The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Trump and Kim trade insults about insanity

North Korea: Trump and Kim call each other mad, BBC, 22 September 2017 

Kim Jong-un has said remarks by “deranged” US President Donald Trump have convinced him he is right to develop weapons for North Korea.

In an unprecedented personal statement, Mr Kim said Mr Trump would “pay dearly” for a UN speech where he threatened to “totally destroy” the North if the US was forced to defend itself.

Mr Trump responded that the “madman… will be tested like never before”.

The two countries have engaged in ever more heated rhetoric in recent months.

Mr Kim ended his statement by saying he would “surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”.

China responded to the war of words, warning that the situation was “complicated and sensitive”.

“All relevant parties should exercise restraint instead of provoking each other,” said Foreign Minister spokesman Lu Kang.

Russia also urged restraint, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describing the rhetoric between the two leaders as a “kindergarten fight between children”……



    September 23, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | 2 Comments

    President Donald Trump at United Nations – an embarrassment to America?

    President Trump at the United Nations: Editorial Board Roundtable, Cleveland,com 22 Sept 17 

    “…………The reception to Trump’s speech fell along political lines. Nile Gardiner, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told CNN that it was a “groundbreaking speech,” while Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California panned it as “missing an opportunity” to deal with North Korea.

    So was Trump on the mark? The edtorial board roundtable offers its opinions and we wait to hear yours in the comments.

    Sharon Broussard, chief editorial writer,

    If only every international problem could be solved by flicking a red button and unilaterally turning belligerent nations into a pile of radioactive rubble. They can’t be. The world does better when nations work together. The path forward is slow, frustrating, often annoying diplomacy with our allies — and our enemies. Trump’s bluster is dangerous.

    Thomas Suddes, editorial writer:

    The speech was an embarrassment to our country.

    Ted Diadiun, editorial board member:

    There’s nothing wrong with a nationalist approach from a U.S. president. Donald Trump was elected at least in part by people who were weary of eight years of Barack Obama’s “Blame America First” posturing. As for the rest of Trump’s speech, the only thing more troubling than believing he is descending to schoolyard belligerence in threatening something he has no intention of carrying out — is that he is not.

    Elizabeth Sullivan, director of opinion,

    President Trump isn’t putting America first when his rhetoric and actions push us toward war with a nuclear-armed state. ……..

    September 23, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

    Harsh humanitarian effect of sanctions on North Korea – but they could be ineffective anyway

    Tighter sanctions on North Korea could have a harsh humanitarian impact The Conversation Donald Trump has announced even more sanctions on North Korea, this time targeting anyone who does business there. His move comes hot on the heels of UN Security Council Resolution 2375, passed in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which marks a new stage in the world’s attempts to squeeze the Pyongyang government.

    The resolution takes what was already a tough sanctions regime focused on nuclear and military-related trade and tries to exert broader pressure on the country’s economy, embargoing North Korean textile exports, capping the dispatch of additional North Korean workers overseas, and limiting exports of refined petroleum and crude oil to North Korea.

    The US mission to the UN claimed that these measures amount to the “strongest sanctions ever”. But the measures contained within sit at odds with a claim made in the resolution’s article 26, namely that the measures “are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK”………

    Hit hard

    Restricting North Korean energy imports, for one, cannot but have an impact on the North Korean people themselves. A recent report by the Nautilius Institute argues that the military is likely to have access to considerable stockpiles of oil, even as ordinary North Korean citizens do not.

    Similarly, the textile sector is a significant provider of jobs: the most recent North Korean census in 2008 showed that nearly 400,000 workers were employed in the textile manufacturing sector – and that was before the rapid growth of Chinese outsourcing to the North……….

    Tipping the balance

    Because North Korea is the world’s lowest-spending nuclear state, the level of economic stress needed to halt funding to the country’s nuclear weapons programme probably cannot be applied without severe human costs. There is also no guarantee that even extreme levels of hardship brought about by effective sanctions will produce a popular North Korean revolution. During the mass starvation of the 1990s, for example, there were no recorded incidents of significant civil unrest and the regime seemed resilient……..

