March 02, 2021

Negotiating Nuclear Arms Control With North Korea: Why and How?

Toby Dalton and Youngjun Kim | Korean Journal of Defense Analysis

Pressure policies to induce North Korea’s unilateral denuclearization failed to achieve measurable progress toward that objective. The consolidation of nuclear and missile capabilities by North Korea points to the need for a new strategy to mitigate the potential for conflict: to pursue progress toward peace and denuclearization simultaneously. The most appropriate mechanism for implementing such a strategy is arms control, defined here as a progressive series of restrictions, limitations and constraints on arms (nuclear and conventional) and associated steps that reduce the risks of conflict and insulate relations against crises and escalation. 


Iran Nuclear Deal: Tehran Rules out Informal Talks on Reviving Accord

BBC News

Iran has ruled out holding an informal meeting with the U.S. and European powers on ways to revive a nuclear deal, insisting that America must lift all of its unilateral sanctions first. Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said it was not an appropriate time for the talks proposed by the European Union. The U.S. said it was disappointed but that it remained ready to “re-engage in meaningful diplomacy” on the issue. Tensions have soared since the U.S. left a nuclear deal with Iran in 2018. Then-President Donald Trump re-imposed crippling economic sanctions to force Iran to renegotiate the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran refused and retaliated by rolling back a number of key commitments.


New Satellite Images Reveal North Korea Took Recent Steps to Concel Nuclear Weapons Site

Zachary Cohen and Kylie Atwood | CNN

New satellite imagery obtained by CNN reveals North Korea has recently taken steps to conceal a facility U.S. intelligence agencies believe is being used to store nuclear weapons, a move that could add to the growing sense of urgency from critics who argue the Biden administration needs to articulate a clear strategy on how it will deal with Kim Jong Un going forward. The image, captured by Maxar on February 11 and analyzed by experts at the Middlebury Institute, shows North Korea built new structures at its Yongdoktong site over the course of 2020 -- an effort researchers say is likely intended to obscure a pair of underground tunnel entrances that lead to the facility where nuclear weapons are stored.


A Rare Phone Call, Secret Letter: How India Got Pak to Release IAF’s Abhinandan

Shishir Gupta | Hindustan Times

After images of bleeding captured Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman were put out by Pakistan on this day in 2019, the then Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief on the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi read the riot act to his ISI counterpart and warned Pakistan of severe consequences if the pilot of the Indian Air Force’s MiG-21 was harmed. Hindustan Times, after talking to former air force, intelligence and politicians has been able to reconstruct some of the behind-the-scenes action in New Delhi and Islamabad that led Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to release the Indian fighter pilot.


China Said to Speed Up Move to More Survivable Nuclear Force

Robert Burns | AP

China appears to be moving faster toward a capability to launch its newer nuclear missiles from underground silos, possibly to improve its ability to respond promptly to a nuclear attack, according to an American expert who analyzed satellite images of recent construction at a missile training area. Hans Kristensen, a longtime watcher of U.S., Russian and Chinese nuclear forces, said the imagery suggests that China is seeking to counter what it may view as a growing threat from the United States. The U.S. in recent years has pointed to China’s nuclear modernization as a key justification for investing hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming two decades to build an all-new U.S. nuclear arsenal. 


Missile Defense Radar in Alaska is Almost Ready After Pandemic Construction Delays

Wyatt Olson | Stars and Stripes

After months of construction delays last year due to coronavirus restrictions, a long-range missile defense radar system in Alaska is largely complete and will begin initial operations late this year, the Missile Defense Agency said Wednesday. All “major production activities” on the Long-Range Discrimination Radar at Clear Air Force Station have been completed, the agency said in a news release. The station is about 90 miles southwest of Fairbanks in central Alaska. Initial fielding had originally been scheduled for 2020, but steps taken to reduce the possible spread of the coronavirus delayed construction. Work was halted in March when access to the Air Force station was limited to essential personnel, according to the release.