APLN Newsletter (17 July 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (17 July 2020)

APLN’s Activities

APLN’s Corner on the Korea Times

On July 16th, 2020, APLN member Tatsujiro Suzuki was featured on APLN’s Corner of the Korea Times with his column, “Japan Should Reconsider Plutonium Policy.” Suzuki outlines the government’s recent approval of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) report of Japan’s commercial reprocessing plant at Rokkasho, Aomori meeting new regulatory standards set after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. Due to the fact that this approval would allow the reprocessing plant to start its commercial operation in 2021, international security concerns have been raised, particularly about Japan’s increasing stockpile of plutonium. Several recommendations to the Japanese government were made to increase international confidence in Japan’s plutonium management policies, such as international cooperation toward reducing existing stocks by establishing an international forum on the disposal of plutonium stocks. Learn more

New APLN YouTube Video

North Korea Might Not Denuclearize

The APLN Secretariat uploaded new videos on our YouTube channel this week, titled: “North Korea Might Not Denuclearize.” APLN member Chung-in Moon answers questions from journalists and experts on various issues at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club’s Coffee Briefing. Various issues on North Korea, denuclearization, alliance, political leadership and more are discussed. Watch the short-length version here and the full-length video here.

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 posts 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

Manpreet Sethi: 5 Years of Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal – Benefits Transcend Nuclear

On July 4th, 2020, Manpreet Sethi wrote an opinion piece for The Sunday Guardian titled, “15 Years of Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal: Benefits Transcend Nuclear.” In this article celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, Sethi highlights the history of the bilateral relationship that was transformed by the Joint Statement of July 18th, 2005. She concludes that the possibilities of military, diplomatic, and economic options opened up through this deal should be taken into consideration when dealing with Beijing’s recent military assertiveness. Learn more

C. Raja Mohan: China’s Hegemonic Ambitions Mean That Beijing’s Focus Is Now in Building a Chinese Century

On July 7th, 2020, C. Raja Mohan wrote an article, “China’s Hegemonic Ambitions Mean That Beijing’s Focus Is Now in Building a Chinese Century.” He explains that China’s disproportionate rise has led to the end of the Asian century. As China focuses more on nationalism and seeks to surpass the U.S., it no longer sees the need to evoke Asian unity. He asserts that if China’s increasing nationalism is driving it to seek more territory and dominate the region, equally intense nationalist forces in Asia will react against it. Learn more

Tong Zhao: The United States, China, and the Future of Arms Control

APLN member Tong Zhao’s interview, “The United States, China, and the Future of Arms Control,” was featured on July 8th, 2020. Speaking with Ankit Panda from The Diplomat, the interview highlights the Trump administration’s intentions in involving China in strategic nuclear arms control talks and domestic expertise and perspectives on treaties and agreements. Tong Zhao explains factors that influence the U.S.’s push for China’s participation, such as its quick nuclear modernization, and outlines technical, policy, and strategic expertise in China that will need to be developed. The interview ends with Zhao’s thoughts on greater arms control in the midst of U.S.-China competition, which can be pursued through greater discussions regarding the military capabilities of both countries. Learn more

Chung-in Moon: If You Want Peace, Prepare for Peace

APLN member Chung-in Moon’s article,”If You Want Peace, Prepare for Peace,” was featured in Hankyoreh on July 13th, 2020. In this article, Moon argues against the conventional belief that Seoul must prepare for war in order to bring peace to the Korean peninsula. He suggests instead that peace can be achieved by showing restraint and compromise when dealing with North Korea. Highlighting that South Korea’s joint military capabilities with the U.S. are equally threatening to North Korea as their nuclear weapons are to South Korea, he emphasized that if one side did not believe in peace, the other would not be compelled to as well. Learn more

Arun Vishwanathan: India’s Approach to Global Export Control Regimes

APLN member Arun Vishwanathan recently published an article titled, “India’s Approach to Global Export Control Regimes.” This article traces the evolution of the international export control regimes and the changing nature of India’s engagement with these regimes. Co-authored with Sameer Patil, the authors state that it will become a challenge for countries to ensure accountability on human rights violations caused by unregulated exports of military and dual-use goods and technologies. India, with its decades-long involvement and experience in technology, is in a position to influence global debates surrounding these issues to shape global norms. Learn more