    Tipping the balance

    Because North Korea is the world’s lowest-spending nuclear state, the level of economic stress needed to halt funding to the country’s nuclear weapons programme probably cannot be applied without severe human costs. There is also no guarantee that even extreme levels of hardship brought about by effective sanctions will produce a popular North Korean revolution. During the mass starvation of the 1990s, for example, there were no recorded incidents of significant civil unrest and the regime seemed resilient…….

    To be sure, not all sanctions are ill-advised. But as the scope of multilateral sanctions is extended to target everyday North Koreans’ livelihoods, it’s crucial to ask whether this approach is likely to succeed. Given just how resilient the North Korean regime has so far been in the face of intense international pressure, the chances seem slim.

    September 23, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

    Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations says that Trump’s threats are “common sense”

    Nikki Haley: It Was ‘Common Sense’ for Trump to Threaten to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea,  BY WILLIAM STEAKIN U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday defended President Donald Trump’s controversial threat to “totally destroy” North Korea, if needed.

    “That’s just common sense,” Haley said, responding to a question on what Trump meant by the comment. “We don’t want war. That’s the last thing anyone wants. We don’t want loss of life.”

    Trump turned heads during his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday, calling Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and saying if pushed to defend itself or our allies the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

    However, the ambassador echoed the president’s remarks during a press briefing Thursday, saying that if the rogue nation were to attack the U.S. or one of its allies, “The U.S. will respond. Period.”

    Haley added the new sanctions announced earlier in the day against North Korea were the latest attempt at a diplomatic solution and push for them to come to the negotiating table: “Until then, that’s just the reality. If they were to strike the United States, of course, we would have to respond back.”

    The president signed an executive order Thursday placing new sanctions on the Kim Jong Un-led nation. “A new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” Trump said while announcing the order.

    September 23, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

    Why is Niger still losing out to Areva?

     Extract-a-fact,  By Quentin Parrinello 18th Sept 2017, In 2014, Niger announced it had successfully renegotiated uranium
    extraction contracts with French state-owned company Areva to secure a
    greater share of the wealth deriving from their uranium resources.

    Three years later, an analysis carried out by Oxfam based on data released by
    Areva calls into question the benefits for Niger in the contract

    September 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, Niger, politics international | Leave a comment

    Russia’s mysterious move to wind energy production in Africa, despite its claims about nuclear power

    Nuclear agenda in Africa under spotlight, as Rosatom launches wind energy firm, fin 24,Sep 22 2017   Matthew le Cordeur Cape Town – Russia’s nuclear agenda in Africa came under the spotlight this week, after Rosatom announced the launch of a major wind energy subsidiary.

    Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm this month announced the formation a new wind energy subsidiary to manage 970 MW of new capacity being developed, but assured Fin24 this week that nuclear energy is still its core business. The firm, NovaWind, will start with a capital backing of about R255bn, according to Wind Power Monthly.

    Rosatom is a frontrunner in South Africa’s stalled 9.6 GW nuclear new build programme, which many expect it will win. Various other countries in Africa have shown interest or signed deals for Rosatom’s nuclear reactors. Showing how serious it is about turning Africa into a nuclear energy powerhouse, the firm has an established office in Johannesburg.

    With its focus on selling nuclear reactors in Africa, it is curious that the firm is moving into the wind sector, according to Russian environmental policy expert Vladimir Slivyak.

    Slivyak, addressing a gathering in Cape Town this week, said he believes Rosatom is looking to increase its focus on the lucrative wind sector. His reasoning was the lack of money in Russia and the need to develop projects outside the country to bring in much-need revenue. With the West moving to wind energy, it made sense to develop this industry, Slivyak explained.

    He said it was therefore concerning that Rosatom is pushing its “expensive” reactors to poor countries, which are sold on the notion that they will transform their economies, “like it did for the West”, Slivyak explained. “Why are those same Western countries now ditching nuclear?” he asked.

