APLN Newsletter (11 September 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (11 September 2020)

APLN’s Activities

The APLN Policy Brief No. 68: “U.S. Nuclear Policy and Posture: Bending Toward Asia?” By Steven Andreasen

The APLN published Steven Andreasen’s “U.S. Nuclear Policy and Posture: Bending Toward Asia?” on September 3, 2020. Andreasen analyzes American nuclear policies before and during the Trump administration as tense relations between the U.S. and China intensify. While Andreasen makes it clear that it will take time for the U.S.-China nuclear dynamics to have a similar influence as the U.S.-Russia relationship on American policies, plans, and deployments, increasing risks of accidents remain. Many recommendations to mitigate a Cold War nuclear revival are suggested, such as an extension of the New START, commitments to CTBT, adoption of a bilateral “No First Use,” and more. Learn more

Deadline Extension: The APLN–Korea Times Essay Contest

The APLN extended its deadline for the Essay Contest with the Korea Times on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues in the Asia-Pacific region to Saturday, October 31, 2020. Students are required to write 800-1000 words on various different topics ranging from nuclear governance, strategic nuclear rivalry, the North Korean nuclear problem, emerging technologies, and more. Winners will receive monetary rewards, awards, and an opportunity to participate in the 19th ROK-UN Conference on Disarmament in the fall. The APLN Secretariat asks members and those affiliated to disseminate this information to students you may know or might be interested as it is a great chance for students to engage, publish, and stay connected within the field of nuclear issues. Learn more

Recent Activities and Updates

Email us about your recent activities! The APLN Secretariat asks members and colleagues to send us your recent activities, references, or changes in post from your respective countries to share with all those involved. Please send us any updates or resources to our email address at apln@apln.network.

Members’ Activities

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Celebrates 75th Anniversary Virtually

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is commemorating their 75th anniversary on Thursday, November 12, 2020 virtually. This event will allow guests to join “virtual tables” with two provocateurs who will lead discussions on topics of nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies. Many of the APLN’s members will be participating, leading discussions, and speaking. Please help us disseminate information regarding this event and register. Learn more

C. Raja Mohan: “In Dealing with Chinese Power, Delhi Needs an Internationalism that is Rooted in Realism”

On September 1, 2020, C. Raja Mohan published an article in The Indian Express. Mohan writes that the collision of ideologies and world orders claimed by different countries is inevitable. National purposes are encompassed in the framing of universal ideologies—and whether it be Islamic, Western, Chinese world order. Because India had adopted universalisms of other states in the past, contrary to its own interests, Mohan asserts that India may begin to develop its own: one founded in realism that caters to India’s economic and national security agendas. Learn more

Manpreet Sethi: “India’s Options When Faced with a Collusive Two-Front Threat”

On September 5, 2020, Manpreet Sethi published an article exploring “India’s Options When Faced with a Collusive Two-front Threat.” In response to the multifaceted security challenges posed by China and Pakistan, some propose that India should project first use of nuclear weapons, adopting a more hostile nuclear posture similar to that of Pakistan. Instead of a shift to nuclear pre-emption however, which she believes would only escalate nuclear risks, Sethi asserts that India should exploit arrows in the “diplomatic, information, military and economic (DIME) quiver” to prevent or at least mitigate the two-front threat. Learn more

Chung-in Moon: “The Age of Uncertainty: Reflections on Post-COVID-19 World Order and the Future of Korea”

On September 8, 2020, Chung-in Moon’s article on “The Age of Uncertainty: Reflections on Post-COVID-19 World Order and the Future of Korea” was published by the Jeju Peace Institute. The article examines the pandemic’s unprecedented economic, social, political, and diplomatic effects before proceeding to evaluate five contending post-coronavirus scenarios of future world order: Walled Cities and a New Medieval age, Pax Americana II, Pax Sinica, Pax Universalis, and the status quo of U.S.-China rivalry. Through thorough historical and contextual analysis, the status quo emerges as the only likely scenario—one characterized by “asymmetric bipolarity between China and the U.S., weakened multilateralism, and fragmented regionalism.” To address this new Cold-War style bipolarity, Moon explores the different strategic options available for South Korea, ultimately proposing the creation of a new order of peace and prosperity for Northeast Asia. Learn more

Ramesh Thakur and Manpreet Sethi: “India–China Border Dispute: The Curious Incident of a Nuclear Dog that Didn’t Bark”

On September 7, 2020, APLN members Ramesh Thakur and Manpreet Sethi wrote an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They credit the “no-first-use” policies of the two states as the main reason for China and India’s continued standoff and lack of escalation into a nuclear exchange. Their nuclear arms are used as political tools rather than military ones, allowing greater time to resort to other methods of resolving their quarrels. Other explanations are also introduced, such as China viewing India’s nuclear arms as illegitimate, and therefore not a threat. In addition, the two authors state that India is firm about its stance on the purpose of its nuclear weapons—for deterrence. Learn more


APLN’s Selections

The Future of Nuclear Arms Control: Time for an Update

Written by: Angela Kane and Noah Mayhew

In August 2020, the Toda Peace Institute published Policy Brief No. 86 on “The Future of Nuclear Arms Control: Time for an Update.” Written by Angela Kane and Noah Mayhew, the paper evaluates the historical dialogue concerning arms control and how current discussions still revolve primarily around the 20th century Cold War rivalry. The rapidly evolving state of geopolitics and emerging technologies demands new adaptive and innovative approaches to negotiations in order to achieve a path towards nuclear disarmament. In particular, the brief focuses on the rise of China in arms control politics as well as the various security risks posed by new technologies including cyber warfare and lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). Learn more

North Korean Decisionmaking: Economic Opening, Conventional Deterrence Breakdown, and Nuclear Use

Written By: John V. Parachini, Scott W. Harold, Gian Gentile, Derek Grossman, Leah Heejin Kim, Logan Ma, Michael J. Mazarr, and Linda Robinson

On August 20, 2020, John V. Parachini, Scott W. Harold, Gian Gentile, Derek Grossman, Leah Heejin Kim, Logan Ma, Michael J. Mazarr, and Linda Robinson published a research report on RAND. The 126-page report introduces various scenarios, conditions, and advised reactions of states to North Korean economic reform and nuclear launch situations. Chapter Three stresses the importance of conventional warfare deterrence in preventing nuclear usage. Chapter Four focuses on potential nuclear doctrine and firing conditions that the North may have internally adopted in an attempt to understand its decision-making processes. Learn more

Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant

Written by: Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Bonny Lee

On August 27, 2020, the CSIS Korea Chair published their second report in a series analyzing North Korea’s concentrate plants, providing new and comprehensive insight into the “Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant.” With the shutdown of the Pakchon Pilot Uranium Concentrate Facility in the mid-1990s, Pyongsan remains as North Korea’s sole verified operational producer of uranium concentrate, otherwise referred to as “yellowcake.” While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been barred from monitoring the plant since 1992, a thorough analysis of satellite imagery, open source information, and author interview data indicate that the facility has maintained a “steady production tempo” and is likely to increase production in the future. Given Pyongsan’s important function in the state’s nuclear research and weapons development programs, the authors conclude by noting that the dismantlement of the plant should play a pivotal role in any meaningful nuclear agreement between North Korea and the United States. Learn more