APLN Newsletter (3 July 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (3 July 2020)

APLN’s Activities

APLN and Social Media

APLN has sought to increase its social media presence as part of its outreach activities. In addition to a new logo and website, APLN has expanded its YouTube channel earlier this year, and have created TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram accounts. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more important than ever to manage APLN’s online presence to engage and interact with policymakers, greater public, and youth. These platforms will be used to interact with all those involved and others who are interested. Connect with us on social media! Learn more


Members’ Activities

Rakesh Sood: Writings on the Chinese Wall: Part I and Part II

On June 20th, 2020, Rakesh Sood’s articles titled, “Writings on the Chinese Wall: Part I and Part II” were published by the Observer Research Foundation. Sood discusses the violent clash between the Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley. While efforts to reduce military presence and commitment to no “open fire” were made, old and new agreements merely reiterate restraint and do not address the underlying reasons or the need to impose restraints on patrolling. According to Sood, India’s current priority will be to restore the status quo ante by bringing normalcy to the border through deeper analyses of changed political drivers behind China’s behavior and negotiations. Although both sides have taken firm stands, it is in neither party’s interest to escalate matters. Learn more

Manpreet Sethi: North Korea and the U.S. Disembark from a Summit Train Going Nowhere

In her article, “North Korea and the U.S. Disembark from a Summit Train Going Nowhere”, published with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies on June 23rd, 2020, Manpreet Sethi recommends a close observation of North Korean behaviors as global attention shifts to more immediate concerns. She brought attention to the possibility of North Korea making use of the distracted international community to leak nuclear material, technology, or equipment from North Korea to interested state or non-state actors. Learn more

Zhao Tong: Narrowing the U.S.-China Gap on Missile Defense: How to Help Forestall a Nuclear Arms Race

On June 29th, 2020, APLN member Zhao Tong published a report with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace titled, “Narrowing the U.S.-China Gap on Missile Defense: How to Help Forestall a Nuclear Arms Race.” This report addresses the perception gap between the two countries over the motivation behind U.S. missile defense and thoroughly examines the sources of this gap and provides actionable recommendations on both cooperative and unilateral ways for the two countries to tackle them. Learn more

Chilamkuri Raja Mohan: Indian Resistance to China’s Expansionism Would Be a Definitive Moment in Asia’s Geopolitical Evolution

“Indian Resistance to China’s Expansionism Would Be a Definitive Moment in Asia’s Geopolitical Evolution,” is an opinion piece written by APLN member C. Raja Mohan with The Indian Express on June 30th, 2020. He states that the potential direction of the Sino-Indian relationship is likely to depend on how the current military confrontation in Ladakh is resolved. He believes that India should focus on short-term goals to stand its ground and ensure defense cooperation with partners. Learn more


Why, in Nuclear Weapons Policy, Sometimes Fewer Options are Better

On June 18th, 2020, Erik Gartzke wrote for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “Why, in Nuclear Weapons Policy, Sometimes Fewer Options are Better.” In response to the Trump administration’s calls for increasing the number of “low-yield” nuclear weapons, Gartzke argues that for the U.S., more nuclear options through low-yield weapons is a sign of lack of resolve. In other words, the option of limited nuclear war gives America an opportunity to play its “weakest hand, converting a contest it can win into one it is likely to lose.” Gartzke contends that America should demonstrate its resolve by “deploying its conventional forces or by committing its strategic deterrent.” Learn more

Europe Faces Growing Threat from Moscow’s Nuclear Missile Programme, Nato Chief Warns

On June 18th, 2020, Thomas Harding wrote for The National, “Europe Faces Growing Threat from Moscow’s Nuclear Missile Programme, Nato Chief Warns.” In his article, Harding details the Russia’s recent “dangerous and destabilizing” actions in developing the sophisticated SSC-8 missile, which could pose a great threat to European cities. In response, European countries are arming themselves with anti-missile systems. NATO, which has reduced its nuclear arsenal in Europe by 90% since the end of the Cold War, has stated that the alliance “does not want to enter into another nuclear arms race with Moscow.” Learn more

Thanks to Germany, Israel Is a True Nuclear Weapons State

On June 18th, 2020, Sebastien Roblin wrote an article titled, “Thanks to Germany, Israel Is a True Nuclear Weapons State,” published by The National Interest. Estimates on the size of Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile range from 80 to 300 nuclear weapons, the latter number exceeding China’s arsenal. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, but is still highly cautious of first strike by adversaries before it can retaliate. Fully subsidized by the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, it developed a second-strike capability such as the Dolphin-class submarines that were equipped with the capacity to accommodate SLCM large enough to carry nuclear warheads. Israel’s continued purchase of Dolphin 2 models also aroused controversy. However, Israel’s sea-based nuclear deterrence against Iran faces geographic obstacles as well as navigational and survivability challenges. The threat of sea-launched nukes may be more intended political weapon than one for its military effectiveness. Learn more

New IAEA Reports on Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Irena Chatzis of the IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication presents new reports on IAEA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on June 18th, 2020. The “New IAEA Reports on Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” summarizes the three reports that reflect the agency’s work to continue the implementation safeguards and assistance toward Member States amidst the pandemic. In particular, the Report on the Operation, Safety, and Security of Nuclear and Radiation Facilities and Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic discusses the Agency’s activities related to the specific challenges faced by operators of nuclear power plants, research reactors, and other nuclear facilities across the world, and efforts to communicate and facilitate information exchanges. Learn more

