APLN Newsletter (23 October 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (23 October 2020)

APLN’s Activities

The APLN Policy Brief No. 72: “Mounting Nuclear Risks: Are We Sleepwalking into Dangerous Marshland?” by Manpreeth Sethi

The APLN published Manpreet Sethi’s policy brief, “Mounting Nuclear Risks: Are We Sleepwalking into Dangerous Marshland?” on October 22, 2020. Sethi examines a range of different nuclear risks, both old and new, as well as the political, doctrinal, and technological developments that are fueling these growing risks. From the increased blurring of nuclear and conventional forces to the rising threat of hypersonic weapons, the brief presents a number of factors that only serve to exacerbate nuclear stability worldwide. In order to counter such nuclear risks, Sethi provides potential solutions including top-down and bottom-up approaches that involve greater dialogue among political leaders as well as public engagement initiatives on the gravity of the rising nuclear crisis. Learn more

“The Impact of a Regional Nuclear Conflict between India and Pakistan: Two Views” by G.D. Hess

The APLN, RECNA, and Nautilus Institute’s Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project

The first expert working paper published for the Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project is G.D. Hess’s “The Impact of Regional Nuclear Conflict between India and Pakistan: Two Views.” This paper discusses the climatic consequences, and questions whether or not a global nuclear winter will be inflicted by a regional nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan. Two groups from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with contested beliefs are observed to critically analyze the assumptions and conclusions made. This paper also adds to existing scholarship by outlining physical phenomena that have not been considered by either group. Learn more

“The U.S. Election and Nuclear Order in the Post-Pandemic World” by Leon V. Sigal

The APLN, RECNA, and Nautilus Institute’s Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project

The second expert working paper published for the Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project is Leon V. Sigal’s “The U.S. Election and Nuclear Order in the Post-Pandemic World.” This paper examines the U.S., leadership, nuclear risk, and nuclear governance. While arguing that popular action for an anti-nuclear movement remains questionable, the author states that a newly elected president will be able to influence a shift for positive change towards global nuclear order. This paper discusses the effects of either American leadership on the nuclear future. Learn more

The APLN-Korea Times Essay Contest

The APLN is continuing to accept submissions for its Essay Contest with the Korea Times on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues in the Asia-Pacific region! Undergraduate and graduate 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. The deadline has been extended to Saturday, October 31, 2020.

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

BBC’s Podcast on “How Dangerous is North Korea?”

Contributed by Chung-in Moon and Tong Zhao

On October 16, 2020, BBC’s The Real Story podcast on “How Dangerous is North Korea?” featured Chung-in Moon and Tong Zhao. Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss North Korea, its nuclear capabilities, and opportunities for engagement. The podcast was produced within the context of North Korea’s recent military parade in celebration of its 75 years of communism that experts observed as a signal to North Korea taking a more aggressive stance it maintained before the stalemate in nuclear talks with the Trump administration. Learn more

“To Reboot Arms Control, Start with Small Steps”

By: Tong Zhao, Andrey Baklitskiy, and Alexandra Bell

On October 19, 2020, “To Reboot Arms Control, Start with Small Steps” was written for Defense One by Tong Zhao, Andrey Baklitskiy, and Alexandra Bell. This article discusses the impending expiration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or NEW START, while nuclear stockpiles seem to increase. The authors outline guiding principles that can be used to maintain the global arms control architecture. They emphasize the importance of substance in arms control dialogue, the need to address capability asymmetry among major powers, and commitment to dialogue. These steps will require greater cooperation between leaders in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and Beijing to examine and debate concrete arms control ideas. Learn more

APLN’s Selections

SIPRI Yearbook 2020—Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security

Written By: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

On September 14, 2020, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published their 51st edition of the SIPRI Yearbook that covers developments during 2019, including world nuclear forces, nuclear arms control, chemical and biological security threats, and conventional arms control. An overview of each of the nine nuclear-armed states and their nuclear modernization programs, North Korean-U.S. nuclear diplomacy, developments in the INF Treaty and Russian-U.S nuclear arms control and disarmament, and implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal is made. Chapter Ten on “World Nuclear Forces” provides information on the declining inventories of nuclear warheads primarily due to the U.S. and Russia dismantling warheads, while alternative options of replacing and modernizing nuclear warheads are pursued. The authors note that the availability and reliability of information vary as some states refuse to disclose breakdowns of their forces and nuclear arsenal. Learn more

India’s Ties to North Korea: Can New Delhi Overcome Challenges to Its Maturing Engagement?