    Slivyak, an anti-nuclear activist based in Moscow, is well known in South Africa for leaking Russia’s agreement with South Africa in 2014.

    “It makes sense to move into the renewable energy field,” he said. “We can see that even the nuclear energy market is saying nuclear is bad. The Russian energy industry has started to advertise itself to fight climate change.

    “Nuclear power cannot really save this climate change crisis,” he said. “You have to invest a lot of money and even if you do this, you get a small result. There are currently 450 nuclear reactors operating around the world and these were built in the last 50 to 60 years.

    “If you take all the money in the world and build another 450 reactors, you would have to spend $4.5trn. This would only see an emission reduction of 6%, while solar and wind energy would see the emissions reduce to 0%,” he said.

    “It takes 10 years to build one reactor and several months to build a solar or wind plant,” he said. “With nuclear, you have to invest today and wait 10 to 30 years. With renewables, you invest today, and in half a year you may already get your energy.

    Slivyak, an anti-nuclear activist based in Moscow, is well known in South Africa for leaking Russia’s agreement with South Africa in 2014.

    .“There is not much money going into nuclear,” he said. “This has been happening for last 15 years, so you can’t blame nuclear’s decline on accidents like Fukushima. It has been because of bad economics and a waste problem it can’t solve.

    “If you pump all the money into nuclear, there will be no money for healthcare or education. Then maybe you will wait a few decades before the power station works. If you country goes for nuclear, you will be stuck with it for 100 years.”………

    “There is not much money going into nuclear,” he said. “This has been happening for last 15 years, so you can’t blame nuclear’s decline on accidents like Fukushima. It has been because of bad economics and a waste problem it can’t solve.

    “If you pump all the money into nuclear, there will be no money for healthcare or education. Then maybe you will wait a few decades before the power station works. If you country goes for nuclear, you will be stuck with it for 100 years.”

    September 23, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

    Nations signing up to United Nations nuclear weapons ban treaty

    50 signatories ink U.N. nuclear ban treaty opposed by major powers AP, KYODO, JIJI, 21 SEPT 17, AP, KYODO, JIJI  Dozens of countries on Wednesday signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact that the world’s nuclear powers spurned but supporters hailed as a historic agreement nonetheless.

    “You are the states that are showing moral leadership in a world that desperately needs such moral leadership today,” Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said as a signing ceremony began.

     Before the day was out, 50 signatories as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty; others can sign later if they like. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican also have already ratified the treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to take effect among the nations that back it.

    They would be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons “under any circumstances.”

    Seven decades after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan during World War II — the only use of nuclear weapons — there are believed to be about 15,000 of them in the world today. Amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War.

    “This treaty is an important step towards the universally held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said Wednesday.

    Supporters of the pact say it is time to push harder toward eliminating atomic weapons than nations have done through the nearly 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    Under its terms, non-nuclear nations agreed not to pursue nukes in exchange for a commitment by the five original nuclear powers — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China — to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee other states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.

    More than 120 countries approved the new nuclear weapons ban treaty in July over opposition from nuclear-armed countries and their allies, who boycotted negotiations.

    The U.S., Britain and France said the prohibition wouldn’t work and would end up disarming their nations while emboldening “bad actors,” in U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s words. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called the treaty “wishful thinking” that is “close to irresponsible.” The nuclear powers have suggested instead strengthening the nonproliferation treaty, which they say has made a significant dent in atomic arsenals.

    Absent from the signing ceremony were the five permanent U.N. Security Council seat holders — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — which all possess the destructive devices.

    Nuclear umbrella nations, such as Japan and South Korea, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization members like Germany and The Netherlands did not endorse it either

    “Although we share the same feelings about nuclear abolition, (the treaty) differs from Japan’s approach, so we will not be signing it,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in New York.

    “Unfortunately, the reality is that there are divisions between countries with nuclear weapons and those without, as well as between the countries without them, when it comes to recognizing (both) the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and the severity of the security environment,” he said, adding that Japan will try to bridge those gaps through existing frameworks.