Revelations About Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Policy

War on the Rocks published Cynthia Roberts’s commentary, “Revelations About Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Policy,” on June 19th, 2020. On June 2nd, the Kremlin published an unprecedented document entitled “Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Sphere of Nuclear Deterrence.” Roberts’s analysis on the document provides insight into Russia’s approach to nuclear deterrence, which is vital to global peace and security especially with the deteriorating relations between Moscow and the West. While Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy stated in the document does not overturn current military doctrine, it articulates the range of threats and conditions under which Moscow seeks to deter or might escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. Roberts further notes that although the Principles is consistent with Russia’s “preference to leverage the risk and uncertainty of potential nuclear escalation to enhance its deterrence of adversaries,” it underscores the defensive nature of nuclear deterrence. Although it is doubtful that the document would impact the current stalemate in nuclear arms control, it could potentially structure future strategic stability talks as long as it is read carefully to avoid succumbing to confirmation bias. Learn more

Western Pacific Problems: Why We Must Preserve America’s Bombers

On June 19th, 2020, Andrew F. Krepinevich wrote for National Interest, “Western Pacific Problems: Why We Must Preserve America’s Bombers.” In his article, Krepinevich argues that Washington’s “elephant walk” in Guam does little to demonstrate the U.S.’s military dominance in East Asia and that the America’s military might has been dwindling and desperately needs a boost. This military decline has allowed China to maintain dominance in the region, and Krepinevich asserts that Washing needs to “abandon [its] hollow rhetoric and start taking the difficult steps necessary to stem the erosion of the country’s military posture.” Learn more

U.S. “Not Going to Allow China to Continue” Increasing Nuclear Weapons Stockpile, Top Negotiator Says

On June 19th, 2020, Pamela Falk wrote for CBS News, “U.S. “Not Going to Allow China to Continue” Increasing Nuclear Weapons Stockpile, Top Negotiator Says.” In the article, Falk discusses growing concerns over the growing nuclear stockpile of Russia and China. U.S. arms control negotiator Ambassador Robert A. Wood warns that China’s nuclear stockpile could double over the next 10 years, and is focused on bringing Russia and China into a new framework agreement. Learn more

Mitsubishi UFJ to Ban Financing For Production of Nuclear Weapons

Kyodo News published an article on “Mitsubishi UFJ to Ban Financing For Production of Nuclear Weapons,” on June 20th, 2020. Due to take effect on July 1st, the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will ban the provision of financing for the production of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in accordance with the revised Mitsubishi UFJ’s Environmental and Social Policy Framework. The revisions were attributed to the “broad perceptions in the international community about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.” However, the guidelines do not specifically ban the lender from engaging in dealings with nuclear-related companies and businesses involved in the manufacturing of missiles capable of carrying atomic weapons. Learn more

Iran Criticizes France over Nuclear Ballistic Missile Test

On June 21st, 2020, an article was written for the Associated Press, “Iran Criticizes France over Nuclear Ballistic Missile Test.” The article details Iran’s concern over France’s testing of a new ballistic missile. Iran’s ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi asserted that the testing was a threat to international peace and security, and that Paris should comply with its international obligations towards nuclear disarmament. Learn more

Nuclear Risk Reduction as an Interim Success for the NPT Review Conference?

On June 23rd, 2020, Sico van der Meer wrote for the European Leadership Network, “Nuclear Risk Reduction as an Interim Success for the NPT Review Conference?” In the article, van der Meer argues that a postponement of the NPT Review Conference may allow time for states to prepare more adequately for the next conference. Van der Meer details the benefits of nuclear risk reduction, and how it allows for discussion on disarmament whilst avoiding sensitive political issues, which would lead to the creation of viable concrete steps. He contends that instead of being a distraction from actual disarmament efforts, nuclear risk reduction is an interim measure parallel to disarmament efforts. Learn more

Rethinking South Korea’s Unification Policy: Deregulate People-to-People Exchanges

Writing for 38 North on June 25th, 2020, Bernard Seliger, proposed “Rethinking South Korea’s Unification Policy: Deregulate People-to-People Exchanges”. He believes that South Korea’ infrastructure-based cooperation projects with the North are going to prove to be more costly than beneficial, and that a better solution would involve fostering more small scale people-to-people contacts in meetings of academics and families in third countries. He believes such interactions would be less costly and less predictable, but would also do more to accomplish real change in inter-Korean relations than carefully regulated roads or trains ever could. Learn more

Japan Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Deployment Scrapped: Kono

On June 25th, 2020, Kyodo News reported in “Japan Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Deployment Scrapped: Kono” that Japan has abandoned plans to deploy a land-based missile interception system that would have acted as a shield against high-tech projectiles launched by North Korea. The decision comes after technical problems, increasing costs, and strong local opposition from the Yamaguchi and Akita prefectures. Japan will continue to defend itself from the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles through the Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis-equipped destroyers. As Beijing and Pyongyang continue to develop new ballistic missiles, the article highlights discussions on the exploration of striking foreign bases, an idea proposed by LDP members that are proven to be contentious in Japan. Learn more

Why U.S.-China Supply Chain Decoupling Will Be More of a Whimper Than a Bang

On June 30th, 2020, Yukon Huang and Jeremy Smith, writing for the South China Morning Post, authored “Why U.S.-China Supply Chain Decoupling Will Be More of a Whimper Than a Bang”. They argue that although a certain amount of economic decoupling of the American and Chinese economies has already occurred, and more is inevitable, U.S. dependence on Asian manufacturing is too deeply rooted and resilient to be dramatically altered in the coming months. In short, the economic inertia invested in the U.S.-China trade relationship is too great to be overcome in the near future, and likely to resist excessive tampering over the medium term as well. Learn more