The P5 Process: Opportunities for Success in the NPT Review Conference

On June 30th, 2020, Shatabhisha Shetty and Heather Williams wrote for the European Leadership Network, “The P5 Process: Opportunities for Success in the NPT Review Conference.” In the article, Shetty and Williams explore a project by the European Leadership Network and King’s College London that investigated the challenges and opportunities for the P5 process and introduced a number of realistic and politically feasible recommendations for nuclear experts and government officials. The recommendations fall in the categories of nuclear doctrines and strategic stability, risk reduction, the P5 and review conference, and the future of the P5 process. They provide suggestions such as preserving arms control architecture, developing a common lexicon, updating the Reagan-Gorbachev statement, and engaging with NNWS and civil society. Learn more

Conventional Wisdom Says Turkey Won’t Go Nuclear. That Might be Wrong

On July 7th, 2020, John Spacapan wrote for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “Conventional Wisdom Says Turkey Won’t Go Nuclear. That Might be Wrong.” In his article, Spacapan argues that, although there are a number of reasons to believe that Turkey won’t acquire nuclear weapons, such as its involvement in NATO, NPT, and its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, there may be evidence to suggest that Turkey may go nuclear in the near future due to various factors. Firstly, President Erdogan does not want Turkey to fall behind other countries that have missiles. Secondly, Erdogan is knowledgeable of nuclear development from overseeing the building of nuclear power reactors by Russia along Turkey’s coastline. Spacapan warns that Turkey could exploit nuclear power to produce bomb-related technology, and suggest Washington, D.C. be prepared for Turkey’s possible development of nuclear weapons. Learn more

Wollo-ri Nuclear Facility

On July 8th, 2020, Jeffrey Lewis reported on an alleged North Korean enrichment plant near Kangson, the Wollo-ri site. Experts from the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation reassess North Korean nuclear facilities due to surprising features recognized from the Kangson enrichment plant. Similar to Kangson, the Wollo-ri site consists of a number of signature features that suggest its role in the North Korean nuclear program, such as a strong security perimeter, high-rise residential buildings, monuments that indicate leadership visits, and a possible underground facility. These findings have led the Wollo-ri site to be named as the Wollo-ri Suspected Nuclear Warhead Manufacturing Facility. Learn more

Sticks, Stones, and Words: “Ugly Stability” Between India and China

On July 13th, 2020, Karthika Sasikumar wrote for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “Sticks, Stones, and Words: ‘Ugly Stability’ Between India and China.” In her article, Sasikumar details the conflict between India and China as being filled with both brutish hand-to-hand combat and verbal signaling. She lays down the context of conflict between the states and the ongoing border conflict, as well as the spike in tensions that came as a result of the Indian Parliament changing the political status of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Belligerent conflicts between Indian and Chinese military personnel resulted in a spike in tensions, in addition to the rise of techno-nationalism in India and Chinese domestic issues. Sasikumar argues that although the two nations are hesitant to head to war, they will continue their use of “sticks and stones and words.” Learn more

Russia’s Basic Principles and the Cyber-Nuclear Nexus

On July 14th, 2020, Dmitry Stefanovich wrote for the European Leadership Network, “Russia’s Basic Principles and the Cyber-Nuclear Nexus.” In the article, Stefanovich outlines the implications of Russia’s release of the Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence, which aims to broaden the nuclear-related sections of the ‘general’ Military Dotrine of the Russian Federation. The new document includes a key update, that threats to nuclear weapons can be grounds for nuclear retaliation. Stefanovich also details the relevance of cyber threats and electronic warfare, that could also be included in the domain of non-nuclear attacks. He goes on to argue that cyberspace is increasingly becoming operational domain for the military and can offer a way towards confidence building and risk reduction measures in place of classic military tactics. Learn more

Report on North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs

On July 14th, 2020, the Congressional Research Service In Focus produced a report titled, “North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs.” Mary Beth D. Nikitin and Samuel D. Ryder analyze North Korea’s nuclear capabilities as North Korea continues to advance its programs despite diplomatic efforts made to mitigate increasing deterrence and coercive diplomacy strategies. North Korea’s nuclear testing, material production and warheads, delivery vehicles—intercontinental ballistic missiles, short- and medium-range missiles—are examined to provide knowledge for American policy-making as North Korea’s recent activities present unlikeliness in negotiating partial denuclearization steps for American and international concessions. Learn more