January 11, 2018

U.S. to Loosen Nuclear Weapons Constraints and Develop More 'Usable' Warheads

Julian Borger | Guardian

Jon Wolfsthal, who was special assistant to Barack Obama on arms control and nonproliferation, said the new nuclear posture review prepared by the Pentagon, envisages a modified version of the Trident D5 submarine-launched missiles with only part of its normal warhead, with the intention of deterring Russia from using tactical warheads in a conflict in Eastern Europe. The new nuclear policy is significantly more hawkish that the posture adopted by the Obama administration, which sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US defence.

As New Deadline Looms, Trump is Expected to Stay in Iran Nuclear Deal Despite Reservations

Tracy Wilkinson and Brian Bennett | Los Angeles Times

With new deadlines looming, President Trump plans to again refuse to certify to Congress that the Iranian nuclear disarmament deal is America’s best interest — but will stop short of reimposing energy sanctions that could kill the landmark accord, according to a U.S. official involved in the process and a person familiar with the deliberations. The White House is expected to announce the president’s decision, which still could change, on Friday.

EU to Meet Iran to Back Nuclear Deal in Message to Trump

Robin Emmott and John Irish | Reuters

European powers will reaffirm on Thursday their support for the Iran nuclear deal that Donald Trump has rejected, EU diplomats said, on the eve of a deadline for the U.S. president to decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the agreement. At a meeting with Iran, Britain, France, and Germany, convened by the EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini, the European powers that helped negotiate the 2015 accord in Vienna will reassure Tehran they remain committed to it.

U.S. to Sell Anti-Ballistic Missiles to Japan Amid North Korea Threat

Nikkei Asian Review

The United States has decided to sell anti-ballistic missiles worth an estimated $133.3 million to Japan, the State Department said Tuesday, as the two allies look to counter the growing missile and nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The planned sale of four Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missiles, together with four MK 29 missile canisters and related technical services, will enhance the "Maritime Self-Defense Force's ability to defend Japan and the western Pacific from ballistic missile threats," a department official said.

South Korea's Leader Offers to Meet Kim Jong-un to Resolve Nuclear Standoff

Tom Batchelor | Independent

South Korea’s leader has vowed to push for more talks with the North to resolve the nuclear standoff, following successful talks that led to cooperation over the Winter Olympics. Moon Jae-In, delivering his New Year press conference, also said he was willing to meet the North’s Kim Jong-un as part of the negotiations.

Trump to Host Kazakh President Next Week

Catherine Putz | Diplomat

Next week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. On January 16, a White House statement said, the two leaders, “will discuss ways to strengthen and enhance our strategic partnership on regional security issues and economic cooperation.”