based nuclear smuggling plan?
North Korean Nuclear Threat Drives Army Wargame; Service Shifts to Rebuild WMD Skills

NNSA: Nuclear Stockpile Reductions Don’t Necessarily Equal Cost Savings
North Korea upgrading rocket launch site


North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.
South Korea Shows Military Muscle in Sparring With North


South Korea staged large military drills and disclosed a new cruise missile capable of hitting any target in North Korea, just days after the North said it detonated its third nuclear device and as Pyongyang became increasingly candid about its intentions to build intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.
North Korea tells China of preparations for fresh nuclear test


North Korea has told its key ally, China, that it is prepared to stage one or even two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the United States into diplomatic talks with Pyongyang, said a source with direct knowledge of the message.
Arabs rap Iranian call for atom talks to take in Bahrain, Syria


Gulf Arab governments dismissed as "interference" an Iranian suggestion that unrest in Syria and Bahrain be discussed at nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to dodge the main agenda.
Pakistan tests nuclear capable Hatf II missile


Pakistan conducted a successful test of the short ranged nuclear capable Hatf II (Abdali) according to a statement issued by the Inter Services Public relations (ISPR) on Friday.
Russian Nuclear Sites Unharmed by Meteors – Atomic Agency


The hail of meteor pieces that hit Russia on Friday fell in a region with a cluster of major nuclear facilities, including the country’s largest nuclear fuel-processing plant, but officials said early on that none of them were damaged and no radioactive contamination has been detected.
Indian firm in China-based nuclear smuggling plan?


Beijing’s weak enforcement of nuclear anti-smuggling laws may finally be catching up with it as the number of brazen attempts to illegally export nuclear parts linked to China multiply rapidly.
Iran could use U.N. talks as cover to build bomb, Ban Ki-moon says


The United Nations must be decisive and swift in judging whether diplomacy can resolve world concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, or invite the risk that Iran, like North Korea, will use talks as a cover to build a bomb.
Iran’s Nuclear-Technology Gains Suggest Sanctions Are Backfiring


International sanctions designed to punish Iran for its nuclear program may be counter-productive, said scientists and security analysts tracking the decade-long dispute over the Persian Gulf nation’s atomic work.
France, India should cooperate in civil nuke energy: Hollande


President Francois Hollande today pitched for French excellence finding its "rightful place" in the fields of civil nuclear and renewable energy in India, even as he assured investors here that the euro zone crisis was "behind us".
Iran nuke issue: France wants India to convince Tehran to join negotiations


France, a key player in the P5+1 talks with Iran on its contentious nuclear programme, today asked India to "convince" its "close friend" Tehran to enter into serious negotiations and respect international obligations with regard to nuclear non-proliferation.
Russia ‘Ready’ to Consider Further Nuclear Arms Cuts – Ministry


Moscow has not received any specific proposals from the United States concerning deeper cuts in strategic nuclear arsenals, but if they do come, it is ready to study them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
No arms cut till new START: Russia


Russia has poured cold water on U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge to pursue new cuts in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals even as it voiced its readiness to study American proposals.
House intel committee working with White House to avoid another CISPA veto


The leaders of the House intelligence committee say they are working with the White House to ensure passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which fell to a presidential veto threat last year but which Chairman Mike Rogers' (R-Mich.) reintroduced yesterday.
North Korean Nuclear Threat Drives Army Wargame; Service Shifts to Rebuild WMD Skills


Hours before Pyongyang conducted its latest nuclear test, military officers here at the Army War College began waging a wargame whose classified scenario is transparently concerned with North Korea. That is not happenstance.
NNSA: Nuclear Stockpile Reductions Don’t Necessarily Equal Cost Savings


A top National Nuclear Security Administration official suggested on Thursday that cutting the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal will not necessarily save money for the complex that supports those weapons.
The U.S. needs to tame the cyber-dragon
Washington Post, by the Editorial Board


The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — reported recently that Chinese intruders hacked into their computer networks, snooping for passwords and information about coverage of China. The intrusions at the Times and the Journal coincided with an extraordinary period in recent months, during which China’s leaders and their extended families were shown by investigative newspaper reports in the papers to have amassed huge fortunes and one of China’s most prominent politicians, Bo Xilai, fell from grace in a corruption scandal.
Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ on North Korea is turning into strategic neglect


What the president did not say is that efforts to isolate North Korea are failing. The North's trade with China has more than tripled in recent years, and Chinese investment is mushrooming. So long as Beijing remains intent on shielding its ally from the consequences of nuclear brinksmanship, efforts to isolate Pyongyang will fail.
North Korean nukes? Round up the usual suspects!


The international community's cynical and feckless response to North Korean nuclear testing evokes nothing more than Claude Rein's character in "Casablanca," who puts on an act for his Nazi overlords after the murder of their commander by ordering the Vichy police officers to "round up the usual suspects." With Pyongyang's most recent and dangerous test on Feb. 12, can we afford to just pretend we are serious yet again?
Try temporary North Korea sanctions
Politico, by Michael O’Hanlon


So here’s an idea: any additional U.N. sanctions, above and beyond the base that now exists, could be temporary. They could be constructed in such a way as to sunset automatically in say two years if there is no further nuclear testing in the interim. But they would automatically return if North Korea were to conduct another test, again for two years’ duration—or perhaps for three or four years in that event, to avoid any suggestion that this approach is somehow soft or lenient.
China Would Benefit From a United Korea
Wall Street Journal, by Steve Tsang


In carrying out the test, the North Koreans have once again compromised China's national interests, as the international community is fixated on Beijing's support for Pyongyang. As an emerging superpower seeking to reassure the rest of the world of its peaceful rise, China is expected to play a constructive role.
The Banality of Unilateral Nuclear Cuts
Time, by Kingston Reif


This doesn’t mean that unilateral cuts are always good idea – that would depend on the circumstance and what’s in the best interests of U.S. national security. But it does demonstrate that Democratic presidents (and their Cabinet choices) appear to be held to a different standard than their Republican counterparts.
Russia and the US: Obama tries again on nuclear weapons
Financial Times, by James Blitz


Can Barack Obama use his second term of office to push through another round of cuts in American and Russian nuclear weapons? After declaring in his State of the Union address that he will “engage Russia” on this issue, the question is suddenly back on the international security agenda.