    Brazil was the first country to sign onto the ban Wednesday, followed by nations from Algeria to Venezuela.

    “Those who still hold nuclear arsenals, we call upon them to join this date with history,” Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis said as he prepared to sign.

    In attendance at the signing ceremony were Japanese atomic bomb survivors and the mayor of Nagasaki.

    The adoption of the treaty on July 7, when 122 countries voted in favor of banning atomic weapons for the first time after decades of prodding by atomic bomb victims — known as hibakusha in Japanese — and civil society.

    The treaty’s backers believe that their path is the best option to prevent future nuclear catastrophes of the kind experienced by Japan in 1945 during the closing days of World War II. The bombings of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 of that year and Nagasaki three days later ushered in the nuclear era.

    “The heroic survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the hibakusha — continue to remind us of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons,” Guterres said.

    Also speaking was Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who said the organization received a cable from Hiroshima on Aug. 30, 1945 describing a “city wiped out,” a great number of dead and over 100,000 wounded.

    “The world today needs the promise of this treaty: the hope for a future without nuclear weapons,” he said. “Humanity simply cannot live under the dark shadow of nuclear warfare, and the immense suffering which we all know would result.”

    In Hiroshima ahead of the signing, hibakusha and other citizens urged that all countries — including Japan — sign and ratify the treaty.

    Close to 90 people gathered in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome. After observing a moment of silence, participants held up origami cranes and papers with messages demanding that countries sign the treaty.

    The assembly was part of the Peace Wave 2017 campaign, in which citizens start a chain of movements from Japan in hopes of realizing a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

    The event was planned by an organization of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima Prefecture and the Hiroshima Congress against A- and H-Bombs, or Hiroshima Gensuikin.

    “If people believe that getting rid of nuclear weapons will lead to peace, a democratic government (sharing the belief) will be born, followed by the signing of the treaty,” said Kunihiko Sakuma, 72, head of the hibakusha organization.

    “The governments of the nuclear nations will also change,” Sakuma added, emphasizing the importance of starting a civil movement.

    As part of the campaign, more events will be held over the period through Tuesday, which has been set by the U.N. as International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

    September 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Donald Trump’s first United Nations speech – about “totally destroying” North Korea

    Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea in UN speech
    President castigates ‘a small group of rogue regimes’
    Iran nuclear deal ‘an embarrassment to the United States’, Guardian, 
    Julian Borger 20 Sept 17, Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on “righteous” countries to confront them.

    The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.

    In an address heavy with echoes of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil” State of the Union address more than 15 years earlier, Trump said: “The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.

    “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” the president said.

    He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests.

     “The US has great strength and patience,” Trump said. But he added: “If it is forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

    As alarmed murmurs spread around the hall, Trump had another barb. Using his newly adopted epithet for Kim Jong-un, Trump said: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”……….

    Trump said the Iran nuclear deal, signed by the US under the Obama administration with five other countries two years ago, was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.

    “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States,” he said. “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it – believe me.”

    Trump must decide by 15 October on whether to certify Iranian compliance or not. His threatened withdrawal of presidential endorsement could lead to Congress reimposing nuclear-related sanctions and the collapse of the agreement.

    Like much of the 41-minute speech, Trump’s reference to the Iran deal was met by stony silence. The deal is overwhelmingly supported by UN member states, including most of Washington’s closest allies……..

    Trump is also almost entirely isolated on climate change. Unlike the other opening speakers, including the UN secretary general, António Guterres, Trump made no mention in his speech of an issue that most other leaders in the chamber consider to be the greatest threat to the world.

    When his turn to speak came, Macron insisted that though the Paris climate accord, which Trump said he would leave, could be improved, “it will not be renegotiated”. He said he “profoundly respected” the US decision but said “the door will always be open to them”.

