APLN Newsletter (18 August 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (18 August 2020)

APLN’s Activities

The APLN’s Corner on the Korea Times

Van Jackson: “Bolton Memoir- Guide for How Not To Negotiate with North Korea”

On August 5, 2020, APLN’s Senior Fellow Van Jackson’s column, “Bolton Memoir: Guide for How Not to Negotiate with North Korea,” was featured on the APLN’s Corner of the Korea Times. The article discusses Ambassador John Bolton’s recent memoir to explain Washington, D.C.’s history and misunderstandings of North Korea and how this affected American policy. As a result, Jackson clarifies interpretations made by foreign policy hawks in the U.S., such as Bolton’s misconceptions about making concessions, fears about driving a wedge between alliances, and the precedence made by a possible end of the Korean War. While views regarding North Korea are quite cynical, Jackson argues that Bolton’s memoir provides insight on how foreign policy is constructed by a select few in the United States. Learn more

The APLN Supports and Hosts KAIST/NEREC Summer Fellows

On August 12, 2020, the APLN hosted KAIST/NEREC Summer Fellows. The APLN has supported KAIST/NEREC’s efforts to foster the next generation of leaders in nuclear issues. The APLN organized and facilitated a discussion with Vice-Chair and Executive Director Chung-in Moon. Having completed their hybrid program of both offline and online research and lectures in Jeju Island these past few weeks, the KAIST/NEREC Summer Fellows completed the program in their final week with the opportunity to ask questions about the APLN, North Korea, South-North Korea relations, the role of governments, nuclear non-proliferation, and more. Learn more

The APLN-Korea Times Essay Contest

Youth, Disarmament, and Peace in the Asia-Pacific Region

The APLN is accepting submissions for its Essay Contest with the Korea Times on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Looking to engage with youth and foster fresh perspectives, this essay contest is for both undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world until Friday, September 18, 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. Students will be able to find more information on the APLN website and various social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts. We hope to have as many students submit and participate!

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

Manpreet Sethi: “Kakrapar: Why Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation?”

On July 27, 2020, Manpreet Sethi published an article with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies titled, “Kakrapar: Why Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation?” In this article, Sethi discusses the advantages of retaining nuclear power in India’s energy mix. Referring to Unit 3 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) gaining criticality on July 22nd, the argument on why India should invest in nuclear power by comparing the pros and cons with other energy sources is made. Sethi also states that information campaigns highlighting the environmental advantages and safety aspects of nuclear energy are needed to enhance its credibility and win public support. Learn more

Ramesh Thakur: “Eliminating Israel’s Bomb with a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone”

On July 29, 2020, Ramesh Thakur’s article, “Eliminating Israel’s Bomb with a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone,” was published by The Strategist- The Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Thakur outlines the dilemmas and obstacles surrounding Israel’s nuclear capacity and the regional nuclear-weapon free zones (NWFZs) in the Middle East. Held together by treaties such as the NTP, it is difficult to get a non-signing Israel to subscribe to NWFZ. Due to the unwillingness of surrounding states to recognize the existence of Israel, attempts at multiparty talks also have been failing. Thakur argues that the outlook on a nuclear-free Middle East seems bleak. Learn more

Manpreet Sethi: “Why India and China Haven’t Used the ‘N’ Word throughout the Ladakh Conflict”

Manpreet Sethi wrote an opinion piece for The Print titled, “Why India and China Haven’t Used the ‘N’ Word throughout the Ladakh Conflict,” on August 3, 2020. In this article, Sethi explains the two countries’ doctrines that guide their use of nuclear weapons. For both countries, nuclear weapons are strictly monitored to safeguard against nuclear blackmail and coercion. Sethi also commends their commitment to the “no-first-use” policy and suggests that other adversarial nuclear dyads could learn from the strategic stability displayed by the two countries even in times of conflict. Learn more

Nobumasa Akiyama: “Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control Efforts Needs China”

On August 6, 2020, Nobumasa Akiyama’s article, “Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control Efforts Needs China,” was published for the Nature Magazine. With the 75th anniversary of atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki having just passed, Akiyama discusses the critical juncture at which nuclear arms control is currently placed. Precarious geopolitical circumstances with the rise of China further challenge established nuclear frameworks. Negotiations have stalled over the replacement for New START as the U.S. hopes to bring in China and expand the scope of weapons covered, while Russia remains adamant about maintaining only the original remit. Additional obstacles emerge as three rival powers struggle to find sustainable ways to accommodate varying strategic interests. Akiyama suggests that the three powers should discuss ways to cooperate to implement transparent measures to build trust amongst each other. On a final note, he highlights the importance of participation in discussions regarding nuclear arms control by East Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan, as they are caught in between the U.S. and China. Learn more

