Nuclear weapons use, AUKUS and Decoupling
Weekly Newsletters

Nuclear weapons use, AUKUS and Decoupling



12 April 2023

This week, we feature recent publications on reducing the risk of nuclear weapon use in Northeast Asia, decoupling between China and the United States, the AUKUS programme, as well as the importance of the Biological Weapons Convention in promoting biosafety and biosecurity. As always, we share activities from our network.

Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Use Cases in Northeast Asia: Implications for Reducing Nuclear Risk

The APLN joint project “Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapon Use in Northeast Asia” (NU-NEA) aims to identify plausible use cases for nuclear weapons in a limited nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula or in Northeast Asia, to help policymakers prevent a nuclear conflict and de-escalate tensions.

The Year 2 project report estimated the number of direct deaths and delayed deaths by analysing five plausible use case scenarios, ranging from a single detonation to a limited global nuclear war, and involved various nuclear actors and targets in Northeast Asia and beyond.

Read the Special Report

This report is published jointly by the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA), the Nautilus Institute, and APLN. 

Decoupling: A Path of No Return Between China and the United States?

In this report, Zha Daojiong, Professor at Peking University, explores the complex phenomenon of decoupling between China and the United States through the lens of history, trade-dependence and technology. Both China and the United States could suffer losses in the short or long run, when decoupling moves from impetus to action. However, he points out that decoupling “does not have to proceed on a path toward a point of no return.” There is plenty of space to ameliorate or reverse this costly and worrisome trend. 

Read the Special Report

Aukus After San Diego: The Real Challenges and Nuclear Risks

Rear Admiral (ret.) John Gower, CB OBE, argues that the AUKUS SSN programme details announced on in San Diego on 13 March significantly enhance the capability of the AUKUS countries to counter Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, augments the national submarine capabilities of all three nations, and will be the foundation of improved stability in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Read the Policy Brief

Advancing Biological Weapons Convention (BWC):
The Philippine Role

Jesus Domingo, Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand, discusses the importance of the BWC in promoting biosafety and biosecurity, and highlights the Philippines’ efforts in advancing the convention’s goals.

Read The Korea Times column

APLN has more than 130 members from 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific. Below we feature some of their contributions to security debates in the region and beyond.

The latest APLN member activities can be found on the APLN website.

See all member activities

International Group of Eminent Persons for a World Without Nuclear Weapons

On 4 April, APLN Chair Marty Natalegawa and Members Tong Zhao, Manpreet Sethi, Nobumasa Akiyama and Tanya Ogilvie-White attended the 2nd meeting the International Group of Eminent Persons (IGEP) for a World without Nuclear Weapons, hosted by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Understanding Pathways to Nuclear Escalation in Southern Asia

On 30 March, APLN Members Manpreet Sethi and Tong Zhao, and APLN Policy Fellow Tanvi Kulkarni spoke at the Regional Workshop on Understanding Pathways to Nuclear Escalation in Southern Asia organised by the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. The workshop was part of the Project on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence-Working Group on Understanding and Mitigating Pathways to Nuclear War.

How Can ASEAN End the Crisis in Myanmar? A Conversation With Marty Natalegawa

Marty Natalegawa, APLN Chair, features on the podcast “In Conversation” to talk about ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus and discuss ASEAN’s role in ending the crisis in Myanmar.

China Is Reinventing Itself as a Peace Broker — How Will America Respond?

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, writes for The Hankyoreh on China’s role as a global mediator. He argues that China’s “Global Security Initiative” diplomacy could present a serious challenge to the US’ diplomatic leadership.

The Three Big Questions Australia’s Leaders Must Answer About the Aukus Deal

Gareth Evans, APLN Board member and Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, writes for The Guardian and assesses the implications of the AUKUS partnership for Australia’s foreign policy and national security.

AUKUS Plans, India, Red alerts

Allan Gyngell, Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, discussed AUKUS, Australia-India ties and recent media coverage of China with co-host Darren Lim on the latest episode of “Australia in the world” podcast.

Australia Fast-Tracks Itself Into a Formidable Naval Power With Sub Deal

Ramesh Thakur, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University, points out that there are several real risks that could yet thwart the AUKUS submarine deal, such as cost overruns, construction delays, U.S. presidential and congressional politics. 

Beijing Plays Peace-maker

Shyam Saran, Former India Foreign Secretary, analyses the decisions taken during the recently conducted National People’s Congress session in Beijing and argues that India should welcome the Saudi-Iran deal and use it to enhance its relations with Iran. 

Kishida’s India Trip: A Reiteration of Strong India-Japan Ties

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, writes on Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s India trip and argues that despite their differences on Ukraine, the India-Japan ties remain strong driven by the China factor. 



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