    The US president had clearly not come to the UN in the mood to placate foreign leaders, but rather to speak over their heads to his own supporters……

    September 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

    French President Macron calls on Trump to honor Iran nuclear deal

    Citing North Korea, Macron calls on Trump to honor Iran nuclear deal September 19, 2017 

    Story highlights

    September 22, 2017 Posted by | France, politics international | Leave a comment

    Very unwise for USA to pull out of the nuclear pact with Iran

    World Leaders Urge Trump Not To Pull Out Of Iran Nuclear Pact, NPR September 21, 20177: 
    Heard on Morning Edition Mary Louise Kelly talks to former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who warns if President Trump pulls out of the deal, it will alienate allies, and Iran may restart its nuclear program.

    MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:President Trump says he has made up his mind what to do about the Iran nuclear deal. He wouldn’t tell reporters what he’s decided, but he’s made no secret in past of how he feels about Iran and in particular how he feels about the nuclear deal reached in 2015 under Barack Obama
    ………KELLY: What would be the consequences of the U.S. exiting the nuclear deal?

    RHODES: Well, we would be totally isolated from the rest of the world including our closest allies. The constraints on Iran’s nuclear program would no longer be enshrined in a deal. And essentially Iran could restart its nuclear program, precipitating a second nuclear crisis in the Middle East to the one we have with North Korea, and we could be left with the decision, the United States, as to whether to allow Iran to go forward with its nuclear program or to start another war in the Middle East. And we thought this was the best way to prevent a nuclear weapon and to prevent another war………

    The judgment of the U.S. intelligence community, the IAEA, the monitoring mechanism, our closest allies, even the Trump administration itself has certified twice that Iran is complying with this deal. That is a matter of fact. It’s not a subjective matter. And so therefore to be threatening to decertify Iranian compliance, as President Trump has done, flies in the face of the facts and, frankly, alienates us from our closest European allies and, frankly, gives international opinion – pushes it in the direction of Iran, which is exactly what we don’t want……..
    KELLY: One quick development – one development to quickly ask you about, which is this. Some news organizations are reporting today that President Trump may decide to throw the matter to Congress, let Congress decide whether to reimpose sanctions. Is that a good idea? Is that one way forward?RHODES: No. I – you know, I think that creates some degree of chaos. If he doesn’t certify, the matter does go to Congress. And the fact of the matter is you’ll have the rest of the world wondering where the United States is on this question. And I think that’s a very dangerous thing, especially when he’s trying to deal with the same countries, Iran – with Russia and China to deal with North Korea. He should be – focus his attention on North Korea now, not creating a second crisis with Iran………

    September 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

    US and Other Nuclear Powers Refuse to Sign Historic UN Treaty to Ban Atomic Weapons

    Treaty banning nuclear weapons opened for signatures at United Nations, but key nations won’t take part, by UN News Centre , 21 Sept 17, 

    The world’s first legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons opened for signature on Wednesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York at a ceremony at which speakers from international organizations, governments and civil society hailed this milestone in achieving a world free of such arsenals as well as the work that remains to be done……
    ..nuclear-armed States and most of their allies stayed out of the negotiations. Immediately following its adoption, the United States, the United Kingdom and France issued a joint press statement saying that they “have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty… and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”
    The Treaty will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.

    At Wednesday’s ceremony, chaired by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, 42 countries signed the Treaty, with more expected. The Holy See and Thailand not only signed but also ratified it.

    The President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, noted at the ceremony that the Treaty demonstrates the will of Member States to bring about change.

    “It will raise public awareness about the risks of nuclear weapons. It will keep us on track for achieving our goal of a world in which nuclear weapons exist only in movies or books. But we need to do more to get the whole way there.”

    September 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Nikki Haley suggest handing the North Korea issue over to the Pentagon

    North Korea: UN has ‘exhausted’ its options and America may hand issue to Pentagon, Nikki Haley says, ABC News 18 Sept 17  The US ambassador to the United Nations says the UN Security Council has run out of options to contain North Korea’s nuclear program, adding Washington may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

    Key points:

    • Ms Haley says if North Korea continues it “will be destroyed”
    • Donald Trump calls Kim Jong-un “rocket man” and praises sanctions effects
    • Security adviser HR McMaster says preparing a military option is becoming necessary

    “We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point,” Nikki Haley told CNN, adding that she was perfectly happy to hand the North Korea issue over to Defence Secretary James Mattis.