John Tilemann: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered- Why the Asia-Pacific Must Stand Up for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”

On August 7, 2020, John Tilemann’s “Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered: Why the Asia-Pacific Must Stand Up for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” was featured by the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Tilemann highlights the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 50th anniversary of the NPT to discuss the significance of the Asia-Pacific and nuclear threats. With the pandemic and North Korea’s continued nuclear activities that remain a challenge to securing NPT norms in the region, Tilemann reminds leaders in the Asia-Pacific of their responsibilities to reduce nuclear risks. The delayed convening of the NPT Review Conference should become an opportunity to build greater support for strengthening non-proliferation norms and to eliminate nuclear threats. Learn more

Tong Zhao: “Managing the Sino-American Dispute Over Missile Defense”

On August 11, 2020, Tong Zhao wrote for War on the Rocks, “Managing the Sino-American Dispute Over Missile Defense.” Zhao discusses the public debates that have erupted amongst the Chinese regarding the buildup of nuclear arsenal. He states that nationalistic opinion leaders currently propel public enthusiasm for a more robust nuclear posture as they see it as the only way to prevent a war with the United States. The U.S. and China need to work together to use arms control to manage their military competition to reduce dire consequences and heavy costs. The first step to address this issue is to mitigate distrust by conducting a joint expert study about the technical feasibility of building a missile defense system that could deal with North Korean missiles without affect China. More importantly, the two countries must demonstrate willingness to work together. Learn more

APLN’s Selections

“Overcoming Disunity: Reinvigorating the P5 Process a Decade On”

Maximilian Hoell and Andreas Persbo

On July 30, 2020, Maximilian Hoell and Andreas Persbo wrote for the European Leadership Network, “Overcoming Disunity: Reinvigorating the P5 Process a Decade On.” In the report, Hoell and Persbo offer a number of recommendations for a successful review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). For the short term, the authors call for the P5 to resolve misunderstandings about each other’s nuclear doctrines by creating a joint document on each state’s stance on the use and role of nuclear weapons. For the medium term, the authors recommend enhancing transparency in the P5 process. For the long term, Hoell and Persbo recommend that the P5 should “adopt specific risk reduction measures in crisis communication.” Learn more

“What Europeans Believe about Hiroshima and Nagasaki—And Why It Matters”

Benoît Pelopidas and Kjølv Egeland

Benoît Pelopidas and Kjølv Egeland’s article titled, “What Europeans Believe About Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and Why It Matters,” was published by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on August 3, 2020. Although historians have long challenged the narrative that atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was necessary to shorten the war by forcing the Japanese to surrender, Pelopidas and Egeland found that many Europeans still believe the narrative to be true. Survey results that targeted European participants showed that although the majority expressed strong support for arms control and the elimination of nuclear weapons, those who believed the bombings to be necessary and effective were more likely to harbor skepticism toward nuclear disarmament than those who do not. While linking the results to the Stimson narrative and the overlooked vulnerability of nuclear command and control, the authors emphasize that it is the responsibility of scholars and educators to work against such vulnerabilities that hinder citizens from independently forming political views. Learn more

“The Army in Indian Military Strategy: Rethink Doctrine or Risk Irrelevance”

Arzan Tarapore

On August 10, 2020, Arzan Tarapore published “The Army in Indian Military Strategy: Rethink Doctrine or Risk Irrelevance” for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This report breaks down the long-held orthodox military strategy of the Indian Army, and argues that the conventionality of this strategy has left India poorly suited to respond to aggression, as seen most recently during the fighting in Ladakh. Tarapore maintains that an updated military strategy would make the Indian Army more capable of deterring attack without provoking escalatory measures from its neighbors, such as Pakistan’s tactical nuclear warheads. Learn more

“China and South Asia Crisis Management in the Era of Great Power Competition”

Yun Sun

The Toda Peace Institute published Yun Sun’s “China and South Asia Crisis Management in the Era of Great Power Competition.” This article discusses China’s approach to South Asia that is deeply affected by shifting great power dynamics and crisis dynamics between India and Pakistan. Although China has historically maintained shuttle diplomacy between India and Pakistan after 1998 and the 2008 Mumbai Attack, China will be subject to uphold its national interests within the scope of deepening U.S.-China great power rivalry, growing signs of alignment between the U.S. and India, and a weakening Pakistan. Recent tensions between China and India will also lead China to preserve its strategic leverage over dismantling crisis management mechanisms. Sun argues that preventing great power competition between the U.S. and China will be vital to manage crises in South Asia. Learn more