Written By: Jagannath Panda

On September 30, 2020, 38 North released the first piece of a two-part series examining India’s ties to North and South Korea in addition to potential strategies for further engagement among the three countries. Written by Jagannath Panda, the article focuses on “India’s Ties to North Korea: Can New Delhi Overcome Challenges to Its Maturing Engagement?” In contrast to most Western countries who have refused to engage in diplomatic relations with North Korea, New Delhi has sustained “dialogue diplomacy” with Pyongyang over the years. Besides accepting North Korean officials under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC), India has repeatedly provided humanitarian assistance to Pyongyang, recently extending $1 million in aid to North Korea. Yet, there exist major hindrances to the India-DPRK partnership: Pyongyang’s ever-growing nuclear ambitions, the North’s rising relationship with Pakistan, and India’s aims to foster deeper connections with the U.S., South Korea, and Japan to counter China. Learn more

Policy Roundtable: The Future of Japanese Security and Defense

Chaired By: Jonathan D. Caverley and Peter Dombrowski

On October 1, 2020, four scholars contributed to a roundtable about Japan’s growing military capabilities at Texas National Security Review. Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi argues that the readiness of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) as well as advanced submarines would enhance Japan’s readiness for sea control and strategic denial, but it will not come cheap. For it to be its money’s worth, doctrinal development should come in tandem with material acquisitions. Masashi Murano makes a similar case with Chinese deterrence in focus. He attempts to distill a philosophy for the employment of an offensive missile by analyzing its possible uses. He prescribes a new class of larger warheads, but again, the price may make such action impossible. Benjamin Schreer argues that Japan’s amphibious capability faces major strategic and operational challenges. Which strategic-operational objectives the (Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade) ARDB is to serve and whether those goals are achievable is of question: hence the doubt about the strategic utility of the ARDB. Finally, Saadia M. Pekkanen addresses the Japanese capability in space. She argues for Japan to drop the pretense and build credible anti-satellite weapons. This might be the least escalatory of the proposed changes, even as it has a potentially massive impact on the regional balance by threatening China’s reconnaissance strike. Learn more

North Korea’s Short-Range Ballistic Missiles: They Can’t “Evade Detection” and Are Still Vulnerable to Interception

Written By: Michael Elleman

On October 2, 2020, 38 North published an article by Michael Elleman titled “North Korea’s Short-Range Ballistic Missiles: They Can’t ‘Evade Detection’ and Are Still Vulnerable to Interception.” This piece is the first of two articles examining the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system’s ability to counter KN-23 and KN-24, Kim Jong Un’s newest short-range ballistic missiles. Heightened threat perceptions owing to North Korea’s rapid WMD development have led Seoul to devise a “three-axis” strategy against Pyongyang, with KAMD serving as an indigenous mechanism intended for detecting, tracking, and intercepting ballistic missiles launched by North Korea. Elleman’s analysis posits that the new KN-23 and KN-24 are still vulnerable to detection by long-range radars when compared with their Scud counterparts, but present potential risks in their ability to maneuver throughout their entire trajectory. Learn more

A Practical Approach to North Korea for the Next U.S. President

Written By: Joseph Yun and Frank Aum

On October 2, 2020, Joseph Yun and Frank Aum wrote an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The scholars argue that the United States had been mistaken in its coercive North Korean strategies. Pyongyang has mechanisms to deal with hardline diplomacy, and it only fosters aggressive responses. The U.S. should strive to build an environment for peace in tandem with denuclearization: a slow process of multilateral confidence-building. Learn more

Viewbook of DPRK 10 October 2020 Parade

Written By: Open Nuclear Network

On October 14, 2020, the Open Nuclear Network published a viewbook on DPRK’s October 2020 Parade in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The viewbook provides information on the twenty-one weapons that were presented during the parade. The ONN analyzes various weapons with updates on heavy artillery pieces and air defense systems that were observed in previous parades. Among many, the “new strategic weapon,” the intercontinental ballistic missile, based on the Hwasong-15 system, is described as well. Learn more