    As world leaders head to the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual General Assembly meeting this week, Ms Haley’s comments indicated the US was not backing down from its threat of military action against North Korea.

    On Thursday, North Korea launched a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean in defiance of new UN Security Council sanctions banning its textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

    China has urged the US to refrain from making threats to North Korea, but when asked about President Donald Trump’s warning last month that the North Korean threat to the US will be met with “fire and fury”, Ms Haley said “it was not an empty threat”.

    “If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behaviour, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed,” she said………

    Military options available to Mr Trump range from a sea blockade aimed at enforcing sanctions to cruise missile strikes on nuclear and missile facilities to a broader campaign aimed at overthrowing leader Kim Jong-un.

    Mr Mattis has warned the consequences of any military action would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale” and bring severe risk to US ally South Korea……..

    September 18, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    A Rethink On North Korean Nuclear Crisis – some analysts say that it’s time for this

    Some Analysts Say Time May Be Right For A Rethink On North Korean Nuclear Crisis, NPR, September 17, 2017, ANTHONY KUHN

    North Korea test-launched another missile Friday that arced over northern Japan and into the Pacific, showing its progress toward being able to strike the U.S. and signaling its defiance of U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth, and most recent, nuclear testearlier this month.

    “The world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the U.N., after the sanctions passed the Security Council on Monday. She added: “If the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.”

    But some analysts believe that this approach to the North Korean nuclear crises is dangerously deluded.

    A decade or so ago, it still may have been possible to use sanctions or the threat of military force to compel North Korea to give up its nuclear programs, argues Zhao Chu, an independent, Shanghai-based analyst, former soldier and former editor of World Outlook, a foreign affairs magazine.

    But Zhao warns that the situation has now fundamentally changed, and that trying to fly through a window of opportunity that has already closed is a very bad idea. Pyongyang can hardly be expected to give up the nuclear ace in the hole that it worked so long to acquire.

    Then again, perhaps the window of opportunity for military action was never open, argues Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. This is because the South Korean capital, “Seoul was always so vulnerable” to North Korean conventional artillery attacks, which could cause mass casualties.

    Analysts say North Korea looked at the fate of other authoritarian regimes, particularly Libya under Moammar Gadhafi and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and concluded that their lack of nuclear weapons left them vulnerable to being toppled by the U.S. and its allies.

    Pyongyang now believes — correctly or not — that, by acquiring the ability to carry out a nuclear strike against the U.S., it has taken a crucial step toward assuring its own survival.

    “You could credit the Kim regime with taking regime change off the table,” says the U.S. Naval War College’s Goldstein.

    Another way of looking at it is that North Korea has now gained a valuable bargaining chip. And while it is unlikely to give it away for nothing, it may be willing to trade it for some sort of security guarantee, or some form of payment, whether in food or energy.

    A grimmer possibility, of course, is that it might just sell it to raise much-needed cash.

    Here, Goldstein sees an opportunity to strike a bargain with North Korea to resolve the crisis. He says that years of using all sticks and no carrots have not yielded the required results, and it’s time for some creative thinking.

    Goldstein rejects the idea that the only way to improve North Korea is through regime change. “There are plenty of obnoxious regimes around the world,” he says, “and more than a few are allies of the United States.”…..

    “I think we should take a pragmatic attitude and tolerate a nuclear North Korea,” Zhao concludes. “Why did the U.S. and China tolerate India and Pakistan going nuclear? Because they had no better options.”

    All that’s left to do, Zhao says, is to try to prevent North Korea from proliferating nuclear technology, help it to avoid nuclear accidents, and set up unofficial dialogues to get scholars, if not officials, discussing possible solutions.

    Indeed, China’s government realizes that North Korea’s nuclear disarmament is no longer an option in the near term, Zhao argues. It has therefore signaled in its public statements that for now, its top priority is to prevent the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, or as the government puts it, to prevent “chaos on our doorstep.”

