November 14, 2017

Set Realistic Goals for U.S.-China Cooperation Over North Korea

Tong Zhao
The American president may have expected to use his meeting with China’s Xi Jinping on Wednesday to press China to “do more” to address the North Korean nuclear threat. As the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party has just concluded, securing Xi’s place at the top of Chinese politics for at least the next five years, many analysts believe Xi now has more latitude to address the North Korean crisis and to take tougher measures against Pyongyang. In particular, Trump may be hoping to use this opportunity to persuade his Chinese counterpart to finally pull the plug on North Korea by cutting all economic ties and thus forcing Pyongyang to face the ultimate risk of regime collapse. Indeed, in South Korea ahead of his China visit, he called on all countries to cease trade with North Korea. But in China’s case, this is likely to be a dead end.

Democrats Concerned Trump Too "Unstable" to be Trusted With Nukes

Zachary Cohen | CNN
Congressional lawmakers raised concerns about President Donald Trump's ability to use nuclear weapons during a hearing Capitol Hill Tuesday amid bipartisan anxiety over launch process procedures and indications that the administration has considered the option of a first strike on North Korea. Members of the Senate foreign affairs committee called into question a decades-old presidential authority to deploy nuclear weapons in what was the first congressional hearing on nuclear authorization in decades.

Our Missile Defenses Go to 11

Jon Wolfsthal
I usually write longer, detailed essays for this column but today’s submission is simpler. And it has a simple message. Missile defense will not protect the United States from North Korean missiles. I know a lot of people think the opposite is true. Even President Donald Trump has asserted we have a 97 percent chance of shooting down a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). But, as they say, “um, no.” It would make sense for you to scratch your head and ask how can we have spent tens of billions of dollars over 30 years and still not be able to shoot down a couple of North Korea missiles. But, sorry, we can’t.

Iran Sticks to Key Limits of Nuclear Deal: U.N. Watchdog Report

Shadia Nasralla | Reuters
Iran has remained within the main limits on its nuclear activity set by its 2015 deal with six world powers, the U.N. atomic watchdog said in its first report since U.S. President Donald Trump decertified Iranian compliance with the terms. Iran undertook to curb its uranium enrichment program in return for relief from international sanctions that crippled its economy, and U.N. nuclear inspectors have repeatedly verified Tehran’s adherence to the key aspects of the accord.

North Korea Nuclear Arsenal Too Developed to Destroy Quickly, Says Moon

Christine Kim | Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday it would not be easy for reclusive North Korea to destroy its nuclear arsenal quickly, even if wanted to, given its weapons programs were so developed. North Korea is under heavy international pressure to end its weapons programs, pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. But it has vowed never to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Japan's PM Says North Korea Still Developing Missiles Despite Launch Pause

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday said an almost two-month pause in North Korean missile tests was no indication that it had halted its weapons development, insisting it was too early for any talks with the regime. “I believe that it continues to develop its weapons,” Abe told a news conference in Manila after a series of meetings with other Asian leaders at a gathering of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia Forum.