    September 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

    China urges USA to find ways other than threats, to deal with North Korea

    US must stop North Korea threats, says China, as Kim Jong-un aims for military ‘equilibrium’
    Chinese ambassador says America needs to do ‘much more’ to achieve cooperation as Kim Jong-un speaks of goal of equalling US military might,
    Guardian, Tom Phillips , 16 Sept The United States must stop threatening North Korea’s leader if a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis is to be found, China’s ambassador to Washington has said, as Kim Jong-un reiterated his country’s aim to reach military “equilibrium” with the US.

    Cui Tiankai told reporters in Washington: “They [the US] should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation.”

    “Honestly, I think the United States should be doing … much more than now, so that there’s real effective international cooperation on this issue.”

    North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA on Saturday quoted Kim as saying: “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option.”

    The US warned on Friday it could revert to military options if the latest sanctions fail to curb North Korean missile and nuclear tests, after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in two weeks.

     US national security advisor HR McMaster said: “We have been kicking the can down the road and we’re out of road. For those who have been commenting about the lack of a military option – there is a military option. Now, it’s not what we prefer to do, so what we have to do is call on all nations to do everything we can to address this global problem, short of war.”

    Earlier, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson urged Russia and China to “indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own”.

    The Chinese ambassador was speaking after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in two weeks a move the UN security council said it “strongly condemned”.

    Speaking in Beijing, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said China opposed the launch but also urged the US to change its tactics towards Pyongyang. “China is not to blame for the escalation of tensions. China does not hold the key to resolving the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, either. Those who tied the knots are responsible for untying [them].”……..

    September 18, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

    An international Treaty that works! The Montreal Protocol and the healing of the ozone layer.

    After 30 years of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is gradually healing The Conversation Andrew Klekociuk, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania, Paul Krummel, Research Group Leader, CSIRO This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the world’s most successful environmental agreement. The treaty, signed on September 16, 1987, is slowly but surely reversing the damage caused to the ozone layer by industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

    Each year, during the southern spring, a hole appears in the ozone layer above Antarctica. This is due to the extremely cold temperatures in the winter stratosphere (above 10km altitude) that allow byproducts of CFCsand related gases to be converted into forms that destroy ozone when the sunlight returns in spring.

    As ozone-destroying gases are phased out, the annual ozone hole is generally getting smaller – a rare success story for international environmentalism.

    Back in 2012, our Saving the Ozone series marked the Montreal Protocol’s silver jubilee and reflected on its success. But how has the ozone hole fared in the five years since?

    The Antarctic ozone hole has continued to appear each spring, as it has since the late 1970s. This is expected, as levels of the ozone-destroying halocarbon gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol are still relatively high. The figure below shows that concentrations of these human-made substances over Antarctica have fallen by 14% since their peak in about 2000.

    It typically takes a few decades for these gases to cycle between the lower atmosphere and the stratosphere, and then ultimately to disappear. The most recent official assessment, released in 2014, predicted that it will take 30-40 years for the Antarctic ozone hole to shrink to the size it was in 1980………

    Reassuringly, a recent study showed that the size of the ozone hole each September has shrunk overall since the turn of the century, and that more than half of this shrinking trend is consistent with reductions in ozone-depleting substances. However, another study warns that careful analysis is needed to account for a variety of natural factors that could confound our detection of ozone recovery……..

    While annual monitoring continues, which includes measurements under the Australian Antarctic Program, a more comprehensive assessment of the ozone layer’s prospects is set to arrive late next year. Scientists across the globe, coordinated by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organisation, are busy preparing the next report required under the Montreal Protocol, called the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018.

    This peer-reviewed report will examine the recent state of the ozone layer and the atmospheric concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals, how the ozone layer is projected to change, and links between ozone change and climate.

    In the meantime we’ll watch the 2017 hole as it peaks then shrinks over the remainder of the year, as well as the ozone holes of future years, which will tend to grow less and less large as the ozone layer heals.

    September 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, politics international | Leave a comment